Identity politics

I hate identity politics, but we should probably only elect women or at least gay men if all the straight men that fill the role can’t seem to keep their dirty paws to themselves. It would at least give the female staff a brief respite for a term.

I worry that it takes a certain kind of person to win and be effective in these positions. A macho egotism that sees no limits to what they can do. And the appearance of confidence that only narcissism can truly bring. It is a curious comment on what qualities your every New Yorker finds inspiring in an election season.


Power certainly favors a type. Occasionally we get the virtuous who walk a winding path to power, but usually it is the ambitious, calculating and shrewd. Those attributes don’t usually sit at the same table as empathy, patience and deference.

One of the reasons I immediately fell in love with New York, after a youth spent in the Midwest, was the skeptical and mercilessly unadorned way New Yorkers speak. In the Heartland, I never knew where I stood with people because their language was always as opaque as the Missouri River. In NY, I don’t have to wonder for a second. Unfortunately, this quality overlaps with a certain self-idolization and self-assuredness that comes across to many as capability and experience (and strikes most non-New Yorkers as just plain rude). There’s also a healthy dose of tough-guy bravado that is exacerbated by the nurturing of many cultural figures who were, in reality, just fucking assholes. I’m glad I don’t live in the land of Josh Hawley anymore, but I’m sure fucking sick of all of the Cuomos and Spitzers.


I’ve only visited, but it really jumps out at you. “Aggressive friendliness”, as in “Shut up, I am being youh friend heah!”

And yep, it can also let people tolerate certain assholes a bit too much.


this is one of those phrases that i always assume is reactionary double speak, and honestly - i usually stop listening there.

not to derail this thread too much - but what does this phrase mean to you, and is it something you believe exists in the real world? ( apart from white nationalism which fits the words and yet i suspect is not what it refers to )


Cuomo didn’t need ambition or smarts to inherit his father’s job


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[In homage] So, Philly, then?

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Somewhere in the middle, but west…



can you point to some specific politician who falls into this category?

you said president as a one off example. the only president we’ve had who wasn’t a white man was obama. and the only claims about whether he was “black enough” ( or heck, american enough. or heck, christian enough ) came from the right.

i would say this part directly speaks to biden’s presidency. the reason so many people came behind him was ( as i see it ) precisely the idea that he appealed to conservative white men more than the jewish candidates, or the female candidates, or the candidates of color. ( eta: and it’s largely imaginary as you say bc they overwhelming voted for trump anyway )

it’s popular on the right to say something like “affirmative action” promotes unqualified people ( because unless im misunderstanding, it sounds like you’re saying identity politics is the affirmative action of politics? ) when, generally speaking in fact, people of color, women, and other minority groups have to work twice as hard to prove themselves as their white male peers, and often still receive less pay for their greater contributions

sorry, im straying off trying to actually listen and giving you my own opinions.

i guess im just trying to understand: are there actual concrete examples of identity politics as you’ve described it?


“Identity politics” is generally a term used to decry any effort at attacking discrimination. It is ironic because it is most apt for those who employ it the most, White Supremacists. People who will only vote for christian white cisgendered allegedly straight people.

This is a non-issue. People won’t vote for those who attack their own group and many wont vote for those who attack others.


That’s what I hear any time someone (usually a White person of privilege) brings it up; regardless to whatever they think they’re communicating, what I hear is:

“The problems that affect you are not nearly as important as the problems that affect me personally, and therefore my problems automatically take priority over everything else.”

The idea that race, gender, sexual preference, religion, etc, are factors that should be deemed ‘irrelevant’ when 90% of all power is held by rich, straight White men who claim to be Christian is a disingenuous one.


If you’re looking for a more intellectual/philosophical definition of “identity politics” (as opposed to a more politically-oriented one), I recommend a couple of videos by Abigail Thorn on her Philosophy Tube channel. These essays helped me get a better understanding of the concept.

I’ve got the first video cued (hopefully) to the part that specifically discusses identity politics (it ends at approximately 23:00), though the whole thing’s worth a watch:

I couldn’t find a decent place to cut in to the second video, but it’s shorter and gets to the relevant part pretty quickly. I think the friend/enemy distinction is a good thing to keep in mind when considering how different ideologies use “identity politics” as terminology.


are parties curated? in theory, anyone can put themselves forward for nomination in a party they belong to. ( ex. trump was never thought to be a winner. obama also came from left-field. )

going back to your original statement:

It’s this idea that a party would rather pander to their base than establish concrete goals that might actually help a community.

i don’t actually disagree with part of this. taking obama as an example, obama didn’t directly help minority communities as much as people hoped. so you can’t just elect a person of color, and expect all problems of race are fixed. policy matters.

that said, electing him wasn’t pandering. he won because he was a wildly above average candidate who was able to mobilize an amazing campaign.

and yet his candidacy and his presidency was constantly dragged down by white people’s racism despite his extremely moderate policies.

in that view, it wasn’t his identity that mattered, it was white people’s… just like always. ( and just like always: poc usually have to be much better than their peers to obtain similar positions. )

if identity politics is something you hate, what examples of it do you have that would cause such ire?

yeah. to me, it seems a like dog whistle that we should only vote for cis straight white men because lived experience doesn’t matter. so just let them run everything still please.


The assumption that someone from a minority group (the “identity” part of the term) is selected to appeal to that group carries with it the underlying implication that they are not as qualified for the job as someone not from that group. As has been pointed out by others, that’s fundamentally flawed. Said person from a minority group had to be more qualified than the equivalent from whatever background is the default just to be considered for the job.


Case in point; A Black ‘C student’ could never have become POTUS.

Yet the US President who preceded Barack Obama (an ‘A student’) and the one who followed after him were both career 'C students," at best.


And both of those white C students were wealthy failsons, who had all the advantages even over other white male contemporaries, yet did not come close to distinguishing themselves academically or in achievement other than to rise to the top of a political party comprised primarily of their peer group of white, wealthy failsons.

So, from that perspective, they are the real beneficiaries of “identity politics.”


I think the best example to cover this is feeling is Michelle Caruso-Cabrera challenging AOC in 2020.
She was an mirror for all (most) of AOC identify in an attempt to neutralize the perceived advantage that AOC had with her identity to attract votes.

One of the problems with those definitions of identity politics is the same we have with several other culture phenomenons, that whiteness is the assumed as default and it is invisible.
A minority candidate who propose something directly impacted by their experiences as a minority are always labelled as a identity candidate, while a white male candidate can use his traditional family without anyone pointing that it is irrelevant and what should matter are his proposals (some even use his family as a proof of character and as an advantage for him).

  1. people can and will say anything. even if it’s not right, nor not even technically correct.
  2. people do point out when a candidate is full of shit. when the lies and hypocrisy are piled up higher than you believed was possible. but there is some big portion of their voting base that won’t believe you or won’t care. it’s always been about winning, and now a cult-like devotion to an self-contradictory dogma probably means terminology will get misused and abused.

I’m willing to discuss what I meant in my original post. I’m not willing to discuss a moving goal post.

But why? Apparently it never was a problem when it only benefitted white heterosexual cis males. Patriarchy is identity politics…

Identity politics are a warning that in a society certain groups are feeling marginalized, left out, or flat out discriminated. When they organize and demand improvement for their group, opponents then call that identity politics.

The solution goes all the way back to good old nation building: Create a shared identity where every subgroup can feel included and welcome. Negative nation building works by creating an outgroup so in the end it will work against you, positive nation building based on shared values and interests is the way to go.


That’s a curious definition. Sadly I’m pretty sure the voting bloc people like Trump and Greene have been pushed forward to appeal toward is real, though. Does that mean they’re examples of identity politics by your standards, or not?