The us vs them terrible mentality is a very complex concept to simplify. But then many a times, what is very complex for an adult, a kid is able to understand very naturally.
There is a concept in biology and chemistry Le Chatelier’s principle, which condenses to the idea that a system under stress will move to release that disequilibrium and find a new balance.
Tribalism is so ingrained in all homo sapiens’ behavior that I believe that it is a pre-programmed in our DNA. And nothing unites a group faster than a common enemy.
The whole concept of race, religion, ideology, sports team, politics all stem from this instinct.
It is easier to define what we are not than what we are.
Probably that is a problem with our pattern recognition capability, that we use stereotype as our main method of categorization.
If I ask you what is a Dog, you may say it is a four legged animal with fur and sharp teeth.
What happens if the dog lost one of his legs and his furs and teeth fall off, is it still a dog?
You would say yes. Then the dog is not necessarily a four legged animals with fur and sharp teeth, is it?
What Makes A Dog, A Dog
So while it is harder to define what makes a dog, dog; it is easier to say what is NOT a dog.
A table is not a dog even with four legs, A horse is not a dog even with four legs, a tiger is not a dog even with sharp teeth and so on.
So, what makes Manchester United fans, MU fans? What makes us like the late Kobe Bryant ? That’s hard to define.
We all come from different background, we look different, we like different players in the team, we may think our team performs badly / well/ god like / sucks at any given point, nothing really unites us.
Except the fact that we all hate (Insert Rival team here – Arsenal).