I’ve been seeing a lot of ‘identity politics’ lately. These are political arguments that focus on the interest and perspectives of groups that people identify with or wish to support. These include women’s issues, gay issues, transgender issues, or black issues. They’re all inherently prejudiced because they assume or demand that ALL groups must share the concerns of THESE groups, and if you don’t then you must be sexist, racist or otherwise bigoted.
Identity politics creates division and conflict amongst groups of people as many of these groups chant ‘my identity is better than yours!’, while many others chant ‘their identity is better than ours!’ so they can be accepted and acceptable in this changing society.
What’s disturbing to me is the growing trend that the white male identity is something to be ashamed of, to be criticised for, or to be suppressed. “You’re a privileged white male, you need to keep quiet.”
It’s easy to support a group you identify with, and it’s easy to support a group you don’t identify with because you want people to continue liking you. It’s not so easy to walk your own path and say, “I identify with HUMANITY. I identify with ALL PEOPLE. I support addressing the plight of all people, whatever their circumstances. I support coming together as a united group of people that can help each other, regardless of our skin color or gender.”
However, this approach is today shouted down as bigoted by those who wish to perpetuate the division of identity politics.
“If you’re not supporting my identity group – or a group I believe we should all support – then you are the racist/sexist/bigoted enemy that must be fought and destroyed!”
Identity politics can only create division and conflict as people want their group to be better than any other group. And some of them will kill for their group.
When politicians play into identity, they create powerful support groups. The trick is to try and get support of the identity which can gain them the most votes.
When you look at the US election campaign, who has been winning? The ones with the best policies, or the ones with the most divisive identity politics?
Some of our politicians (in all western countries) are gaining support by blowing issues out of proportion, and claiming that bigotry opposes your particular identity group. You have to rise up and support your group against ‘them’, and voting for x politician will help your group achieve the recognition, support and freedom it deserves! They tell you that your identity will suffer if ‘the other side’ gets into power. This makes you scared and angry. They tell you that you need to oppose their bigotry by being bigoted against them instead. This makes you active.
Identity politics at play. Brainwashing, in other words.
You’re either going to support me because you relate to what I say, or you’re going to oppose me because I’m not supporting the identity group you support.
Identity politics at play. Division. Conflict. It’s dangerous, because it creates antagonism against people who might be different to you, or against those who think differently to you. It’s dangerous because it becomes harder to identify true racism and bigotry.
You can play this game if you want, if you identify closely with any one group. It doesn’t make you right. I’m going to continue supporting all people rather than just your identity or that identity which you believe I should support.
Anything we create to address perceived issues needs to be for all people and their circumstances, not just one group of people because of their skin or gender.
If you think I’m bigoted against your group because I support all groups, then maybe you’re right. I’m bigoted against your bigotry. You should probably walk away. Don’t try to change my mind with abuse or insults, as I’ll exercise my inner fascist and delete your comments and block you from this website. The only acceptable ‘identity’ I think you should be supporting is that we’re all in this together, and we should all be working together on the issues that we all face. If you support that, then we can go far, you and I.
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