Thursday, July 23, 2015

The best part of the Obama years has been the racial healing...

...now and as far as the eyes can see.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)16%
 and Martin O’Malley came face to face with the tragic state of American progressivism last week, when an 11,000-strong rally of progressive activists was disrupted by #BlackLivesMatter protesters.
Activists marched into the room chanting protest songs before taking the stage in front of a bemused O’Malley to demand concrete commitments on police violence.
Never mind that O’Malley and Sanders are, among presidential candidates, by far the most sympathetic to the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement: because they’re white, they cannot be trusted, and deserve to have whatever they’re talking about shoved off the agenda by thugs with placards.
It may sound racist and bizarre to be suspicious of candidates like Sanders and O’Malley on the basis of their ethnicity alone, but when you consider the primacy of identity politics in the progressive movement today, it really isn’t that surprising.
Since the 1970s, social psychologists have been aware that emphasising differences between groups leads to mistrust and hostility. In a series of landmark experiments, the psychologist Henri Tajfel found that even wearing different-coloured shirts was enough for groups to begin displaying signs of mistrust.
So guess what happens when you tell everyone that their worth, their ability, their right to speak on certain subjects and – shudder – their “privilege” is based on what they were born with, rather than any choices they’ve made or who they are?
It’s possible that feminists mistrust the likes of O’Malley and Sanders because they’re male. Or gay progressives mistrust them because they’re straight. Or trans activists mistrust them because they’re cis.
This is what the future of progressivism looks like: blacks fighting gays fighting lesbians fighting trans fighting everyone else. It’s the iron law of victimhood-driven identity politics. Someone has to win, and everyone else has to lose.
Identity politics is universally attractive because it enables failures and weaknesses to be spun as the products of oppression and historical injustice. But for legacy castes, it can be humiliating and deeply unfair. Take MTV’s White People, for instance: an hour of television designed to produce discomfort in those with the wrong skin colour.


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