Democrat 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris was interviewed on Sunday by Joy Reid. She claimed that the term “identity politics” is comparable to racism as she thinks that it is a term used to shut people up.
“This term identity politics, people will use that term— it’s like people used to talk about the race card. They bring this term up when you talk about issues that are about race, about sexual orientation, religion. They bring it up when we are talking about civil rights issues as a way to marginalize the issue, as a way frankly to try to silence you or shut you up.”
“We need to call it what it is, which is to try and divert away from a conversation that needs to happen in America. Why? One, because we must speak truth. racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism are all real in this country. We need to have that conversation and address that. Two, and this is equally important, how America deals with the issues and the disparities and also the hate that causes these issues to become lethal in proportion. How America deals with these issues is a matter of American identity. This is not about identity politics. If it is, it’s about the identity of the United States of America. How we handle the issues will be about our collective identity.”
“For the Left, identity politics has long been a means to “confront rather than obscure the uglier aspects of American history and society”.
But in recent years, whether because of growing strength or growing frustration with the lack of progress, the Left has upped the ante. A shift in tone, rhetoric, and logic has moved identity politics away from inclusion – which had always been the Left’s watchword – toward exclusion and division. As a result, many on the left have turned against universalist rhetoric (for example, All Lives Matter), viewing it as an attempt to erase the specificity of the experience and oppression of historically marginalized minorities.
The new exclusivity is partly epistemological, claiming that out-group members cannot share in the knowledge possessed by in-group members (“You can’t understand X because you are white”; “You can’t understand Y because you’re not a woman”; “You can’t speak about Z because you’re not queer”). The idea of “cultural appropriation” insists, among other things, “These are our group’s symbols, traditions, patrimony, and out-group members have no right to them.
For much of the Left today, anyone who speaks in favor of group blindness is on the other side, indifferent to or even guilty of oppression. For some, especially on college campuses, anyone who doesn’t swallow the anti-oppression orthodoxy hook, line, and sinker – anyone who doesn’t acknowledge “white supremacy” in America – is a racist.”
So, of course, Kamala Harris would claim that the term identity politics is offensive. She is part of the Left that is all about division. In this polarized climate, we don’t need more division. We need a president who is looking to bring us together and make America great again.