I was reading the president's recent 1776 Commission and was struck by how the idea of identity politics is portrayed as the offspring of the Civil Rights Movement (actually called pejoractively? the "stepchild").This line specifically makes me ask this question:
Identity politics makes it less likely that racial reconciliation and healing can be attained
Today in the United States, the data tell us that wealth and health disparities fall along racial lines. People who identify as LGBT have a higher rate of suicide and suicide risk in our current society. Insert your favorite social injustice here.
My question is How does someone who rejects identity politics come to terms with the fact that, statistically speaking, the person society sees you as seems to determine how rich, healthy, happy (etc.) you are rather than the other way around?
I can't imagine the idea that laziness, poor work ethic, mental illness, et al are still widely believed to be the causes (please correct me if I'm wrong about this), but I also can't think of another reason for not connecting big events of history to our current situation: slavery -> Jim Crow south -> segregation -> continuing wealth disparity. Or anti-sodomy laws -> no gay marriage/rights -> social ostracism -> higher suicide rates.
I get that the solution to the problem might be different given your political leaning, and labelling parts of the progressive platform like affirmative action or special protections for LGBT people as identity politics suggests that conservatives would prefer identity-less politics. That much makes sense to me, but what I don't understand is how we make life better for all Americans without resorting to putting identity front and center in the eyes of the law.
Even though all men should be created equal, and be treated so in the eyes of the law, the truth is they aren't always. At what point do we reevaluate the needs of a minority group (who can rarely marshal enough votes) to continue to deliver on the promise of equality?