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Identity politics: bigotry in a shiny new package

One ideology is single handedly tearing us apart

Right now in America there is a political movement that is dividing the nation bitterly. The movement isn’t related to a certain president who spends his early mornings tweeting outrageous things from the White House restroom. It’s identity politics; a movement far larger and more dangerous because it claims to unite people, yet in reality divides them.

How it works

Identity politics strategically groups voters into blocks based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Then, based on the history and perceived needs of that group, politicians  (and the public) decide how they should treat these groups differently.

This movement has been adopted by many on the left who take every opportunity to either self identify with an ethnicity or sexual orientation, or give special attention to those groups to appear tolerant. At first it seems like a wonderful idea. After all, there have been injustices in our nation’s history, and problems of bigotry should be solved. However, using identity politics doesn’t solve problems. It makes them worse.

How it divides

Trying to appear tolerant because you mention the names of many different identities doesn’t unite people, it divides them.

If you try this strategy, be prepared to list every possible group people self identify as or be labeled a bigot.

Take for instance the LGBT movement, or the LGBTQ movement, or the LGBTQA movement, or the LGBTQAAIP movement, or if you want to be super inclusive, LGBTQAAIP2SAA. But perhaps even that isn’t inclusive enough according to Wesleyan University, who labeled one of their student houses as the LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM friendly.

Now you might be asking yourself, “If some groups are left out, why not just bring every group into the movement?” The answer to that reveals the biggest problem with identity politics. Its extremely distorted view of  “privilege.”

How it separates

“Privilege,” relates to the idea of how well one group has been treated by society. Groups that have been in power or have had a majority in society—Caucasians, men, heterosexuals, etc.—are seen as having been born with more material and social benefits than those who are seen as oppressed—racial, religious and sexual minorities.

Now it’s absolutely true that some groups are better off than others, and abhorrent past events such as slavery, segregation and harassment have been a cause. And society should have some sort of assistance for all people who have been born with little. But the conversation shouldn’t be centered on problems in the past; instead it should be focused on solutions in the present; and identity politics is a horrible solution.

It states if one group was persecuted in the past, then ALL current members of that group must also be persecuted in the present. Conversely, if a group was privileged in the past, then ALL current members of that group are privileged now.

This leads to a worldview where in every scenario, minorities are the victims and majorities are oppressors. Anyone someone disagrees with is automatically labeled as racist, sexist or homophobic.

Are there restrictions on blood donations for homosexuals? It MUST be because the CDC hates gays and not because statistics show some homosexuals and bisexuals are most at risk for carrying blood-transmitted diseases. Someone wants greater border security? They MUST hate Hispanics. They couldn’t possibly be concerned about economic or civil issues. YouTube installs a controversial new ad policy? It must not be because advertisers complained some of their ads were being displayed on terrorist propaganda videos, so YouTube overreacted and implemented a restricted mode pulling ads from ALL controversial topics such as LGBT videos AND  some conservative political channels. Let’s just say that despite numerous pro-LGBT campaigns, YouTube MUST be homophobic.

How it scilences

It gets worse when people will actively try to censor those who they deem “privileged” in order to try to “balance out” fairness. This is sadly a mainstream view to some. Ask Sally Brown, head of the Idaho Democratic Party. In a speech she gave to the DNC regarding race, she actually stated it was her job to silence white people.

“My job is to shut other white people down when they want to interrupt, when they want to say ‘Oh no, I’m not prejudiced. I’m accepting.’ My job is to make sure they get they have privilege,” Brown said.

This logic is sadly being played out at places such as Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood. According to ABC News, because of a diversity quota set by the local school district, schools more minorities get more funding, and because the student body at Walter Reed is too white, their school is now facing a budget crunch.

Bigotry doesn’t solve bigotry

Advocates of Identity Politics will try to defend these policies by listing discrimination that’s happened in the past, and how identity politics, while not perfect, is needed to solve past bigotry. This explanation is a textbook “either-or” fallacy.

Identity Politics isn’t the only solution to past problems. It doesn’t make people equal, it uses race, gender and sexual identity to some up, and others down.

It’s terrifying to see people like Sally Brown make a major political party applaud the idea of censoring people based on, the same can be said of straight men, or any other group they view as “privileged.” The answer to discrimination in the past is not more discrimination today.

5 Comments on Identity politics: bigotry in a shiny new package

  1. Jacob’s argument is lacking.

    1. He uses a straw man to determine the meaning of privilege. Privilege is based on an instututional structure and not an individual basis. Jacob misinterprets privilege then emphasizes his misinterpretation repeatedly.

    2. Jacob claims the majority is always the oppressor and the minority is the oppressed. Jacob ignores places like Hating and South Africa where majorities were oppressed by a minority. Jacob then uses this misunderstanding of history to further his claim that minorities claim oppression. However the basis of his argument is incorrect. Identity politics in of themselves don’t necessarily discriminate. Identity politics are individuals who identify themselves as a particular group.

    3. Jacob misinterprets an “either or” fallacy. He never wrote anything that explains how people who use identity politics create an either or fallacy.

    4. Jacob possibly misinterprets Sally Brown’s statement and claims that Sally Brown wants suppress white people’s free speech. Her statement could easily have been interpreted to say that Sally wants to refute arguments made by white people.

    Jacob’s article shows that Jacob misunderstands the issues he argues against. It is hard to take someone’s argument seriously when that person doesn’t understand the basics of what they are arguing against.

    • Hello Peter, thank you very much for reading my article and taking the time to respond on it. Obviously we have very different opinions on this matter. If you would like to submit a letter to our editor and have a rebuttal to my article published we would welcome your viewpoint anytime! You can find our contact information underneath our “About Us” tab. Thank you for reading the article and hope you have a great week.

  2. Leta Neustaedter // Apr 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm // Reply

    What a misguided and dangerous article. To suggest that issues of privilege and marginalization are based primarily on the past is to somehow be missing (denying?) the VERY real oppression and systemic disenfranchisement that is happening here and now in our society. It is insulting for the author to repeatedly insist that those of us in marginalized groups are simply cashing in on the oppression of our ancestors. This article just gives permission for people to undermine the distinctions we have worked hard to get validated. Unity will not come from acting like everyone is the same with the same histories and same obstacles. Unity comes from recognizing the importance of those differences and then moving forward together intentionally, with consideration for the different needs of different groups. This article does so much damage to that effort.

    • Hello Leta, thank you very much for reading my article and taking the time to respond on it. I would welcome you to send a letter to our editor if you disagree this strongly with my viewpoint. We always welcome diverse and opposing viewpoints here and we’re always looking for debate.

  3. Peeps that really dig identity politics:

    Black Lives Matters
    Richard Spencer
    Louis Farrakhan
    David Duke
    The Alt Right
    The Ku Klux Klan
    Linda Sarsour
    Peggy Macintosh
    bell hooks

    Am I mistaken?

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