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Identity Politics Does More Harm Than Good to Minorities

It is difficult to think of an issue today as contentious as identity politics. Long criticised by the right as divisive and polarising, it has begun to be questioned by some on the left as well – from thinkers such as Mark Lilla and Jonathan Haidt. Writing from a liberal perspective in the Guardian, Columbia University professor Sheri Berman cited a host of psychological surveys showing that many white voters are supporting right-wing populists like Trump in a “defensive reaction” against perceived “group-based threats” that have been provoked, in part, by left-wing identity politics.

Berman’s article – “Why identity politics benefits the right more than the left” – insisted that liberalism’s goal must be “winning elections,” which means “not helping Trump rile up his base by activating their sense of ‘threat’ and inflaming the grievances and anger that lead them to rally around him.” In her view, this requires “avoiding the type of ‘identity politics’ that stresses differences and creates a sense of ‘zero-sum’ competition between groups and instead emphasizing common values and interests.” Like Mark Lilla, Berman portrays identity politics as an obstacle to achieving the goals of liberal progressives.

As a black person living in the West, and a purported beneficiary of identitarianism, I feel compelled to take this a step further.

‘Identity politics’ means different things to different people. Personally, I like this characterization by Sonia Kruks, an Oberlin College politics professor, in her book Retrieving Experience: Subjectivity and Recognition in Feminist Politics:

What makes identity politics a significant departure from earlier, pre-identarian forms of the politics of recognition is its demand for recognition on the basis of the very grounds on which recognition has previously been denied: it is qua women, qua blacks, qua lesbians that groups demand recognition. The demand is not for inclusion within the fold of “universal humankind” on the basis of shared human attributes; nor is it for respect “in spite of” one’s differences. Rather, what is demanded is respect for oneself as different.

Add to this the view, common to postmodernist critical theory, that society revolves around various in-groups and out-groups (men, women, blacks, whites, cis, non-cis, etc.) and that these groups are defined in some fundamental, all-consuming way by power differentials, and this gives rise to a hierarchy of identities. The fundamental objective of left-wing identitarians is to strengthen the weaker groups while simultaneously weakening the strongest (whites, especially cishetero white males) to achieve a more ‘equitable’ distribution of power. So far, so good from my own self-interested point of view. I would much prefer to be the member of a powerful group than a powerless one. Question is, can identity politics deliver on this promise?

Evidence suggests that a group’s bargaining power is contingent on, among other things, the amount of resources – material and non-material – that it brings to the negotiating table. In light of this, feminism makes strategic sense. Women constitute roughly half the population of any given nation. In many Western countries, women slightly outnumber men. Thus, in terms of raw numbers alone, this ‘identity group’ possesses huge bargaining power. Another tactical advantage feminist identitarians have is that the people their demands are often addressed to, men, are inextricably linked to women via a variety of close personal relationships. The feminist actress Louise Brealey was on to something when she said: “I’d like every man who doesn’t call himself a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t believe in equality for women.” Good luck with that guys!

No society can reproduce itself without the cooperation of its female members. True, men are necessary as well, but the point is no society can afford to turn on its women or deny them power if they insist on it for long and hard enough. All the addressees of their demands (males) can do is to negotiate a face-saving surrender. As Michael Lewis wrote in Home Game: an Accidental Guide to Fatherhood:

At some point in the last few decades, the American male sat down at the negotiating table with the American female and — let us be frank — got fleeced… Women may smile at a man pushing a baby stroller, but it is with the gentle condescension of a high officer of an army toward a village that surrendered without a fight.

In the long run, feminism is a very sensible power-achieving strategy for its supposed beneficiaries. But racial identitarianism, in comparison, is less promising.

Contrary to demographic scare stories disseminated by the far-right, black people don’t really hold that strong a hand in terms of numbers. While Western European nations like Germany and France don’t keep racial statistics, in the U.K. where I live – and which is arguably the most diverse country in all of Europe – ethnic minorities constitute just 13 percent of the population, with my group (blacks and mixed-black) making up under five percent. Moreover, an important factor that’s usually overlooked in discussions on race in Britain is how significantly European Union (E.U.) immigration has ‘whitened’ the country. Whites currently constitute 87 percent of the U.K. population, but this proportion will likely rise in the near future once a majority of the 3.8 million overwhelmingly-white European Union citizens living in the U.K. acquire British citizenship following Britain’s departure from the E.U. Most of these E.U. citizens are from Eastern European countries like Poland, my mother’s birthland, where people generally have a stronger sense of white identity and have more provincial views on race than the indigenous white-British population.

In 2016, Poland overtook India as the most common foreign country of birth for people living in the U.K., reflecting the changing nature of recent migration to Britain. Such are the realities that black Britons will have to come to terms with in the coming years. We currently only constitute one in 20 British citizens and that proportion is likely to shrink. In light of this, a political creed that, as Berman put it, “stresses difference and creates a sense of ‘zero-sum’ competition between groups” doesn’t seem like it’s in my best interests.

What about the promises of racial identitarians in America, where some projections indicate whites will constitute less than 50 percent of the population by 2045? Unfortunately, long-term population projections tend to assume a stable status quo not just in birth- and death-rates, but also in patterns of migration. However, those things are unstable and identitarians hoping to celebrate the end of white-majority America in less than 30 years time should be cautious. Especially if they are right about society as an arena of ongoing group struggles.

I can easily imagine a white-anxiety-driven coalition electing a U.S. Congress and President who wouldn’t shy away from passing immigration laws making it significantly easier for white Europeans to settle in America than migrants from other parts of the world. Apart from protesting such moves, there is little the left would be able to do to stop them were such a coalition to attain political power. And let’s not forget, it has already captured the Presidency. Such laws might not have enough impact to reverse demographic trends in America, but they could considerably delay the white-minority scenario that some of the left are eagerly awaiting.

Besides, even according to these projections, the racial segment I’m most interested in – America’s black population – is forecast to be almost exactly where it is today, at roughly 13 percent. So even by 2045, only 1 in 8 Americans will be black. It is the Hispanic population that is expected to expand from 18 percent to nearly 25 percent during the next 25 years or so – and as an article in the Washington Post pointed out earlier this year:

[T]he strict black/white binary of racial identity in the United States differs from the more nuanced racially-mixed narrative of Latin America, whose societies offered a form of ‘racial status mobility’ through intermarriage with Europeans.

A Pew Research study in 2017 showed high interracial marriage rates among Hispanics, leading to the fading of a ‘Hispanic’ identity over several generations. While almost 90 percent of newcomers to America from Spanish-speaking parts of the world identify as ‘Hispanic’, the number drops to 50 percent by the fourth-generation. Many descendants of Latin American (as well as Asian) immigrants eventually come to identify as ‘White’, which is why America today is 62 percent white when census respondents are forced to choose only one racial category, but 80 percent white when they can tick more than one box (e.g. Hispanic and white).

It is safe to assume that the people of Hispanic and Asian heritage who at least partially identify as white – and will do so in increasing numbers – are unlikely potential allies for black identitarians in a future America. So if African-Americans are going to remain a static 13 percent of the population, how is black identity politics going to help them?

Another difference between feminist identity politics and racial identity politics is that the rest of society does not always have strong personal, much less familial, ties to black folks, guaranteeing constant interaction. Unlike anti-feminist men, white people who refuse to accede to the demands of racial identitarians are unlikely to be punished by their nearest and dearest.

It is because he acknowledged this reality that Martin Luther King stressed non-violent resistance to Jim Crow laws. Commenting on Malcolm X in his autobiography, King wrote:

In his litany of articulating the despair of the Negro without offering any positive, creative alternative, I feel that Malcolm has done himself and our people a great disservice. Fiery, demagogic oratory in the black ghettos, urging Negros to arm themselves… can reap nothing but grief. In the event of a violent revolution, we would be sorely outnumbered. And when it was all over, the Negro would face the same unchanged conditions… the only difference being that his bitterness would be even more intense, his dis-enchantment even more abject. Thus, in purely practical as well as moral terms, the American Negro has no rational alternative to non-violence.

In his critique of black nationalism, MLK could be describing black identity politics today: a constant litany of grievances and bluster with no realistic strategy to eliminate the cause of those complaints.

So who exactly does benefit from black identity politics? I suppose it’s conceivable I might benefit, being a member of Britain’s tiny black middle class. As racial identitarians try and shame universities, media companies and tech firms for hiring too few black people I might find it easier to get a well-paid job. However, black architects or accountants are less likely to benefit. When did you last see a newspaper headline raising alarm bells about ‘Too few black accountants’? As for black plumbers, mechanics and bus-drivers, forget it.

No, the main beneficiaries of racial identity politics are the identitarians themselves. They are the ones making good money selling books encouraging black people to scapegoat white people for all their problems. They play to the unfortunate human weakness for blaming your problems on other people – something that’s also exploited by right-wing demagogues encouraging the white working class to blame immigrants for their problems.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ironically, these snake-oil salesmen would not have achieved anything like the success they have without the complicity of guilty white liberals. As the African-American intellectual John McWhorther has pointed out, black identitarians like Ta Nehisi-Coates are “revered” as “priests” by white devotees of racial identity politics, who rush to pay homage and help spread the Gospel of anti-racism. Meanwhile, the negotiating position of black people is weakened by the day. Instead of reserving what was once a very effective tool at our disposal as a nuclear option – the stigmatizing power of the label ‘racist’ – identitarians are rendering it a blank bullet through overuse. Steven Bannon has said that he looks forward to the day when calling someone ‘racist’ has lost all power to stigamitize and he has no greater allies than racial identitarians and their guilty white devotees.

The day is fast approaching when mainstream white society will react to accusations of racism with yawns and shrugs. What will identitarians do then? Invent a new word that will magically possess the once mightily discrediting power that ‘racist’ did? Retreat fully into ethnic enclaves in Western countries? Raise black armies to take over the state?

Most probably, they’ll simply continue to live in their middle or upper-middle class neighbourhoods, mixing with other successful minority professionals and white liberals while working-class black folks bear the brunt of this sea change in their workplaces and racially-mixed or white-dominated working-class neighbourhoods. It is the African immigrant who will suffer, desperate to get to Europe or America to better his family’s future, yet facing the increasing hostility of white immigration officials and having to leap over ever-growing hurdles. Meanwhile, identitarians will continue selling books attacking ‘white supremacy’.

There must be a better way forward. In 2014, psychology professors Tamar Saguy and Nour Kteily conducted a fascinating study on how groups negotiate power among each other that points towards a more effective strategy. To be fair, it is worth noting their study confirmed one argument that left-wing identitarians often make, namely, that groups with power prefer not to discuss their power. They found that “high-power groups” ranging from Ashkenazi Jews in Israel, Muslims in Turkey and whites in the U.S. “preferred to focus [inter-group] encounters on topics emphasising cross-group commonalities, and to de-emphasise topics that bring to light power differences between the groups.”

In strong contrast, members of low-power groups preferred to discuss commonalities and power differences. In other words, blacks and other minorities want to discuss power differences in Western societies; whites would rather not, preferring to defuse tensions by emphasizing what we all have in common.

But another key finding in Saguy and Kteily’s study was that in response to strong moral arguments, high-power groups exhibited a readiness to address power differences, but only when they “perceived their group’s dominant position in the hierarchy as stable.” When they worried about “narrowing advantage” and potential personal losses, they demonstrated a strong resistance to addressing power differences.

This supports Sheri Berman’s analysis and shows how misguided it is for many on the left to continuously emphasize, and even gloat over, how soon whites will lose their majority advantage. All that does is make many whites less willing to address power inequalities, which is highly counter-productive for minorities. It’s that kind of talk that will lead to Trump winning a second term.

A smarter strategy would be to play down this perceived threat to whites. How? Saguy and Kteily suggest low-power groups emphasize working together with high-power groups “to achieve mutual gains” rather than signal their desire to “displace their [high-power] counterparts.” True, you won’t sell a lot of books or fire up a lot of progressives emphasizing cooperation and mutual gains; in fact, you will likely be met with many yawns and accusations that you’ve ‘sold out’. But to quote Martin Luther King again:

There is a concrete, real black power I believe in. I don’t believe in black separatism, I don’t believe in black power that would have racist overtones, but certainly if black power means the amassing of political and economic power in order to gain our just and legitimate goals, then we all believe in that.

This economic and political power will not be achieved via feisty rhetoric, empty bluster and antagonistic attitudes. It can only be achieved through smart strategic thinking. Identity politics is a road to nowhere for black people in the West.

 

Remi Adekoya is a Ph.D. student researching group identity at Sheffield University. Follow him on Twitter @RemiAdekoya1 

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91 Comments

  1. Even if you accede to the postmodern claim that all reality can be reduced to power relations, thousands of years ago a fella named Plato pointed out that such a world view is quite useless in practical matters unless one is omniscient.

    As an agent with limited information and reasoning capacity, it is quite impossible to consistently be accurate in judgments of who is friend and who is enemy in realist power struggle scenarios. Instead of heeding this rather obvious challenge to their worldview, the postmodern identitarian doubles down by claiming that such epistemological quandaries can be summarily dispatched by simply assigning friend/foe status based on the most superficial and immutable characteristics individuals possess.

    In the identitarian paradigm, there is no longer any need to wonder whether the old white male greeter at wal mart is a potentially kind and thoughtful individual with political positions that may or may not align with your own; his skin color and gender are the only important facts that matter: white = bad; male = bad; white + male = worse.

    I think it’s hilarious that the identitarian dogma is so intellectually flimsy that Plato refuted it thousands of years ago. But then again, he was a white male, so what would he know?

    • @ AA

      ” white = bad”

      To be fair to the Post Modernist view – they will call it being against “Whiteness” and not Whites per se. And where “whiteness” is a socially constructed thing.

      • @Nomad

        “Social constructivism” is just another age-old way of saying that one is too intellectually lazy to derive a coherent argument and unconcerned that their world view is at odds with reality.

        Plato would proceed by further questioning the basis on which one can ‘know’ that the social construct of “whiteness” is their foe. Such knowledge has to come from somewhere. The postmodernist puts themselves unwittingly in the situation where they have removed the very ground of an objective reality from which to make such claims to knowledge of moral standards. In its place they have substituted their self-willing will as the arbiter of truth, hardly a claim one can take seriously being that it is the definition of magical thinking.

        In an attempt to obscure this fact, most postmodern ‘discourse’ devolves very quickly into obscurantist dithering that people read because they think it makes them sophisticated. Heidegger was really the last contemporary thinker to say anything intelligent on the question of Being and the modes of access to it.

        • Some are hoping that they can “divide and conquer,” but that’s only a viable strategy if you are not among that parties being divided. “Divide a house,” and it will fall, except those who are sowing the division are also in that house. More likely, retaliation by offended parties will lead to crime, poverty and violence.

      • James Lee says

        @Reading Nomad

        The rhetoric of the left identitarians is often deceptive by nature. It typically has two forms or definitions, and speaker moves between those two definitions depending on the argument. So at times, they use the definition of “white” to denote the racial category of humans who oppress the categories of non-white people, and at other times they will shift into a vague, abstract notion of “white” in an attempt to signal they aren’t attacking actual humans in a racialized manner.

        We saw this two-faced rhetoric very clearly with Ezra Klein’s defense of Sarah Jeong’s tweets. Klein explained that the phrase #killallmen really means “it would be nice if the world sucked less for women.” Klein further claimed that the words “white people” mean something closer to the “dominant power structure and culture”. Following Klein’s translation guide, we can assume that when Jeong said, “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men”, she was really just saying that she likes to be cruel to the dominant power structure.

        And yet when Candace Owens re-tweeted Jeong’s tweets — but simply changed the race from white to black or jewish (explicitly stating what she was doing) — her account was quickly suspended.

        The commissars get to define everyone’s speech as they see fit, and they reserve the prerogative to change definitions on the fly. Some of the parallels between left Identitarianism and Communist ideology and propaganda are striking.

        • @ James Lee

          As much as I am in agreement with you over rejecting post modernism, you have got this somewhat wrong.

          [[Klein explained that the phrase #killallmen really means “it would be nice if the world sucked less for women.” ]]

          Yes. In their eyes, that really is what it means. It is still wrong and awful and if gotten out of hand, it can lead to violence. But Klein isn’t being dishonest here – even if it is something of a double-speak.

          [[Klein further claimed that the words “white people” mean something closer to the “dominant power structure and culture”.]]

          Yes! And it is really important to actually get this right and see it from their perspective. The “power” structure in PM thinking is a very important concept.

          [[And yet when Candace Owens re-tweeted Jeong’s tweets — but simply changed the race from white to black or jewish (explicitly stating what she was doing) — her account was quickly suspended.]]

          Ditto! Because the two in their eyes are not the same thing. Going back to the power structure – both possess dissimilar power. Hence one is racism and the other is not.

          To sum up, Jeong’s racism is ideologically different and one has to understand this to be able to counter it effectively.

          Heather McDonald has got a good grip on it:

          https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/sarah-jeong-boring-typical-product-higher-education/

          • James Lee says

            @Nomad

            I am talking about a form of duplicitous rhetoric which has embedded two sharply different meanings, and which allow the user to slide between those two different definitions at will. One is egregious — “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men” — one is theoretically non-egregious (“I oppose the dominant power system.”)

            This tactic allows the user the joy, freedom, and power to be abusive, intolerant, and bigoted (and to thereby signal one’s tribal allegiance), but if called on it, to be able to retreat to the other “safe” definition. It relies on having enough people allow such lies to go unchecked. We can apparently count on the New York Times and Twitter in this regard.

            I strongly recommend that you read through the many hundreds of casual racist tweets from Jeong. I think you may be surprised just how many can’t remotely be defended as referring to the “dominant power system”. It’s a ludicrous claim from Ezra Klein.

        • Cary D Cotterman says

          I sincerely hope that one day the delightful Jeong is cruel to some old white man who’s just not in the mood, and wakes up flat on her back with her teeth scattered on the floor around her.

      • I guess I’m “socially constructed”. And if whiteness means democracy, justice for all, equal opportunitty without any sort of special privileges based on sex or DNA haplotype, then whiteness is just fine with me.

    • yandoodan says

      @AA Excellent comment. I love you image of an old white male Wal-Mart greeter. Is this a person who inherits unearned political power, power that Harvard undergraduates are denied?

      The idea that whites are destined to become a minority is simplistic as well. Hispanics are ripe for entrance into the middle class, enjoying privileges of power indistinguishable from (other) whites. The (other) whites are learning to accept this; legal middle-class Hispanics are church-going family-oriented folk who keep up their lawns. They are good neighbors. Intersectionalists are unable to make this distinction, the one between illegal immigrants and those immigrants who become good neighbors, but it is real, and it is the latter who control power along with their neighbors.

      The same with women. Intersectionalists expect gender-consciousness the way Marxists expect class-consciousness, but it won’t work. Women marry men they find compatible; women vote with their husbands and husbands vote with their wives because they were alike to begin with. Intersectional attempts to peel women away from their men will be seen as attacks on their families, the biggest no-no ever.

      But for me, as an elderly white Southerner, the most relevant and astonishing (and unambiguously good) thing is the widespread appearance of interracial marriage, not just in popular culture (which could conceivably be nods to diversity), but in advertising. Advertising is purely results oriented. If it alienated the massive white population they wouldn’t use it. They do use it however, and nobody cares. But forty years ago it could get you a burnt cross, fifty years ago it could get you jailed, and sixty years ago it could get you murdered. This isn’t just about “improvement”; it’s about merging with the group that gets you the most power, the most advantage for you and (even more importantly) your family. The intersectionalists actually believe they can give people this power via tweetstorms, but it doesn’t work that way.

    • @ AA

      I love this comment (your very first comment above). I know nothing about Plato, but now I’m really curious as this sounds like an incredibly practical and shrewd way of thinking.

      • X. Citoyen says

        M.D.

        If you have a question, Plato has the right answer. Be leery of secondary sources, however; best to get Plato from the horse’s mouth.

          • @M.D.

            I would start with Plato’s “Republic.” It’s one of the few dialogues where Plato allows Socrates free reign to put forward his best arguments.

          • X. Citoyen says

            M.D.,

            You could pretty much start with any dialogue that strikes your fancy. I think the important thing to remember is that you’re reading “conversations” between people. It’s not like reading an opinion piece or an essay. Take your time and take it all in. Watch for nuances and shifts in topic and tone. Careful, close reading is the way in.

        • shaar says

          Wouldn’t you rather say; If you have a question, Plato has already formulated it.

          In my opinion his answers are not always right, or even interesting. But he mapped all the mysteries. To paraphrase Whitehead (because I don’t remember the quote) the whole of phiolosophy is but footnotes to the works of Plato.

    • how many articles a month can quillette post about identity politics? seriously weird fetish going on there! do the rwnj need their weekly outrage about the left?

      the author correctly states there are many definitions of identity politics. it’s very broad term and i honestly read it mostly on weird right wing outlets who need something to be angry about.

      identitarians? “the main beneficiaries of racial identity politics are the identitarians themselves.”
      you mean people who have right wing outlets who needs something to write about?

      did he just solve racism. the blacks just have it well in the US? and if somebody is accused of racism it’s just well…

      ah jeez quillette.

      “This supports Sheri Berman’s analysis and shows how misguided it is for many on the left to continuously emphasize, and even gloat over, how soon whites will lose their majority advantage. All that does is make many whites less willing to address power inequalities, which is highly counter-productive for minorities. It’s that kind of talk that will lead to Trump winning a second term.”

      hard lol for this

      gerrymandering, voter supression etc. all because some folks gloated about whites loosing the majority. if you assume everyone is such a wanker like white supremacists…if that is your world view.

    • Caligula says

      What should be self-evident (but apparently is not) is that African-Americans in the USA were able to exercise their rights of citizenship because the white majority chose to recognize those rights.

      Which is not to denegrate the heroism of MLK, etc., but simply to note that had most whites been determined to not recognize the rights of black Americans that they surely would have had the power to do so. The tactic of MLK et. al was not to challenge that power directly, but to challenge its legitimacy: that is, to force the majority to live up to the ideals they claimed for themselves (“All men are created equal,” etc.).

      It’s a tactic that has worked in some times and some places, but is obviously not feasible at all places and all times. What made it work in the USA was the appeal to the white Americans not as whites but as Americans: that is, an appeal ultimately rooted in Enlightement claims to universality (and thus in sharp contrast to a politics of identity).

      As for “The day is fast approaching when mainstream white society will react to accusations of racism with yawns and shrugs …,” this seems the obvious conclusion to assertions that only whites can be racist. For even aside from the self-evident absurdity of asserting that Louis Farrakhan (for example) can’t be racist, when the accusation of racism is “proven” merely by one’s group identity, then what’s left to say but “OK, fine, whatever” and move on?

      • Cary D Cotterman says

        Caligula–I agree. In response to the assertion that I’m automatically a racist simply because I’m white, I’ve already arrived at “OK, fine, whatever.” It’s a form of desensitization that’s been forced upon me and other whites of my ilk by shrill, foolish non-white activists. It doesn’t do anyone any good–not them or us–but it wasn’t my idea.

    • K. Robinson says

      Unfortunately for you, your “postmodern identitarian” is a complete straw man who doesn’t exist. Building alliances across racial, gender and class lines in order to achieve particular socio-political goals is an old strategy and very effective. The only people who assume allegiance based on race and gender is the far right.

  2. Farris says

    The overall point of this article is correct but much of the reasoning is off base. Feminism was successful in obtaining equality for women only to end up alienating most of their constituency. Feminism became and remains radically anti-male, ignoring the fact most women not only have sons, husbands, fathers and brothers but do in fact love them. Then feminist denigrated motherhood and stay at home moms. Finally feminist only support women who advocate for the left, ignoring strides made by women on the right and frequently hurling invectives at them. For these reasons fewer and fewer women identify as feminist. The problems with identity politics are its monolithic approach and demand for conformity. Identitarians preach only governmental solutions and aid as a pathway to power. Notions of success through education and free markets are are met with derision and blacks who advocate these routes to prosperity are often ostracized as sell outs. Often over looked is that Nigerian immigrants to the United States have become one of the most successful immigrant groups by investing heavily in education. Likewise Asian immigrants to the have found success by investing heavily in education. Noticing that identity politics is not working maybe the start of the coming revolution but it won’t be a revolution where minorities over throw western governments or displace whites. The coming revolution may be minorities revolting against the identity plantation politics of the Left. These politics seek to mollify minorities with trinkets from the government while discouraging them from assimilating and seeking economic success, only to the benefit of their identitarian overlords and progressive masters.

    • Identity politics, by definition, is negatively prejudicial just as racism is, which today just means white identity. It assumes members of their defined identity are all the same and can be judged as a class (either good or bad) based on that identity.

      • I have seen racism used by Bantu Africans who despise pigmies. In South Sudan nilotic tribalism is so extreme, some tribes discuss genocide quite openly. My daughter lived in china, speaks Mandarin and claims the Chinese are racist. So this is more of a human trait rather than a “white problem”.

      • K. Robinson says

        An identity is by definition a class but Social Justice Warriors are almost by definition against the notion of judging an individual based on their class. Their goal is to normalize all identities.

    • K. Robinson says

      “Identitarians preach only governmental solutions and aid as a pathway to power.”
      What? Who? What “identitarian” group or individual only preaches government solutions? How is calling for greater diversity in comics and movies not an appeal to the market?

  3. One issue not addressed by this author is the question of the the end game for those championing identity politics.

    He seems to assume that what is demanded by identitarians is merely greater equality among the racial groups. What precisely does this end-state of equality look like and how do we know we have ever reached it? A final question I would ask in any debate with an identitarian is why I should EVER trust them with power considering their inability to conceive of something like a greater public good beyond the narrow confines of what benefits their racial tribe.

    Here’s the problem. A true identitarian sees only zero sum power struggle between groups. Why would anyone believe them when they claim their goal is simply parity in power relations? Why stop there if what is at stake is an eternal power struggle between racial groups? This is one of the primary reasons I have zero respect for proponents of identity politics. They claim to be sincere about their desire for equality, but they know by their own suppositions such platitudes are nothing but useful lies.

    • Hi AA, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Think you raise very good points. Obviously, identitarians would tell you the end-game is ‘equality’, but as we know, concepts like ‘equality’ are essentially-contested concepts that we can argue about for years without coming to any agreement. How do you measure it exactly? And I understand your wariness towards those so focussed on power solely for their own group without caring what happens to the rest of society, especially those viewed as members of ‘privileged’ groups. Can’t understand why they don’t see this is so off-putting for other members of society and will only raise their suspicions.

      • lol at your identarians all the time. you never heard of the right wing Identitarian movement? it’s a bit weird you forgot this.

    • K. Robinson says

      Maybe the people who think are identitarians really aren’t identitarians. Since when was being anti-racist “identitarian”? The whole notion of equality is part and parcel of the Enlightenment project so saying that it is unachievable in social terms is to say that the goals of the Enlightenment are bunk. In fact, it is the so-called Social Justice Warriors who are taking the Enlightenment project to it’s logical end. That end just doesn’t jibe with the personal goals of the groups who hold the most power and privilege.

  4. AC Harper says

    You can make an argument that the art of politics is managing to govern a disparate collection of people successful, mostly by compromise and agreement.

    Identity politics seems to get its energy by splitting people into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Surely not a long term strategy for success?

    • Why no long term success? Not in the US maybe, with one language, one law system, a thoroughly mixed culture, but what about Hungary? Pakistan? The Netherlands? Swaziland? Quwait? Kurdistan? Israel?

    • Yup, agreed 100% AC Harper! Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment!

  5. Gosh, if only someone had warned that identity politics was divisive, created hate, and was extremely harmful in the long run. Oh, wait, we conservatives shouted it from the rooftops. We were ignored.

    See, the Left thought it was going to ride identity politics to victory. Hillary thought she could win by using women, minorities, and the white working class could go to the Devil. This is why Obama’s people piled power after power into the federal government: they thought they were going to have a permanent majority, and could do as they liked. The GOP establishment was fine with it, they were happy to be a perennial second place as long as they got to participate. After all, they had (have) much more in common with their Democrat colleagues than they do the rest of America.

    “right-wing demagogues encouraging the white working class to blame immigrants for their problems.”

    This isn’t some kind of blaming immigrants. Illegal aliens are a huge problem in America. Our kids graduate from high school and can’t get entry-level jobs because they’re taken by 35 year old men from Oxaca who are willing to work for less than minimum wage, no worker protections, and sleep 25 people in a 4 bedroom suburban house. I notice once again, the Left deliberately or ignorantly confuses legal immigrants, who are by and large good people, with illegal aliens, who need to be helped to get back home.

    But then that pesky democracy got in the way, and we outvoted identity politics. Whoops! Nobody saw that coming. Even that columnist in al-Guardian states that identity politics is a loser not because it’s a faulty idea – far from it. The Left still wholeheartedly believes in it. I mean, come on: “celebrate the end of white-majority America”? What kind of racist rhetoric is this?? Why would this be celebrated? Would we celebrate the end of a black-majority country in Africa?

    It’s just that it can’t win elections. That damn democracy! The solution: accuse the enemy of being fascists and anti-democratic. This not only fulfills a deep need to project one’s own faults on The Other, it justifies all sorts of unethical and immoral non-governmental censorship, up to and including silencing people with violence. Stopping people from speaking with violence is not stopping fascism – it IS fascism!

  6. Paul Ellis says

    “The feminist actress Louise Brealey was on to something when she said: “I’d like every man who doesn’t call himself a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t believe in equality for women.”

    I’m not a feminist because I believe in *equality* for women. Simple. The ‘women in my life’ know that, and agree.

    • OtherWay says

      I don’t believe in equality for women – because I don’t believe in equality.
      It is neither realistic, nor a goal that has value.
      Some people are kinder. Some people are funnier. Some people are taller.
      We are NOT equal. And we never will be. And we wouldn’t even want to be.
      Do you want “diversity” or “equality” – because they are polar opposites.
      Or do you want “diversity” when it means one thing, and “equality” when it means another?

    • Draymond Green says

      I do believe in equality for women, so much so that I believe women should have to compete directly against men in the same sports.

      I’m not a feminist because feminists don’t want equality, what they want is more money, power and status in a society that was built by men, that’s why they’re always complaining about the wage gender gap, well there isn’t a wage gender gap: the minimum wage for women is the same as men. But what about the highest income earners where the big money is? That’s what feminists want, the big money. In the past they would have to marry a rich guy to get money, power and status, now they’re going after the institutions (academia, government, banks, tech) and paying themselves way more than they’re worth and they’re achieving this under the banner of “equality, diversity and inclusivity.” Feminists are essentially gold-diggers. In Ontario there’s a whole legion of feminist public sector bureaucrats that live in McMansions and drive Mercedes SUVs, apparently because they want to be equal to everyone else. It’s all a lie.

      So if Louise Brealey asked me why I’m not a feminist I would tell her feminism is a fucking lie. Then I would ask her of she treats men the same as women? We all know what the answer to that is.

  7. Daniel says

    Interesting that Adekoya was focusing on the fact that identity politics didn’t help any minorities.
    Help them with what, though? Did he actually get around to identifying a problem that minorities face? I mean, I can think of some, but he didn’t articulate a problem.
    Furthermore, his solution was “get political power.” I distrust that. Political power has varying degrees of importance to different people at different times, but it is always essentially crucial to would-be-tyrants. And that’s exactly what makes the Left so scary. Besides, I remain skeptical that Adekoya can only succeed if his group has political power; he lives in a country in which “get rich and make a damn good living” is possible to everyone who works within the system.

    • Hi Daniel, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Regarding the points you raised, from the start I tried to adopt, for the purposes of this article, the same kind of worldview racial identitarians adopt, which is that a group’s status is determined by the power (political and economic) which it has in a society vis-à-vis other groups. This is their position. So, Ok, let’s adopt this position, I suggested.

      Rather than focus on the morality or immorality of identity politics (which has been done plenty eloquently by others), let’s see whether this strategy is even a viable one for its supposed beneficiaries, i.e. racial minorities living in the West.

      In the end, I concluded it is NOT a viable strategy for making, for instance, black people richer and politically stronger as a group. Thus, even adopting their worldviews, the strategy is still a pretty useless and counterproductive one except for its leading ideologues who benefit personally from it, I argue. The last thing I would say is that I can only succeed in Britain if my group has political power. That would be a ridiculous assertion for me to make.

      Hope this clears up some things for you. Perhaps I did not make my arguments as clear as I could have in the piece, so will work on sharpening them for the future. Thanks again for the points you raised!

      • Daniel says

        Remi,
        Thanks for clarifying. I see your point. Looking back, I also see that you said you’re speaking from a identity-politics perspective for the article, and I should have noticed that it was, if not hypothetical, at least for the sake of argument. It was careless of me to conflate you with the point you were arguing.
        I suppose our common ground (on this article, at the very least) is that identity politics is a political strategy that is backfiring.
        As with most arguments, the premise at the beginning is always the most tenuous, and that was what I was questioning, hoping to get a discussion. Didn’t figure to have the author respond! 😉

        • Glad we cleared that up Daniel, def in agreement on strategy backfiring! Have a great Sunday!🙂

      • Wentworth Horton says

        Tribalism is the subjugation of the Individual, that’s a tough sell. And getting tougher everyday. So you suggest just adopting the pro position, “Rather than focus on the morality or immorality of identity politics . . ” then proceed to propose a softer marketing strategy. It’s pretty clear that not focusing on the morality or immorality of identity politics is a key component of this new, softer, strategy. Yeah, no.

  8. RandyBNC says

    Good article. The author seems however to accept the postmodernist ideas of power struggle among between groups and is concerned w/ advancing a strategy to

    “…strengthen the weaker groups while simultaneously weakening the strongest (whites, especially cishetero white males) to achieve a more ‘equitable’ distribution of power.”

    • Hi Randy, thanks for reading and for your comments. I accepted their fundamental premises and worldviews merely for the purposes of this article. I was trying to argue not from a moral ‘it is bad’ angle but from a utilitarian perspective of ‘Ok, let’s even say your assumptions are right, does this still make sense strategically for its supposed beneficiaries?’.

  9. totjee says

    “The day is fast approaching when mainstream white society will react to accusations of racism with yawns and shrugs. ”

    For some of us , exasperated by the increasingly vocal anti White racism on line and spreading into mainstream media ( Sarah Jeong springs to mind), that day has already arrived.

  10. Louis Belzil says

    I am always puzzled when a progressive dimly comes to the realization that identity politics makes people defend their identities. That entire universities and disciplines are only vaguely aware of this obvious corollary leads me to conclude that they are not very smart. Let me explain in simple terms: if it’s all about identity, then it’s all about identity. Mine versus yours. There is no harmonious end state possible. I reject such a bleak philosophy, and I hope that others do too.

    • “I am always puzzled when a progressive dimly comes to the realization that identity politics makes people defend their identities”

      Oh my! I spewed my Earl Grey tea! Lol. Simple but Brilliant.

    • Area Man says

      @Louis: It wouldn’t make sense except that they have a ready-made defense: Black power (for example) is affirming, but white power is racist.

  11. Farris says

    Identity politics have become so tiresome, always in search of the next outrage. Recently, the type of food served in the cafeteria, the type of costume one wears to a party or hairstyle one chooses have all been mocked as racists. Seeking to maintain perpetual outrage has ended up trivializing identity politics. There is no future in indentity politics because it has devolved into perpetual temper tantrum throwing, which even the current day protesters will eventually out grow.

  12. “They play to the unfortunate human weakness for blaming your problems on other people – something that’s also exploited by right-wing demagogues encouraging the white working class to blame immigrants for their problems.”

    Except that immigration redistributes money from workers to capitalists by lowering wages:

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/trump-clinton-immigration-economy-unemployment-jobs-214216

    Frankly, blame whitey made a lot of sense when you are looking at the Jim Crow South. The issue for Black politics is what to do when you not only get equal rights but special rights (like affirmative action, minority voting districts designed to elect minority candidates under the VRA, and other goodies). It appears what you do is recycle conspiracy theories circulating in Weimar Germany, and air brush out the hook noses from the Joseph Goebbel’s cartoons.

    Lets be serious too. “identity politics” isn’t some new creation of the Left. German national socialism is “identity politics” crafted to a science. Hitler was the greatest politician of identity in the modern era.

    • Another way to conceptualize it, if you are playing racial and ethnic identity politics, the basis is the friend/enemy distinction. So let’s build a political coalition of minorities and social outliers based on making whites (especially rural and low SES whites) the enemy.

      The necessary result will be a counter-reaction based on whites, especially rural and low SES whites, against nonwhites. Who will win? And what will the “victory conditions” look like? Something like the Nuremberg laws or a return to Jim Crow for someone, or will it go full Yugoslavia?

  13. Peuri says

    @Farris
    Yes, it’s kind of hard to decipher what would be the kind of society that leftist identitarians want, obviously because there are many related concepts and ideas such as cultural appropriation, multiculturalism, viewpoint epistemology, cultural relativism & feminism to name a few, which have internal conflicts also, and not all leftist identitarians subscribe to all of them. It’s just not an unified political stance, more like a toolbox to be used to win an argument and shame people. But I get the idea that the end state would be a sort of Ottoman empire, where instead of religion, different identity groups would have slightly or more so, differing laws in the west to mitigate the fact that history has been unable to create equity of outcomes for all identity groups in positions of wealth and power.

    Personally I have always been a leftist sort of person, but after the Evergreen debacle, I’ve been on a political drift, since I can’t really stand behind the devisive rhetoric. If the goal is to bring humanity together, it’s the commonalities like mr. Adekoya and the quotes of dr. King jr. are saying that should be emphesized, not that which devides us. If you look at succesfull emancipatory movements in history, it’s been the argument of unity that has brought progress, not the argument of difference. In a multicultural setting this is hard, because settling on unity means that someone has to change some of their values.

    • To change values? Why should you (as a group)? We live in the 21th century now, and no longer in the 19th, in which we all knew (even the Arabs and Chinese) that the Western way of life was the only civilized one, and, thus,the one to copy and master.

    • Farris says

      @Peuri. Excellent insights. The only thing I might add is that the victories of present day identity politics are largely anecdotal; a professor fired here, a statue removed there, a street renamed, an administrator made to apologize or a token appointment. How do these gestures benefit minorities as a whole? I submit they do not but rather only serve as trophies or resume entries for the identitarians who bring them to fruition. Time was when the civil rights movement spawn significant legislation, today it appears only concerned with hats, hair styles and gender pronouns. Small potatoes indeed.

  14. Its easy to overlook how white identity politics has been the water in which we American fish swim for centuries, the water that surrounds us and is invisible until it is absent.

    Trump is the epitome of white identity politics, where he really has no actual policy other than ethnic grievance and sacred totems (“we can say Merry Christmas again!”)

    It is completely true that white identity politics flares up whenever it is threatened; The KKK was founded after the defeat of the Confederacy, and rose up a second time in the 1920s after a period of immigration, and Trump followed the election of our first black president.

    But it is curious how the author looks to address this, by treating white people as fragile yet dangerous, like an emotionally disturbed adolescent holding a hand grenade. It puts the onus on nonwhite people to defuse the bomb while sparing the feelings of the hostage taker.

    Is it too much to ask, that white people behave with grace and dignity, to practice the virtues of tolerance and affection for their fellow citizens? Why can’t white people react to changing demographics with anything but fear and rage?

    • JimBag says

      The article makes it clear the identity politics as defined therein is a new phenomenon. In fact, the very grace and dignity that you refer to are typically considered characteristics of “whiteness” (obviously, since whites have permitted other non-white groups to gain power freely at their own expense) and thus inferior and in need of stamping out.

      • Identity politics is new, because it sounds better than “National Socialism for People of Color”. Frankly, isn’t Louis Farrakhan culturally appropriating Hitler? No–its gotta be new.

        Besides, the old Anti-Semitic “truth” that Jews had no original ideas and just stole from others has been refashioned to the idea that whites have no original ideas and just steal from others.

        Ergo, the Left could just be re-appropriating Nazism.

        After all, Nazi’s just believed they were entitled because of their “false” sense of historical grievance. Lefts are entitled because their “real” sense of historical grievance–if you don’t believe me, ask a Leftist.

    • X. Citoyen says

      Your identarian explanation doesn’t fit the facts. About half of all whites voted against Trump, and not all Trump voters were white. This cuts against your racial reaction theory. On top of this, the only countries allowing mass migration from non-white countries are majority white countries. Your theory requires some group of neutral people to bring all this about. But no such people exist; it’s white people bringing in the non-white masses.

      There’s a far simpler theory that accounts for all of this, one that fits with the shift in views about immigration. The “reaction” is cultural, not racial: Large and increasing numbers of people in the West are concerned about the level and the type of immigrants coming to our countries. They’re concerned that (1) the flow is outpacing the rate of assimilation, (2) that the choice of immigrant has more to do with ideological aspirations than our best interests, (3) that some immigrants have no intention of assimilating, and (4) that ideologues are spreading anti-assimilationist ideologies (e.g., identity politics) to further their interests at the expense of unity.

      Of course, my explanation requires taking people at their word and not imputing malign motives to everyone who does share your own.

      • Africans didn’t lead the global movement to stop slavery. Those who think about human rights over identity rights have created the prosperity that has lifted more boats than any tyrants regime ever has. White males gave up their power to allow women to vote, blacks to be free and vote, to have immigration from non-white places (as you said), passed civil rights laws, etc. Then those who were empowered by equal protection found leaders who instead suggested that equality was a myth, that life was worse now than in the past, and that reverting to division and groupthink is the solution.

    • @Chip

      “Its easy to overlook how white identity politics has been the water in which we American fish swim for centuries…”

      That you could make such an ignorant statement in all sincerity is proof that the radical left takeover of our educational institutions is complete and have therefore been proven an abject failure in their mission to actually seek and impart knowledge.

      You my sir, need to immediately contact the educational institutions you attended and instantly demand your money back. They did not educate you, they indoctrinated you with drivel that any 12 year old with an internet connection could refute on a half hour fact-finding mission.

  15. Great article. Thanks.

    It’s amazing how powerful feminism identity politics is. California is going to mandate every board of a publicly traded company have at least one woman! WHAT?!?! This makes me want to puke.

  16. Peuri says

    @Chip
    It’s not that white people are any sort of special kind of people, it’s just that politics that emphesizes difference instead of unity will be badly received. If you would do a similiar thing to any people on the planet, where a people conceptualised as an out-group increased in number, it would create a feeling of restlessness. Especially if it is combined with serious double standards and twisting of words to encompass non-standard usages, ie. concept creep. What you should then do is emphesize the unity, to foster a community. Play on the national or western values that unite the people with roots in a country going back centuries, and the newcomers who want to reap the benefits of said values. If the values themselves are under attack, as they are at least on the rhetorical level from the left as white, male, heteronormative etc., how can there be a community? People are religious by our nature, we live in our imagination. We need to create rituals and symbols that unite us into an imagined community, so that we can feel a community with out brothers, sisters and somewhere in betweens of all colours. It’s because white people are in no way special, that the leftist identitarian message is failing to be heard. You are expecting white people to be more than human.

  17. NickG says

    The day is fast approaching when mainstream white society will react to accusations of racism with yawns and shrugs.

    For this particular Brexit voting, white cis gendered English male, that day came and went a fair while back.

    Given the massive demographic assault that the UK has been subject to in the last 20 years, the increasing shrill and commonplace anti white sentiment and the mainstreaming of identity politics of which this article is one of the more measured examples – and well done for that – the mainstreaming of white identity politics to become an effective force cannot come soon enough.

  18. ‘Whiteness’ appeals directly to those who feel in some way weak or inferior. An inferiority which they refuse to accept. And therefore resent. And therefore resent every kind of superiority in others; denigrates it; wishes its annihilation. If you think I am wrong then let us all hate our white oppressors and come together to remove the evil tyranny.

  19. Innominata says

    Remi (if I may),

    Thank you for a thoughtful exploration and a constructive communication to readers. It’s the anti-frustration in these frustrating times.

    You made me think of a pattern that runs from the Hebrew Bible stories of “Babel” and “shibboleth” all the way to the present: those who leverage identity always work to confuse language, so that we find it hard to understand one another; or how similar people of common sense, good conscience, tolerance, and openness are across societies and the world. It’s become so pervasive we don’t even notice when we’re being cheated of clear thought and readily available agreement.

    This was brought home to me the other day. I talked with a man who was African by birth. He reminded me that he shared nothing with Americans of African ancestry except skin tone: no culture, no language, no worldview … nothing.

    I realized that the term ‘African American’ as we use it in the USA makes no sense and conjures up arbitraries that end in heated debates over manufactured issues while skipping legitimate empirical ones (such as class, income, education).

    In addition to “racist”, I would suggest that “white”, “black”, “latino”, “liberal”, “conservative”, and “feminist” are impossibly broad and arbitrary as well. They do not communicate anything between people who don’t already understand and agree with one another.

    I have taken to gently challenging anyone who uses these terms in conversation with me, not adversarial but more Socratic: “Will you tell me more about what that term means to you?” More often than not, the speaker ends up explaining to me and himself why it makes no sense to use “white” to encompass Sami Finns, eastern Slavs, and southern Italians; or “feminist” to describe both someone who believes heterosexual men are a vast historical/cultural conspiracy to oppress women and someone who just believes women deserve unconstrained civil rights and opportunities by virtue of their humanity.

    • Well, one think identity politics won’t accept is quotas for the identities they don’t like. Will they be pro-quota for white supremacists? For greedy capitalists? For sexists? For criminals? For conservatives? For libertarians? For liars? Some groups are preferred over other groups, the very bias they pretend they think awful is their central idea.

    • Thank you for your very thoughtful comments Innominata! Indeed, Africans brought up in Africa tend to have a very different cultural background and worldview orientation than African-Americans and asides perhaps a mutual love for similar kinds of music and a tendency towards religiosity don’t have that terribly much in common besides skin colour. Yet all get lumped together as simply ‘black.’

      Of course, this applies to ‘whites’ too, as someone from say, a Russian background, will generally have a very different worldview and cultural repertoire than say, someone from a Swedish or British background. Yet all lumped together as simply ‘whites.’ You are very right!

  20. But it is good for blacks and hispanics (+Pakistanis and Bengalis in Britain). Black and hispanic communities get greater investment than white ones. Quotas mean that blacks and hispanics have all sorts of jobs and acess to educational institutions that they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. Many of them make lots of money in positions as ‘diversity consultants’ or other similar posts that only exist due to their forms of identity politics.

  21. Identity politics, ironically, is based on the premise that people have no identity as individuals. Instead, every human being can be reduced to a small set of labels: black/white, gay/straight etc. And once you have been reduced in this way, you are indistinguishable from, and interchangeable with, anyone else with the same set of labels. What a betrayal of everything liberalism stands for!

  22. X. Citoyen says

    Good essay. The crucial question, it seems to me, is how to best respond to the beneficiaries of identity politics. They’re selling snake oil for the soul, and disrupting the snake-oil market is like disrupting the illegal drug market: the surest way is also the hardest way, rehabilitating the buyers. It seems to me you have to offer them something better.

    • @Citoyen

      They already have been offered something infinitely better: a liberal order where their dignity as individuals to direct their lives in liberty is respected. They have rejected the opportunity to live in a society that strictly observes the moral equality of all individuals as individuals. There’s not much more you can offer them if they don’t take liberty seriously. Of course liberty is something people in America take for granted on the daily. It’s like air; they won’t notice it’s gone until it’s too late, I suspect.

  23. Why don’t we eliminate all credentials and just assign people by quota per the various identities bigots can come up with?
    When laws are stricken and we just incarcerate by identity-based quotas because the assumption is that we’re all equally likely to obey the law or not, I’ll believe they have point.
    When government pays everyone $70,000 per year (the so-called optimal wealth numbers by related social “scientists”) and all income is taxed 100% and all jobs are filled by quota because that avoids any issue of privilege/bias, I’ll believe they have a point.

  24. Nova Scotia Steve says

    Remi- this is the second (maybe third?) article I’ve read of yours here. Man, you can think and you can write! Are you submitting much (anything?) to the mainstream media? I hope so. Considering that you are as yet young and a student, I hope that you will soon be a significant force with which to be reckoned.

  25. Darwin T of BC Humanists says

    It is amazing how the Golden Rule has to be learned again and again. Elementary to a good life it is cast aside in the heat of tribal stresses everytime.

    Thanks for this thoughtful piece and hopefully more to come.

  26. “We fight not against flesh and blood but against powers…” separates people groups from moral status. If our enemy is defined as bad ideas and actions instead of people, we create new possibilities for change. Because a person can be reasoned with. But if we assume peoples are predestined to be only evil then we discard reason to embrace fatalism and violence.

    When people are conflated with evil (using labels like “whiteness”, “jew”, “sunni”, “tutsi”, “arminian”, “1%er”) we enter into a highly toxic precedent. Every group has resentment narratives that may fact-check as true. But one genocide does not correct another. Treat others as we would be treated.

    Having “good motives” for making people into the embodiment of evil is a grave error. Germany and Japan were able to recover from the war so quickly because their people were understood as distinct from evil ideology. This was a policy level decision which went against great public animus. It was a form of grace. The legalism of ww1’s Versaille Treaty backfired so it is pragmatically correct as well as theologically.

    Even if whites were as a whole some sort of supernatural evil-it would be wise to show grace as MLK did. As sweeping accusations may become self fulfilling prophesies. In far right circles Trump is seen not as an ally but as someone not going far enough. What if someone harsher arose?

    Actual evil should always be challenged but it is important to separate it from people groups as you need all the allies you can get within. (Chomsky points this out as a key part of the collapse of Apartheid.) Cornell West opposes Coates on similar
    grounds. As West’s activists become too discouraged to resist when their enemy is a “supreme” supernatural force.

    Hanging on to hate is counter productive. General Gehlen advised
    Hitler to treat the Russian people as allies who could help fight Stalin. Many were willing, greeting German troops as liberators. Gehlen intercepted letters between Russian troops and their loved ones. His comment to Hitler about the heart felt notes; “these were not written by sub-humans.”

    But Hitler rejected the advice and held on to his bigotry that Russians were sub-human. So he lost the troops he could have had, lost momentum at Stalingrad and ultimately lost Berlin. Had he grace for the Jewish people and the Russians perhaps he could have ended the power that killed 10x more than he did. If we claim to oppose fascism we should not act according to it’s principles in order to fight it.

  27. Frederick Mackie Ahriman says

    Sadly, the identity politicians are right: systemic racism means that people of colour living in proximity to whites will always be victims of oppression, bigotry, and prejudice.

    We therefore need to end all non-white immigration to Europe and the US immediately. We cannot allow vulnerable refugees and immigrants of colour to be exposed to the horror of whiteness.

  28. Pingback: The Conservative Case Against “Identity Politics” - Edge Cases

  29. Jeff York says

    “The feminist actress Louise Brealey was on to something when she said: ‘I’d like every man who doesn’t call himself a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t believe in equality for women.'” What utter nonsense. The goals of first- & second-wave feminism were reasonable and made sense, getting the vote and equal-pay-for-equal-work. Third-wave feminism is about denying the very real differences between men & women and achieving “equity” as feminists define it. By equity they mean women occupying not less than 50% of the “good” jobs, e.g. executive positions, the professions, in academia and in government. No feminist talks about women being underrepresented in the trash collection industry or a job that involves working in a sewer.

    Third-wave feminism is doomed to failure. Men and women are different and want different things. Women quite naturally have a nesting-instinct and are more nurturing. A significant number of women want to be mothers & homemakers–always have, always will–and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, the continuance of the human race is dependent on it.

    Men are, on average, more hard-wired to want to invent, explore, “conquer” and otherwise take risks. Although men & women are, on average, of equal intelligence, men disproportionately occupy the extremes of “the bell curve.” This partially explains why men disproportionately occupy both the top & bottom rungs of society.

    I’m not saying to stop teaching women to be strong, independent, to value academic excellence, to think for themselves and to not be dependent on a man. But ladies, it’s just never going to happen that women are going to be 50% of CEOs, generals & admirals, college professors, physicists and engineers. Never going to happen so just quit stressing about it and making everyone miserable.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc9VV2NN8FA female developer’s view on Norwegian Gender Paradox, 5 minutes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVaTc15plVs The gender equality paradox, 39 minutes

  30. Pingback: Theological Education and Identity Politics: On Listening Carefully – Scripture & Mission

  31. Berenice Tomb says

    I’ve been thinking of this a lot these days especially after I watch Blackkklansmen. And the more you think about it, the more everything gets blurry in your mind and over complicated (exactly like it is in this movie’s director head aparently). I am super happy to have found your article because it puits everything back in place, it’s clear and you go step by step to demonstrate your points. I feel like you reorganized my own thoughts and I feel relieved. I just wanted to Thank you for this great piece. Also, in the future I would also love to read you on how to reconceile two identites inside one person but more on a cultural level. For example, how to deal with the fact of Being half asian half European or Being an italian immigrant in New York…. Thanks again, have a nice day.

    • Hi Berenice, thanks for reading and taking the time to leave these comments. Glad you enjoyed it. Reconciling dual identities on a cultural level (like in my case Nigerian and Polish) can be a very confusing but at the same time extremely enriching and eye-opening experience. In fact, I know it is because of my bi-racial background that I am able to view the world through more than one racial lens and see things from differing sometimes contradictory perspectives. Will definitely write about that too:)

  32. “I can easily imagine a white-anxiety-driven coalition electing a U.S. Congress and President who wouldn’t shy away from passing immigration laws making it significantly easier for white Europeans to settle in America than migrants from other parts of the world.”

    Um no we can’t even get sensible immigration laws passed now let alone something like that. Republicans could pass any immigration law tommorrow they wanted to by getting rid of the fillibuster but they won’t and I don’t see that changing any time soon. My personal opinion is that all immigration should be merit based. Theres that scary word again!

  33. Dustin says

    “To be fair, it is worth noting their study confirmed one argument that left-wing identitarians often make, namely, that groups with power prefer not to discuss their power. They found that “high-power groups” ranging from Ashkenazi Jews in Israel, Muslims in Turkey and whites in the U.S. “preferred to focus [inter-group] encounters on topics emphasising cross-group commonalities, and to de-emphasise topics that bring to light power differences between the groups.”

    In strong contrast, members of low-power groups preferred to discuss commonalities and power differences. In other words, blacks and other minorities want to discuss power differences in Western societies; whites would rather not, preferring to defuse tensions by emphasizing what we all have in common.”

    Hmmm. Isn’t this really all that most people on the left want? Just to be able to talk about race and power without people getting all butthurt? If they veer off into more extreme rhetoric, maybe that’s because they keep getting gaslighted?

    But I really don’t hear anybody shouting “kill whitey!” or gloating over the coming demographic inversion. Seems most people who want to talk about race want to talk about it because they’d _prefer_ just to be seen as an individual instead of a representative of a group (hence the objection to phrases like “you people” etc).

  34. Pingback: Virtuality Bites – Enlaces interesantes de la semana – antroposcopio

  35. Pingback: Virtuality Bytes – Intersting links of the week 8 September, 2018 – QUEROLUS.ORG – A DIGITAL LIFE EXPOSED

  36. When you mention “migrant” concerning the US, do you refer to legal or illegal? Big, huge difference. You might want to also consider that H1b visa holders are recruited by large corporations for mostly IT jobs because they are less expensive. There are about 8000 not including family in my medium sized city alone. In many cases an American had to train them before being downsized. Following this influx are immigration lawyers in every strip mall. I make these points because it’s not always race or ethnicity that is at the root of the problem.

    For the working poor citizen the influx of refugees and illegals created a housing crisis. All federal housing went to 10,000 refugees and illegals pile15 into a 2 bedroom apt. The results are soaring rents in bad neighborhoods, overcrowded hospital emergency rooms, public schools bursting at seams with students who don’t speak the language and out of control auto liability insurance costs due to illegal hit and runs. The working poor citizens of all colors are overburdened, accused of phobias and told to sacrifice more. If one is working poor here, there is very little reward or chance of help for upward Mobility. Even the unis are chasing illegals with promises of scholarships. But not to working poor citizen’s kids who have earned help.

    I don’t feel guilty for pointing this out. It untenable. People are going to eventually push back. There are many who don’t have reason to see this America or understand why it has become so demoralizing for the lower income folks who deal with it daily.

  37. Anone says

    This article demonstrates an appalling absence of self-awareness. A group cannot be called an “out-group” if it is capable of asserting vast and dystopian abuses of power as chronicled in the articles on Quillette. To put it more simply: you can’t disemply and systemically discriminate against the “in group”.The fact it can and is happening to that group makes them the out-group and the various leftist identity blocs “oppressors”

    Worse, the author’s “amenability” to ethnic zero sum power politics and presentation of entire ethnicities and sexes as a faceless enemy to be subverted is a stunning and frightening validation of the outlook of people such as Vox Day who assert resident minority groups are “foreign invaders”.

    This article’s presentation and tone is far from unique, but seeing it here among all places and seeing a complete lack of reflection or remorse at supporting a movement of zero-sum dispossession makes me thin Trump is not nearly hard-line enough.

    Articles like this need to be spread far and wide enough th precipitate an American version of La Lega, as this outlook is one of a hostile invader intent upon dispossession and merely quibbling about methods.

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