Identity politics are bad for humanity.
They make us tribal.
They appeal to our animal instinct to belong and be lead by a pack leader.
And we need to evolve past it.
As a group, there is only one tribe we need identify – human.
You need not identify as a person with this skin pigment or that, or a person attracted to this kind of person or that. None of that matters.
You are a human. You are a person with feelings, a person that bleeds, a person that takes and gives and lives and dies.
Identity politics is devisive.
Playing identity politics divides us.
It forces people to choose an identity; to choose a side.
In the 80s and 90s and even the early 00s, I used to have to admonish some humans for calling others slanderous names. Names that were derogatory and devisive and hurtful and bad for society.
I still need to do that, but rarely.
No, moreso, I find myself having to admonish people who call themselves “Social Justice Warriors” – not only do they engage in Identity Politics, but it seems to be the only kind of politics they are interested in discussing.
When you tell all white people that they are successful because they are priviliged, when you tell poor white people that even though they are poor, they are priviliged and need to acknowledge it, when you tell all men that they are part of the patriarchy, and thus, part of the problem, when you call people racists or sexists or homophobes, over and over and over simply because they have different ideas than you, when you tell groups of people that – “their opinion doesn’t matter, shut up and let (black people or gay people or female people or whatever) speak” you are doing two things:
1- You are trying to silence ideas. You are being anti-democratic
2- You are playing identity politics and dividing us further.
In playing identity politics, you are putting people into groups based on absolutely nothing more than the color of their skin, their sexuality, or their sex.
This used to be the exact thing you used to say you hated.
You are literally being racist and sexist.
This is the kind of thing I used to hate when I saw it so frequently on the right, in people who opposed letting gay people marry or judged people by their skin color.
It’s the same kind of thing I still hate today, when I see liberals doing it.
I know you think you are fighting the good fight, and your intentions are most likely noble. But I believe you are being devisive. I believe you are the reason why we now have President Trump.
Because when you play identity politics, you force people to choose an identity. A lot of conservative, religious, middle America white people decided they were tired of being called names, so they choose their identity, and they accepted a leader who was willing to hit back as hard as they were being hit. They were tired of being called transphobic and homophobic because they didn’t want people with penis’s using the same bathroom’s as their 8 year old girls. They were tired of being called racist every time they disagreed with Obama. They were tired of being called sexist because they didn’t trust Hillary Clinton.
People in the deep south (I’ve lived there) are different than people on the coast.
Are some of them racist? Yes. Of course.
But you know what? I work in Compton, and there’s racism there too.
Some people are just ass-holes.
People in the south, to a large degree, are much more Christian and much more conservative than is the rest of the country. Conservative, by nature, means to resist change.
Why do they resist change? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to consider the idea that people in California moved to California because they were seeking change, they embraced change. Not too long ago, California’s population was nowhere near what it is now. Everyone who is here, moved here, or their ancestors moved here two to four generations ago. They were seeking change. People in the South stayed. And their off-spring stayed, and their off-spring stayed. They don’t seek change. They embrace stability.
That’s not what I want to discuss, but I think it helps to understand the conservative mindset a little bit.
All of that said, there has never been a time in HUMAN HISTORY where there has been more resources, easier living, and more equality. There has never been a time in my lifetime when the field, for all, has been more fair.
Why then, do we have higher racial tension than at any time in my lifetime?
Well, just look to the media, and the emergence of the internet, for that answer.
When you report on the war in the Middle East, people yawn and change the channel.
When you write a blog post about the economy, people breeze past it and don’t click.
When people turn the channel, when they don’t click your story, guess what – you don’t make money.
But when you write a story about police brutality against minorities or when you put a news story on, day after day after day, about some old lady with a cooking show who once used the “N-word”, guess what?
Boss upstairs says, “more of that please!”
Did you know that more white people are killed by cops than black?
Probably you didn’t. What a boring friggin story to tell. Big snoozer. Change the channel.
Now, that is not to suggest that there aren’t problems with some cops being racist. Of course there are. And there have been instances where young black kids are straight up getting murdered by cops. There are also problems with cops being over-weight and unfit for the job, under-paid, and under-trained.
There’s also a whole litany of factors that creates a situation where more desperate and poor black folk are turning to crime.
Many of those factors have to do with the fact that they are still reverberating, and yet to recover from, a time not to long ago, when, in the 50s and 60s, they didn’t have the same rights as the rest of Americans.
However, it also has to do with the fact that black families don’t stay together, but if you even try to start this discussion, you are labeled racist. I’ve had this conversation with a good black friend of mine, and it’s fine, but as soon as it becomes a public discussion, people regress to their “tribe” identity politics begin, names get tossed out by both sides, and it gets ugly.
So, why don’t black families stay together as often?
Well, now we have a whole other can of worms to open. And some of those reasons include the same as above – poverty, created from inequality, that has yet to be recovered from. Racist laws, in the past, that have created unfair and unequal opportunity. Schools which are sub-par and so on.
But all these problems also exist in the Mexican communities and their families don’t fall apart at the same rate. Why?
I don’t know. This is all to complex for me to figure out. The point is – these are the kinds of conversations that we need to have as a nation if we truly want to help everyone and give everyone a fair shot, and we need to be able to have these discussions without getting tribal on one another. But we can’t do that when we are playing identity politics, calling one another names, and forcing one another to choose a group to identify with.
Stop slandering your neighbor with racially insensitive names. I don’t care if you are doing it because, you think, its out of retaliation for something else. You aren’t.
You’re doing it out of stupidity.
And stop telling poor white people to “acknowledge their white priviledge” and “to shut up and let other speak” because “they had their turn the past 300 years.” – you are oversimplifying a problem and not working towards a solution.
The lot of you have us headed down a bad path, and there’s no reason for us to go there – there’s enough here for everyone.
And above all, please, remember, your tribe is HUMAN.
You are HUMAN.