- 18 Apr 2021 16:37
Identity politics is a sticky one. Will it be effective? If I had to guess, probably not. A lot of the thought leaders of these social movements place a lot of emphasis on power dynamics (from what I can tell). That is to say, everything is about power, and those with power must be taken down to the same level as everyone else. Historically white people, especially white males collectively have held power, so they are what is preventing progress in the eyes of these social movements. The issue is, these ideas and concepts take on a life of their own outside of the social science academic circles; outside of the thought leaders of these movements. That is to say, a bunch of uneducated and untrained "activist" groups start to come out of the woodwork and apply their own interpretations of how to deal with these issues. Often it's applied poorly and in a very antagonistic manner. This breeds resistance. Hence the rise of the alt-right. When you start painting all people of a group as privileged, or having been given everything in life, it breeds resentment. It's pretty simple. A simple example of this might help. I work with a bunch of white people, we could say they are privileged; sure. They grew up in nice stable homes, with families that were educated, etc. etc. However, these people weren't handed everything, they still had to study hard to get a good job, they still had to work for their promotions, they still had to take risks to start businesses, etc. Maybe it was easier, but it wasn't free. If we start brushing all of that away as simply privileged, I could see how it builds resentment in some of these people.
In other words, the concept all by itself isn't horrible, but the way it ends up getting applied in the collective zeitgeist is horrible.
I hope that makes sense.