Identify Politics: Who’s the Enemy?
March 5, 2017This article was written by Sean Roney
The United States is beautiful because of our diversity. However, identity politics, which seeks to divide rather than unite, is rampant on our campus. Both the left and right engage in this destructive thinking. We need to focus on how each of us is able to uniquely contribute, rather than hunt for incompatibilities.
The left practices identity politics at universities, where students are taught ideologies like institutionalized oppression or white privilege, the ideas that skin color alone determines how one will do within our society. This makes it justifiable to deny whites, straights, males, and Christians their freedom of speech, while also saying anyone who isn’t a member of those groups will always be their victim. In the interest of creating equality, universities maintain a system of virtue-based intolerance and preference.
This erodes the ability to argue by causing people on both sides to lash out with identity-based attacks rather than engaging in discussion. Frontloading statements with one’s identity is common. When someone opens with, “As a Mexican woman…” or “As a Republican Christian…” they have immediately discredited their argument by showing their logic carries so little weight they need to fall back on identity. Valid discourse relies on logic, not victimhood.
To facilitate identity politics, students count their oppression points using intersectionality, which claims to spotlight the many facets of people. Otherwise known as having a functional sense of empathy. If someone needs buzzwords to understand people are more than skin deep, they need a therapist. Those who preach intersectionality often boil others down to categories to ignore human individuality, ironically enough.
The predictable backlash is the small but growing alt-right movement. They also think based on identity, claiming that all important world accomplishments are white-made and white-deserved. This is the polar opposite of the left’s claims that whites are murderous criminals that have ruined the world. It is bigotry to be openly hostile toward whites and men, where they’re told they cannot comment on issues. It is frightening to see movements like Project Evropa gain traction within the SoCal CSU system, but entirely logical, since divisiveness fosters further division.
It is wrong to hold past injustices over the heads of people today as a penance specter. It is equally wrong to celebrate past advances while denying how much was lost. If we hold whites accountable for the sins of slavery, we must also hold accountable all other groups who took part in the practice. Additionally, if we hold anyone accountable for the past crime of slavery, we must also credit them with the more recent virtue of helping to end it.
Those who divide us are against us. It would be easy to blame neo Nazis or professors for instigation. But instigators need followers. That is us, the populace. By engaging in identity politics, we have hurt our ability to cooperate. We need to bury the hatchets and join hands, not in spite of our differences, but because of our differences. It is uncomfortable and difficult. But forgiveness and teamwork often are.
The solution is simple, to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must not judge each other by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.