Liberal Identity Politics Are Dehumanizing

Recently I saw an article in the Los Angeles Times that actually used the following phrase, “The coveted black women vote.”

Candidates like Kamala Harris or Liz Warren perpetuate toxic ID politics

Before I begin my tangent let me start by saying I am hesitant to even use the term “identity politics.” I feel that the term is used more often than not to silence the voices of women or people of color in leftist spaces when confronting the reality of what it means to be anti racist becomes uncomfortable. That said, I think that there is a staunch difference between liberal identity politics and leftist identity politics.

Leftists acknowledge intersectionality and use it to improve their analysis so that they may recruit and engage with more people in a more diverse way. Liberals use identity politics to tokenize, to excuse their own complacency in white supremacy, and most shallowly to get votes.

This is why I get infuriated when we talk about “the women vote” or “the black vote,” as if anyone who is not a white straight male in our society is of some bizarre kind of hive mind.

Pundits dehumanize LGBTQA+ people when they assume Buttigieg has their votes locked down simply because he is gay.

I hope everyone realizes that is what pundits and politicians are saying when they sayings like “the coveted black women vote.”

They are saying that oppressed groups of voters, such as black people, women, black women are nothing more than who they vote for president and what is worse is the dehumanizing idea that they will all vote for the same person for the same reasons.

When it comes down to discussing the “woman vote” or the “black vote” in the eyes of liberal and conservative pundits you are no longer a collection of individuals, each with your own stories and culture and background and reasoning. No, to them you are simply a part of a demographic, a thing to be used as fodder for politicians and talking heads alike.

They are fucking insulting you and reducing you to an infantile point. We should not stand for this.


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Dreamers Are Worth More Than Dollars

A consistent defense that capitalist liberals and conservatives like to go to when defending DACA and Dreamer’s is how much surplus value Dreamers generate.  Of course, they don’t actually use the words “surplus value.”  What happens is nearsighted liberal mouth pieces like Joy Ann Reid go on twitter tangents about how much money Dreamers pump into the economy, or about how many start their own businesses, or how many of them have ‘served their country’ by helping us to invade others.

The point is, too many people are using the revenue generated by immigrants and their labor as justification for keeping them in their country.  Or they perptuate this onesided self-serving dialoque of how immigrants already make America great without acknowledging the reality of our treatment of immigrants up to this very day.  In fact these people will talk about DACA and Dreamers as if they are all Mexican or Spanisgh speaking immigrants.  This is an act of racism because not all Dreamers are from Spanish speaking countries and this adds to the already staggering list of ways we ignore our Asian and Pacific born Immigrants.  Accessibilty to information for those who speak Spanish is more attainable than for those who speak Cantonese or Mandarin and even then the resources are not explicitly made available.  

In any case, the dialoque that people take when defending immigrants based on the work they do is classist, and classism is a form of racism for it is the the politics of the class struggle that intersects all other struggles.  Patriarchy, racism, xenophobia all have their roots in the capitalist system.  To ignore class is to ignore the disporpotional fact that most of the poor are people of color and immigrants, especially when one considers how undocumented immigrants cannot collect welfare benefits.  This is only perpetuated when we say crap like “Immigrants Make America Great” or “Immigrants pay such and such in taxes” or “Immigrants make up blah blah blah percent of this industry.”  The biggest issue with this capitalist notion that an immigrant is only as good as the surplus revenue they generate is that it reinforces the racist idea of Nationalism, one which liberals claim to be against but their fetishization of Immigrants making America great with their labor and capital only reinforces the idea of Nationalism.  Borders mean nothing except to the powers that be that draw them.  Immigration should be as simple as moving to a new apartment down the street, a matter of choice in a time of peace rather than a forced choice in a time of displacing crisis.  The only reason it isn’t is because crisises are easier to capitalize on than anything else.

So my point is that you are not any less nationalist, and therefore not less racist, than the people screaming for DACA to be repealed and Dreamers to be deported if you only measure the worth of immigrants by the amount of money they generate or labor they provide.  Because borders are artificial constructs in of themselves, deportation should not even be a punishment, or even exist as a concept.  The very act of deporting anyone is an act of racist Nationalism, are we so unsure of ourselves that we can’t handle a few criminals?  And even then, why not work on creating a society without criminals instead of just shoving people we label as such into other countries?  Can this other country handle crime better than us? Is so how can America be so great if we are so quick to kick out people we don’t value?  More to the point, why is there any kind of person we don’t value?

The intentions of the people defending DACA based on their generation of surplus value are good, but good intentions under capitalism is still capitalism.  Joy Ann Reid and her contemproaries should be ashamed of themselves for reducing the suffering of these families to that of dollars and cents.  The ones who refer to the Dreamers who are veterans also have good inentions but ignore how most people enlist out of a lack of options, however my tangent about the realities of class and soldiers is for another day.

In summary, no one deserves to be deported.  No one who makes a point of crossing a border should be kicked out just for crossing a border because we as a planet should not even have borders in the first place.  A person is not just their job or the money they generate, and liberals who want to do right for immigrants should realize that.  Stop making yourselves feel better by perpetuating the racist dialoque of the “Model Immigrant.”  Stop emphasizing peoples worth by the money they generate.  No human is illegal, and no human deserves to face the dehumanizing process of being kicked out of a country, period.

Dear Fellow Progressives, Remember It’s Not About You

The chains of hatred are always present where there is disenfranchisement.  Whether it is perceived or real, there are always seeds of bigotry in places where the people have a long history of subjectification for the use of those in power.  

Despite being oppressed by the same forces, the people in these groups play into the game of oppression by division.  There is homophobia in the inter cities of Los Angeles’s to a point it can only be described as an epidemic.  In the gay community there is frequent misogyny.  The same white men who are used to keep the status quo blame their fellow victims for perceived advantages in their existence within other oppressed groups, when instead they should be blaming the very people manipulating them into doing their bidding.  There are women who blame all men instead of the few who are fucking things up for everyone, and within all of these groups there are negative attitudes towards women and transpeople even within groups of women themselves.

We always like to believe these people are the minorities misrepresenting the majority of the people within their group, who even if they demonstrate ignorance will usually demonstrate tolerance.

I have always considered myself “intolerant of intolerance,” and as such I brought on a sense of self confidence thanks to the fact I would not let racist, sexist, or homophobic actions be tolerated in my presence.  In other words, I felt like I confirmed myself as a good person because of my reactions to external stimuli.

This was a mistake.  Instead of looking within myself, instead of finding the roots and causes of my own sexism, racism, or generally intolerant ideas.  While I have always considered myself a progressive, as you can see from the general tone of this essay, I had confirmed this identity through confirmation of my reaction and the reactions of others of intolerant acts.  Again, this is a mistake.  We cannot make any real progress so long as we don’t channel and navigate the hate and negativity within ourselves.  The reason I sought confirmation from the external in these situations was because I failed to do exactly as I mention above, I had not navigated and answered the questions of my own negative thoughts.

I have had racist, sexist, and even homophobic thoughts in my past.  But I felt as long as I had people around me, seeing me resist intolerance with intolerance, congratulating me on being so adamant, I felt confirmed that I was in-fact the opposite of the person I had just humiliated and established as a good human being.

The error in this is not only seeking my confirmation of my self from the external instead from the internal, but it also prevents any true progress from being made to unite all oppressed peoples against this seemingly invisible enemy that tricks us into division.  It is simple to see that keeping the people divided amongst themselves allows the rich and powerful to go to the bank with minimal interference.  But the falsehood of establishing confirmed identities always prevents any true progress.  

It is all well and good to be vocal about feminism, gay rights, or the new Jim Crow and anti immigration use of our prison system.  It is important to be vocal about inequality, but when you do it for the sake of establishing yourself with the identity of someone who stands against inequality, you are robbing us all of true progress.  To remove the hypocrisy of this we must remove the idea of the self from the equation of inequality.  When you attempt to act against inequality for the sake of the valor you are benefiting from the inequality as the oppressors are.  

Do not do things for the sake of establishing an identity as a rebel or as a tolerant being, just be a tolerant being.  It’s okay to be vocal and stand up to acts of hatred but don’t do so for selfish means, and only do it when it will actually accomplish quenching the hatred.  We cannot begot the hate with our own hatred of hatred itself.  My hatred of hatred did nothing to stop hatred itself but only inflated my own ego of being someone who stands against hatred.  I shouldn’t add the needs of my own identity to a place where the issue is not fixing my identity as a white straight male but the fact that my fellow beings are suffering, being robbed of something that is a privilege to me but instead should be no one’s privilege but the right of every single human being.  I am writing this with the hope that I will hold myself accountable by not holding myself to anything at all.  I will not do things to establish my identity as a white man who stands against hatred.  I will simply stand against hatred and will always welcome a dialogue and perspective from those most effected by these issues with the hopes I can come to an understanding with myself and my own hurtful and hateful thoughts and actions.

This must be the goal of everyone who has this privilege, do not buy into our masters game and use the privilege you do have blame those who have no privilege for the few things your privilege lacks.  Dialogue and an absence of hatred and attempts to abandon prejudice coming into these dialogues is the start, but where we cannot abandon our prejudices we must at least acknowledge them and ask ourselves how do we transcend these conditionings.  That is the beginning, that is where we finally stop seeking confirmation from the external and find our answers internally.  It is only here, when we navigate the negativity from within us can we find answers to the negativity outside of us that effect all of us as a whole, and not just individually.

That is the ultimate goal, that is the ultimate message of these words.  While epidemics of hatred are more inclusive than the acts of hatred themselves plague our society, blinding us to the intersectionality of all our oppression, we cannot forget we perpetuate this oppression when we use the oppression to create our own identity.  We are literally doing exactly that, exactly what the enemy does, we are USING OPPRESSION for our own means.  Do the right thing because it’s the right thing, if you know and are comfortable with who you are you don’t need the confirmation of self that comes from acting progressively.  Just be, channel the negativity within ourselves, answer your own questions before stomping out answers for others, and then and only then can we as a planet of beings make any kind of progress as a whole.