Multiculturalism is often an excuse for identity politics: the (politically useful) notion that every member of an ethnic or religious group “should” support policies A,B & C and vote for candidates X, Y and Z based solely on their membership in an identity that is a useful tool for political exploitation.
Multiculturalism is not about identity politics–it’s about being recognized as an individual with your own character, experience, values and views. Yes, we draw upon our genetic heritage, our experience of race, gender and faith, and a thousand other confluences of life in America and the world beyond.
But no individual can be reduced down to race, gender and faith–which is the entire purpose of identity politics.Identity politics is a specific form of propaganda that exploits our sense of membership in various groups into support for specific policies and politicos.
The implicit threat of identity politics is that if you fail to support the (propagandized) policy / politico, then you’ve betrayed your group and identity.
This force-feeding of political choices as “proof of identity” is a powerful tool of propaganda. If you’re a true American, for example, you’ll support the latest war of choice. Refusing to support the “official” position transforms you into an enemy that must be mocked, ridiculed, harassed and marginalized with slurs and put-downs.
Dissent and thinking for oneself means you’re un-American, unpatriotic, or other identity-based slams: an Oreo, Banana or Coconut (black / yellow / brown on the outside, white on the inside), not a “real” Christian (i.e. you don’t accept my political interpretation of faith), a “real” Muslim, a “real” environmentalist, etc. etc.
Identity politics are powerful tools for demagoguery and bias, and the way to eliminate these threats is to eliminate identity politics altogether. The way to eliminate demagoguery and bias is to think for yourself and reject all propaganda aimed at boxing you into an identity-based position.
The next president of the U.S. will be the elected leader of 323,341,000 individuals, not a bunch of identity-based (and politically potent) stereotypical mythologies. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any mythological immigrants, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Chinese-Americans, etc.–I only know individuals.
The Dark Side of Politics–identity politics–is powerful indeed, and an irresistible draw for politicos and interest groups bent on preserving or extending their own private power and wealth.
Don’t give in to the Dark Side–think for yourself and make political, social and economic decisions as an individual. The only way we’ll rid the American polity of its cancer–the privileged few benefit at the expense of the many–is to vote against everyone singing the siren song of identity politics for their own benefit.
Imagine being told by some politico that if you’re truly a fan of the Golden State Warriors, you must vote for him to “prove your loyalty” as a Warriors fan. This is absurd, but it’s identity politics in a nutshell.
My new book is #3 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book’s website.