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Identity Politics


A former student actually paid attention to one of my 10 minute diversion/rants on the use of the term “identity politics.” I know because she kindly sent me a link to this excellent blog post on the subject. I know that blog posts over a year old are never read and linked to (unless we’re proving something about the inconsistencies or pathologies of the blogger in question). Still, I’m suggesting y’all read it anyway, as it says what needs to be said, and gives us some supporting data (a lexus-nexus inspired trip through the term’s entry into popular discourse). Turns out “identity politics” is an excellent case-study in the superiority of the language management of the right over the left. The following observation, in particular, is spot-on:

The most fascinating objections, however, come from those on the Left — those opposed on philosophical grounds to the original concept, undoubtedly unaware of the future code word that the term would become, and the way the Right would use it to attack minorities. Edward Said, Cornel West, and Michael Lerner condemned the excesses of identity politics and counseled for an inclusive view. Naturally, such legitimate criticism would be ignored in the rush to find a club to use against minorities who dared question the establishment

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