Opinions

The problem with identity politics

Changing how we talk to each other

The problem with identity politics photo by : Alexandra Sweny
written by Hannah Bing
January 29, 2018 9:38 pm

The definition of identity politics is a tendency for people of a specific religion, race, social background etc. to form exclusive political alliances; moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.

Although identity politics has been around for several years, it’s become more evident in the past few years. It started out as civil rights movements, feminism, and LGBTQ+ rights, however as it grew it’s become more extreme than anticipated.

Identity politics has turned into a movement that lets people discount and invalidate other groups struggles compared to their own.

The ‘you can’t have it bad because I have it worse’ mentality. It quickly evolved into extreme versions of mainstream movements. Like feminist groups who have taken their focus away from women’s rights and put it towards the ideal that men are evil.

It’s taken social movements to an extreme and dangerous level. It allows for people to be seen by their ‘label’ alone, and enables people to see others as Black, gay, white, Christian, etc. and not for their morals and the content of their thoughts and ideas.

In an article by LaSha for The Guardian, she expressed that because she is a woman people assume that she will vote for Clinton because they share the same gender.

This is a prime example as to why identity politics is an issue. Clinton’s qualifications or ideas do not factor into the decision, but the fact that LaSha and Clinton both identify as females – that is the deciding factor for why she should vote for her. It’s ridiculous to assume that anyone should decide on who to vote for to run the country based on their gender identity.

The most recent election for the president of the United States is a poster example of how identity politics is becoming one of the most common things seen in modern politics.

In an article for the New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall talked about how identity politics played a role in the 2016 election. He says that in recent years, several changes have taken place in modern society such as: the first Black president, women’s rights, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and the fact that the U.S. is approaching no longer being a white majority.

These are all positive changes, but for some, it left them feeling uncomfortable and threatened. So when Trump came along as an anti-immigration, and prideful white candidate, it made it easier to follow him.

Assistant Pressor of political science at Duke University, Ashley Jardina, conducted a poll and observed that this was leading to some people who identify as white, to feel threatened and unfairly disadvantaged because their group is no longer the majority.

She concluded that more people than ever see their white identity as something that should play an important role in politics in who they vote for. This leads people to believe that someone’s skin colour or racial identity should be a factor in our political decisions.

Ideals like this are precisely why identity politics is becoming a dangerous trend in the world of politics.

It gives extremist groups such as white nationalists a cause to target other groups and lets them use the excuse of feeling victimized. After all the work former President Obama put into equality, this is moving us backwards.

Identity politics has turned us into Black, white, gay, women, and Christian and eliminated our values and thoughts.

What we are has become more important than who we are.

Identity politics is a dangerous trend and it can only be expected to keep getting worse. It’s time for people to be aware of their privilege, and to judge people on who they are as a person and not what group they belong to.

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