When people speak out against “identity politics,” as many, typically straight cisgender affluent white men seem to want to do lately, there’s a subtext and a whole lot of missed perspective.
First, the subtext.
When these guys speak out against identity politics, what they’re typically attacking are those fighting for their rights and/or lives against social structures and institutions.
They’re rarely speaking out against the politicians who think we should require funerals for miscarriages or the ones who thinks we have such a problem of voter fraud that laws stopping primarily poor communities of color from voting are a good idea.
No, of course not.
They’re speaking out against Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQ+ community, women fighting for reproductive rights and a fair wage, and other groups whose identity is directly threatened by the current political climate.
The problem is that these people tend to see governance as some abstract, intellectual pursuit, that’s only to be handled as a rational, unbiased structure by the educated and “well bred.”
Now, the perspective problem.
ALL POLITICS IS IDENTITY POLITICS!
Until such a day as race, gender, sexuality, etc, has no play in how people are treated, or how our society is structured, all politics will always be identity politics.
Here’s the crux of the perspective problem, though.
They’re saying that identity politics are bad and have no place in the world. BUT…what they’re really saying is that only other people’s identity politics have no place in the world. Theirs are OK.
When they make these claims, they never say their own hatred of Muslims and love of anti-immigration policies are wrong. They never say THEY are wrong for forming their politics around their own identity and experiences.
It’s always the “others.”
Bear this is mind while the nearly obsolete of our society rant against the people who are catalysts of change. Bear this in mind and let them rant while the rest of us change the world.
We’ve all heard it. We all know someone who regularly shouts about it. We all know it’s happening. Why are we so quiet about it?
What I’m referring to is this demonizing of people on food stamps, or SNAP, because they don’t look impoverished enough to justify getting aid from the stance of our privileged worldview.
This is something that really pisses me off.
Let me break it down for you. Only 10% of those who qualify for SNAP are unemployed. The majority are the working poor trying to feed their families. SNAP takes an extremely small amount of our tax dollars to maintain, so I have no idea why it’s such a talking point for pundits to focus on, as if it’s bankrupting the nation. The thing bankrupting the nation would be CORPORATE WELFARE, not food stamps.
Many of the people on SNAP still need to dress well and have a cell phone for their jobs. Just because someone requires aid doesn’t mean they should immediately trade in their belongings for things that look appropriate impoverished just to make you feel better. Get over yourself. It’s a position of arrogance from privilege that leads to this viewpoint of the “moochers on welfare.” Fuck you.
These people are our friends, our neighbors, our families. These are people who haven’t been as lucky as you. Yes, lucky. In this economy, where there are 3 jobs for every 1 job seeker, and most of those jobs pay low enough so that you STILL qualify for SNAP to make ends meet, the fact that you don’t need it is luck. You were fortunate to land the right jobs, or be born with a bit of money, or be a young white male in America, so that you don’t necessarily have to know what it feels like to be hungry, and watch your children be hungry, through no fault of your own. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. You shouldn’t either.
Stop shaming the poor. Stop assuming that they should look more poor so that you feel better about the tiny fraction of your tax dollars that goes to them. Start at least acting like a moral human being and realizing that the world isn’t as simple as that.
Think before you speak.