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.