Identity politics for me but not for thee
Helaine Olen in the Washington Post mused about the CAP conference last week which emphasized diversity and inclusion as an organizing principle, and where Stacy Abrams said boldly that "identity politics" is nothing to be ashamed of. Olen notes something about this particular argument (usually framed on the right as playing some sort of "card" and on the left as a distraction from the all-important class divide)that should not be overlooked if you want to understand all this:
[I]t occurred to me that too many of us think about identity politics in too narrow a way. It could be said the Trump administration is playing the most nasty form of identify politics of them all. Trump officials are then gaslighting everyone else for the sin of simply seeking equal rights.
At the CAP conference, the evidence for this came up again and again. When the subject of the new law in Alabama that would effectively ban almost all abortions came up, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) minced no words. “It is an attack on women’s lived lives,” she said. “Oppression,” she called it.
Tom Steyer — featured on a panel about climate change, not impeachment — pointed out that global warming often impacts poorer people harder than wealthy ones. There is a very inaccurate vision of who cares about the environment in America, Steyer said. In polling, Latinos are the group most likely to say they are concerned about the issue.
And then there is economics, whether it be the high cost of child care frequently forcing one parent — who usually happens to be female — out of the workforce, or African Americans possessing significantly less net worth than white households.
This is all the result of identity politics, but a form that goes mostly unrecognized and unacknowledged. A minority with power and money — white men, mostly wealthy, often religious or pretending to be so — has controlled societal and political norms so effectively that when those left outside simply insist on their rights, they are viewed as angry, resentful, demanding and divisive. When “identity politics” is practiced in such a way that it allows a small group to access and maintain power, it gets labeled as “norms" and treated as simply the way the world works.
The left pushes identity politics so we can one day live in a world where none of us need to do that. The right does it so a small stratum of the population can retain money and power. One way we can fight back is by calling what they are doing by its rightful name.
Ask yourself how many profiles have been done on the 2016 Hillary voters as compared to the Trump voters to see just how lop-sided this argument really is.