How America's identity politics went from inclusion to division
March 6, 2018 11:32 PM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: This isn't getting a warm reception at all I'm afraid. -- goodnewsfortheinsane

the politics of redistribution was replaced by a “politics of recognition”. Modern identity politics was born.

When I was a kid, I noticed - I didn't have the vocabulary then, but I do now - I noticed the politicians made sure to emphasize how white, how straight, how Christian, how hetero, how cis and how male they were.

Somehow this is not considered "identity politics."

/ I'm becoming more marks-ist
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:40 PM on March 6, 2018 [41 favorites]

And yet, Ms. Chua, it's only one side that's killing members of the other side.
posted by fatbird at 11:53 PM on March 6, 2018 [25 favorites]

white Americans have for the last several decades been told they must never, ever do so.[feel solidarity and take pride in their racial or ethnic identity]

Yeah, this is just the weekly standard apologia that quotes at least seven versions of "waa you liberals made me vote for Trump, not me" statements.

No doubt it'll get her as many column inches as "Tiger Mother" did.
posted by threetwentytwo at 11:57 PM on March 6, 2018 [11 favorites]

I'm with twists and turns on this issue... the white straight Christian males INVENTED Exclusionary Identity Politics for their benefit (or ours, I must confess I've been a beneficiary of it all my life). And now that other "Identities" are in positions of greater power, it's no longer a good thing? Doesn't this opinion piece belong more in the NYT than the Guardian?
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:58 PM on March 6, 2018 [14 favorites]

And yet, Ms. Chua, it's only one side that's killing members of the other side.

Oh, man. She was on Bill Maher and spouting the centrist/status quo bullshit of "Both sides do it!" One other guest called her out on it and said essentially what you said, and she said something like "Oh, I said both sides do it, but...I don't think both sides do it..." No thanks.
posted by zardoz at 12:08 AM on March 7, 2018 [11 favorites]

Note, Chua manages to use the words "Oppression Olympics" and LGBTQQIAAP , but doesn't manage "intersectionality". Hmmm.
posted by threetwentytwo at 12:14 AM on March 7, 2018 [9 favorites]

Ugh at Amy Chua. I would not listen to a single thing she says, so deeply uninformed.
posted by yueliang at 12:24 AM on March 7, 2018 [6 favorites]

How I found this
How America's Identity Politics Went from Inclusion to Division. The US Left made a grave mistake by adopting identity politics.

People who that see that their group is the target of systematic wrongs have the right to organize to stop it. I therefore respect and support Black Lives Matter as a campaign to stop thugs from gratuitously killing black people.

"All Lives Matter" was not a serious campaign to get thugs to stop gratuitously killing people, regardless of race. If it had been, it might have deserved our support. But in fact it was a cynical racist right-wing way of saying, "Ignore the fact that thugs kill so many blacks." This distraction campaign only showed the need for Black Lives Matter.

However, when mutual defense extends to the point of tribalism, it discards the universal morality which we could all support with our better nature, and aims for nothing beyond more effective competition with other tribes. This encourages the other tribes to fight back, turning politics into a squabble between groups in which none of them has any particular right on its side.

The only goal worth aiming for is to reject tribalism and return to universal humanitarian goals.

In particular, let's reject entirely the idea that tribes own certain cultural practices. What would be left for the rest of us? Hollywood? No one should be allowed to own cultural ideas, because everyone deserves cultural freedom.
Note that Stallman here uses "thug" in a peculiar manner:
Thugs: the armed, uniformed marauders that attack protesters and blacks, and make false accusations against them.
Usually only a few thugs commit the physical violence, but when one thug makes a false accusation, the rest lie to support it. That's why they deserve the term "thugs" as a group. They are so habituated to perjury that they have their own word for it: "testilying".

A few members of thug departments are upright and refuse to support the others' lies. They are the honorable exceptions, and I express my respect for them by calling them "police officers".
And "police officer": "A person who works in a thug department but refuses to act like a thug: who not only refrains from physically attacking innocent people or making false accusation against them, but also refuses to support false accusations made against them by thugs."
posted by koavf at 12:28 AM on March 7, 2018 [6 favorites]

Stallman's a hero, but he's out of his depth in these remarks on identity politics, universality, and cultural freedom. It was never the focus of his own work, and IIRC in an interview says as much, that he supports feminists (or whatever social justice group, I don't remember exactly), which to me implies that he should also be willing to learn from allies. His note here exhibits an oscillating level of wokeness, because he first denies his mental picture of 'identity politics' but then uses identity politics to rhetorically make a point about racist police vs. thugs, and further problematically ignores his racially tinged appropriation of the word 'thug'. Somehow, the concept 'testilying' is not divisive and alienating, but the concept 'cultural appropriation' is anti-freedom and divisive.
posted by polymodus at 12:57 AM on March 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

Ugh at Amy Chua

Can't co-sign this any harder. This is like the last person on Earth that should be writing this book.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 1:04 AM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Cool. This week's Woke Centrist is here to reassure white people that their knee-jerk dismissal of intersectionality is the smart path.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:42 AM on March 7, 2018 [9 favorites]

White people: hey everyone, enjoy being completely ignored, shut out, and dehumanized
POC: actually we want a stake in shaping society
White people: omg why are you being so divisive???
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:46 AM on March 7, 2018 [32 favorites]

Denying others the benefits of group solidarity that high-status men have enjoyed for centuries by appealing to universalism without advocating for radical redress is like arguing against erecting statues of people who weren’t high-status men because no single human should be raised above others while also claiming that all the old statues that already reside in public squares should be kept there because they’re heritage.

Basically it amounts to saying: You should be fine with being oppressed because people like you have been oppressed for centuries.
posted by Kattullus at 4:14 AM on March 7, 2018 [18 favorites]

"almost no one is standing up for an America without identity politics, for an American identity that transcends and unites all the country’s many subgroups"

Or, "OMG, who among us is going to stand up strong for [white-centric, natch] nationalism against these minority hordes!?"

Very few, I imagine, because that is such a facile view of life after the internet-enabled world that almost no one takes it seriously any more.
posted by sutt at 5:14 AM on March 7, 2018

"almost no one is standing up for an America without identity politics, for an American identity that transcends and unites all the country’s many subgroups"

Which is just straight up bullshit, because there are plenty of people who are standing up for an America that is inclusive and cares about the participation and wellbeing of all of its citizens rather than a narrow slice of them.

This is just a meaningless accusation - one that sounds good, but falls apart once you think about it. It's not our fault that Amy Chua is too blinded by both-sides-ism to notice that people are doing exactly what she says they aren't.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:26 AM on March 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

flames, flames on the side of my face
posted by entropicamericana at 5:36 AM on March 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've always thought of myself as American (because I am) and it's always straight white people (usually while campaigning for political office) who love to tell people like me that I am not a "real" American because I live in a city/am brown/am not straight/etc. Who's the divisive one obsessed with identity here?
posted by rtha at 5:38 AM on March 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

...and it's always straight white people (usually while campaigning for political office) who love to tell people like me that I am not a "real" American because I live in a city/am brown/am not straight/etc.

Yeah, funny how a politician's The Real America(r) is just a white dude who owns a hardware store in a small town in the Midwest or the South.
posted by NoMich at 5:53 AM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Fuck this noise.

"And it leaves the United States in a perilous new situation: almost no one is standing up for an America without identity politics, for an American identity that transcends and unites all the country’s many subgroups."

No. America has always been driven by identity politics, it's just that some of the identities involved aren't white now.
posted by PMdixon at 6:03 AM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ugh. Like, I think she’s even blindly grasping for an actual point that is real, but she’s so fucking wrong in this “it’s just that white people can’t be proud to be white” nonsense.

Like, she’s not wrong in that identifying by immutable rather than chosen identity tribe is a real problem in America - because it encourages people to align themselves with who they were born rather than who they want to be, and gave white people the idea of consciously identifying As White People rather than as church members or Elk Club or Rotary or any of the civic associations that used to be so robust.

But the problem isn’t that The Left Isn’t Inclusive, /one/ of the problems is that when (rightfully) tearing down institutions and traditions that were exclusionary, people of all political stripes forgot there was a /really good reason/ for civic institutions that were inclusionary, that mingled classes and races and political beliefs.

Tl;dr this is a great concept for an article but someone more informed about sociology should write it.
posted by corb at 6:12 AM on March 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Curiously, I heard Ta-Nehisi Coates speak on this subject just the other day:
MS. TIPPETT: You wrote a piece called “The Case for Reparations,” and I think that feels to me like it’s an important message you’re carrying. I just found this — just this sentence in your writing about that: “And so we must imagine a new country.”

I’ll just read a little bit more of this, because it’s very powerful and, also, beautifully written. “Reparations, by which I mean the full acceptance of our collective biography and its consequence, is the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely. The recovering alcoholic may well have to live with his illness for the rest of his life, but at least he is not living a drunken lie. Reparations beckon us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is: the work of fallible humans.”

MR. COATES: Yeah, I mean that’s it. That’s it. [laughs] And what a lot of people want to do is, they want to live the drunken lie. They want to — I was working on that piece, and it was like — because what people will tell you is, “Well, I didn’t have any slaves. I wasn’t alive when this happened. My ancestors just got here.” And what became clear to me, reading that, is: OK, but you cook out on the Fourth of July. Your ancestors weren’t here. They played no role in that. They had nothing to do with it. You take off for President’s Day, but you had no part in that. Your ancestors weren’t here. There are a number of patriotic rituals that folks have no problem participating in, as long as they can get credit for it.

But they don’t want the debits, see: “I want the paycheck; I don’t want to have to write a check, though.” And that is a kind of — in the piece, I think I talk about it as à la carte patriotism. It’s like sometimes-friendship: I’m there when I can get some, but when it gets tough, man, I’m out. “I wasn’t there. I had nothing to do with that.”

But it’s like, either you’re in or you’re out. Either you’re part of it, or you’re not. I was not alive during the Korean War. I had nothing to do with it. But my taxes go to pay pensions for folks, to this day. It would not have been my choice to invade Iraq, but my tax dollars went to it. That’s the way a state works. And so I think what people want is, they want to be a part of the state as long as it gives them something that they like. (Emphasis added.)
Which highlights one of the tensions I feel regarding civics in my city. President's Day is a city holiday, along with Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Saint Patrick's Day. Martin Luther King Day is an African-American holiday. I actually do have American Revolution ancestors and Irish ancestors, but I also have ancestors who were on the right and wrong sides of slavery and the civil rights movement. So I need to get over my white squeamishness in treating civil rights as equally central to my American identity.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:19 AM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

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