The Stupidity of Identity Politics

The current “fad” of attempting to explain everything in terms of “groups” is more than wrong, it’s destructive.

George and Catherine were a married couple, friends of my wife and I.  George was African American born and raised in California.  Catherine was born in Trinidad and became a naturalized U.S. citizen.  My wife and I at one point worked with Catherine, all of us at the same company.  That was how we came to know them.

George and I were talking one evening over a few drinks and he rather jokingly referred to his marriage to Catherine as a “mixed” marriage.  He went on to tell me that black people from the U.S. and black people from Trinidad don’t necessarily get along all that well in many cases.  Joking aside, his marriage to Catherine was both enduring and by all accounts wonderful.  I had no idea what he was talking about concerning folks from Trinidad not getting on with folks from the U.S., but then it isn’t likely that I would.

George and Catherine had a residence here in Washington state and another recently purchased in Trinidad.  They both recently retired and were in the process of setting up permanent residence back in Catherine’s home country of Trinidad.  When COVID hit, and the travel restrictions came down worldwide, George happened to be here in Washington, and Catherine was in Trinidad.  They haven’t been able to see each other for over a year.  Two days ago, George suddenly and unexpectedly died.  Catherine is still stuck in Trinidad.

I had to tell that incredibly sad and tragic story because George and Catherine have been so much on my mind the last few days.  But my intention with this article was quite different.  Maybe my telling their story was not appropriate considering where I go next, if so I expect my readers will tell me.

In my experience, the vast majority of people rail against being placed in a group (no, I don’t have objective data to support this, it is anecdotal).  Rightly so.  If I want to become a member of a group, let’s take for example the NRA, then I’ll sign up and pay my dues and become an NRA member.  But I have no obligation to recognize, or to agree with, or to accept someone (anyone) assigning me to any group.

The notion that a group, particularly a group based on race or skin color, is some sort of cohesive unit that acts and thinks in a particular way would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic and stunningly wrong.

In 1939, the worst war in the history of humanity erupted in Europe.  Those involved (Poland, France, Germany, England, Russia shortly thereafter) were all overwhelmingly white populations.  Did their skin color pre-determine that they should be all on the same page?  No.  Japan invaded China in the ‘30’s as well.  To this day there is palpable animosity between those countries, and are they not both Asian?

Does anyone expect that a white Democrat from Massechutses and a white Republican from Florida will see everything eye-to-eye?

The point I’m trying to make is that these groups, labels, pigeon holes, call them what you will, make no sense.  They never have and they never will.  Within any group anyone cares to synthesize, there is enormous diversity.  And make no mistake, these “groups” are synthesized, and they are synthesized for a reason.

In recent weeks I’ve been skulking about behind enemy lines.  Looking in on what the “progressives” are talking about – and looking at their supply of powder and shot.  They are disappointingly unimaginative, but did you know…….

As a conservative you:

Believe everything Donald Trump says (and believe everything his lawyers and supporters say).

Believe in conspiracy theories.

Believe the 2020 election was stolen.

Want to destroy democracy.

Are only interested in political power.

Don’t care for the folks that have to work for a living.

Are racist.

Disregard science.

Are a member of the “oppressor” group.

And – are completely disconnected from reality.

My word.  I had no idea.  I thought I was an independent, critically thinking individual that was trying to assess everything coming at me based on logic, facts, and objective evidence.  What a shock it was to learn this!

But of course, the “progressive” grouping here takes no account of black or Hispanic people that are conservative, makes no allowance for white people that are far below the poverty line, and most importantly, does not recognize the individual at all. In other words, it takes no account of diversity within the the “group” conservative – and the fact is, we are a very diverse group.

We, all of us, are not groups.  We are individuals.  Our skin color and our sex do not pre-determine our thoughts, opinions, or allegiance.  Our thoughts, opinions, and allegiance are determined by each of us individually and we are both right and righteous to reject (in the strongest terms) any attempt, by anyone, to label us.


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