Identity Politics is a political activity, or style, that caters to the cultural, ethnic, gender, racial, religious, ideological, national, sexual orientation, gender expression, or social interests, that characterize a group identity.
It focuses on the issues, relevant to various groups, which are all defined by their shared characteristics. The typical goal of identity politics is to empower individuals from marginalized groups, so they can achieve greater equality and representation.
The wide diversity of social movements, that emerged in the second half of the 20th Century are examples of the positive influence of identity politics. Among them were the women’s movement, the African American civil rights movement, the organizations for Hispanic Americans, the American Indian movement, or the gay and lesbian movement.
But there is another, not as benevolent side to identity politics. For the last few decades, it has been used by those in power to manipulate and deceive the public, for gaining political power.
Separating everyone into special groups, based on their skin color, religion, ethnic background, gender, or sexual orientation can help individuals represent their shared interests, but it also creates divisions, alienating one group from another.
Identity politics embraces real, or imagined group victimhood, or oppression by the dominant culture, or race.
Each group is being told that they are victims of oppression, that they are being persecuted by a bigoted and unjust society. Legitimate grievances are exaggerated with the help of the media, to get the desired reaction from a politically subdivided electorate.
People of color are persecuted by racist whites, women by sexist men, immigrants by xenophobes, Muslims by islamophobes, gays and lesbians by homophobes and religious bigots and on and on. This is presented to the public, as a fight for social justice, promising equality and inclusion. But it does the opposite, it polarizes and alienates people, creating animosity toward each other.
In fact, assigning a group identity to everyone, stereotyping people on the basis of the color of their skin, their gender and sexual orientation in and of itself is racist, sexist and homophobe, the opposite of what social justice is thought to accomplish.
When there is a victim, there must be an oppressor. As whites are in the majority in the United States, this role is assigned to them. The ideology of identiy politics asserts, that the ultimate oppressor is the priviledged, straight, white male, responsible for the oppression of all other groups.
Does someone’s skin color really determine how priviledged they are? Is an elderly white immigrant, living on a limited income more priviledged, that a black millionaire athlete? Is a white single mother working multiple jobs more priviledged, than a young Indian male, earning a six figure income?
There has been so much injustice in the history of the world, that no single group of people can claim sole ownership of the victimhood title. As an example, during the 15th and 16th Century, the Ottomans – today’s Turks – invaded Europe. They raped and pillaged, occupying the small country of Hungary for 150 years, nearly exterminating Hungarians.
In that conflict, people of color were killing and oppressing whites. Before the Ottomans came, there had been a Hun invasion from Central Asia. In the 20th Century, the Nazis occupied Hungary, followed by the USSR, a white on white oppression. Whenever a few years of peace was to be had, the populace was oppressed and exploited by their own rich bourgeoisie class.
In the United States, the ongoing movement for racial justice is calling for reparations and apologies from racist whites. Reparations being paid by those, who never owned slaves, to those who were never slaves only serves to alienate African Americans and evoke resentment against them.
Should the aforementioned older white low income immigrant pay reparations to a young healthy black person? Free blacks also owned slaves, so should their decendants pay reparations to other blacks?
As an example, Kamala Harris was chosen as a VP, because she is a person of color. Her family was affluent, both of her parents worked for IBM, she went to elite schools and her ancestors were actually slave owners in Jamaica. Should she receive reparations despite of that?
There is another dark side to identity politics, that does great harm to society. Identifying oneself through a group, makes the individual less accountable and the alleged inequalities are projected to the group. This disempowers the individual, it creates dependence and a victim mentality. This is what’s happening to many blacks in the United States.
African Americans are enslaved in the United States today, not by the average white person, but by the victimhood, they learned through identity politics, And this was perpetrated on them by those, who posed, as their ally, the Political Left.
Neither reparations, nor undending apologies will free blacks from this “political plantation”. Recognizing the manipulation and emancipating themselves from their blind allegiance to the Democratic Party, that has deceived them is their path to justice and equality.
In an essay, Theodore Roosevelt once wrote: “- It doesn’t matter if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower as free people or indentured servants, or in the hold of a slave ship, or you yourself took the naturalization oath today. You are an American who is interchangeable with any other American — end of story.”
I couldn’t agree with him more, we must focus on what unites us, our spirit, conviction and purpose, as Americans and reject the deceptive politics of identity.