Months ago I read an essay
adapted from Jonathan Haidt’s Wriston Lecture
that he did on November 15th 2017.
Jonathan Haidt talked about the Identity Politics of race, gender and transgender as politics that are factional and sectarian. Another word to use would be “Tribal“.
During the 20th century, Black Americans did their Civil Rights movement because of their identity of being Black in America. Their life experiences with race had focused them to do activism to fix segregation, and to finally get over the legacy of slavery in the United States.
Gender was also another concern during the 20th century.
During the last century, White and Black women did Feminism as their gender politics to gain entry into paid employment that was more various than washerwoman, governess, teacher, seamstress, cook, nanny, and prostitute. Then during the late 1980s (specifically in 1989), something called Intersectionality was thought up by Kimberlé Crenshaw as her own answer to explain the experience of a Black woman in comparison with a White woman.
Intersectionality would be this: The Black woman would experience the lingering effects of the legacy of slavery & segregation. These effects would be the outright spoken discrimination and the discrimination done as action. Meanwhile the White woman wouldn’t experience race as a marginalizing experience.
Intersectionality defined the criteria of race and gender as a minutiae that intersected and made the whole identity of the Black woman and White woman. Intersectionality was racial identity, and the experience of that identity was oppression and privilege. Oppression would be a lack of power, and Privilege would be power.
Also during the 1980s (specifically 1988), Peggy McIntosh thought up Male Privilege and White Privilege. Peggy wrote about Privilege in her essay called “WHITE PRIVILEGE AND MALE PRIVILEGE” while Kimberlé Crenshaw was demonstrating Intersectionality in her own essay that she called, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex“.
The full title of Peggy’s essay was: “WHITE PRIVILEGE AND MALE PRIVILEGE: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies“. In 1989, Peggy wrote “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack“.
The full title of Kimberlé Crenshaw’s essay was “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics“.
Defining Privilege and Intersectionality were supposed to make the Black woman equal with the White woman. However many other people came forward to claim Intersectionality and they used that philosophy, school of thought & point of view as their own tool to appropriate power for their group.
I use the would “appropriate” because Intersectionality was originally intended, by Kimberlé Crenshaw’s own opinion
, to gain equality for Black women. It was a tool solely thought up for Black women to explain their own racial and gender identity that they were experiencing. That experience was discrimination, or racism, because of the lingering effects of slavery, segregation and then post-segregation in the United States. However other groups of people, like the Gay Rights activists and now the Transgender activists, have appropriated the idea of Intersectionality for their own purpose and goals.
And yet again, Kimberlé Crenshaw doesn’t really care that various groups of people have taken up the idea of Intersectionality for their own goals. But Kimberlé still continues to intend Intersectionality as a worldview, which is a lens, for Black women to see their identity and to help them to organize and advocate for their equality in the United States.
Now I’ll get back to Jonathan Haidt:
Jonathan Haidt had mentioned two terms, in his The Age of Outrage
, which stood out to me. These were centrifugal
Centrifugal is something that spins and comes apart or other things fly away from it. Centripetal is something that spins and things come to it and these things stay together.
So centrifugal causes division, distance and alienation. Meanwhile centripetal causes things to come together and those things stay together.
Jonathan Haidt used Centrifugal to label and name what he saw as people causing division and then alienation among each other. A group of activists with an identity they’re championing will cause another group of people with a differing and competing identity to experience alienation.
The Identity Politics of the 21st century in both Canada, the U.S. and other Western countries is centrifugal competition in action. Or call Centrifugal as Sectarian, Clannish, or Tribal.
In all, my contention & exasperation with Identity Politics is that these politics are centrifugal, sectarian politics, which cause division and alienation.
The clearest example of alienation I could name would be what the Transgender activists are doing to Black Women, White Women, and to Transsexual Women like Miranda Yardley & Jen Smith. The Transactivists specifically are vile and censorious to women who attempt to say “Woman don’t have penises” and that women’s rights were FIRST enacted because: 1) Women were regulated by patriarchy because of their biology, 2) because of their fertility, uterus and vagina, and 3) because of their anatomy of sexual characteristics like their mammary gland breasts.
You must publicly say in a tweet, or as your speech, that “Women Don’t Have Penises” to rebuff “Trans Women are Women” to see the Transactivists rally as a mob.
Watch the Transactivists email and phone your employment (because they will look up where you work) and watch them demand to have you fired. Watch them organize and watch them do public shaming to see that they’re NOT a marginalized and powerless group of people. They are powerful. Politicians listen and defer to Transgender lobbying all the time.
Radical feminists like Venice Allan are very clear examples of biological women being mobbed, deplatformed and slurred as Transphobic, Bigots and TERFs to shut them up and shut them out.
So, I’ll wrap this up with this final statement:
Centrifugal politics are Sectarian Politics, and are specifically Identity Politics. These politics are done in the Middle East everyday, and should I think that competitive tribal politics in North America is a good thing? The answer is “No”.