So I was going to write a longer response to Mak’s post, which offers some food for thought about Tribalism and identity politics.
I arrived home from work, and decided to sit down and watch a few videos before I would type up some sort of reply.
Coincidence led me to a video that offered a better response than I could give here in writing.
Please watch it to the end when you’re done reading this.
But just before that I want to address one small point that Mak made to my statement. I said:
The reason why I’ve written so much about ideologies lately on this blog is because of identity politics and how dangerous I believe it to be. I think this is another direct result of that.
Mak’s response was:
And I disagree with his analysis. it is not identity politics that is the culprit, no, it is years of oppression based on perceived or real differences that finds expression in such acts of violence.
The person tortured in that video I was commenting on had nothing to do with that past oppression and neither do most of the people alive today. That is no excuse for mistreating people and it never will be.
(I’m not saying that Mak was saying it was by the way)
When people enslaved, segregated and tortured black people (for example) because of the color of their skin, they were doing so for power and they did so by using identity politics. It is the outcome of identity politics taken to its sickening conclusion.
Grouping people into categories and assigning attributes to them based on arbitrary traits is exactly how practices like slavery begin. Those people believed that all black people were inferior animals who deserved to be enslaved. They assigned attributes to them (brutish, less intelligent etc) based on the arbitrary trait of having a darker skin color than themselves.
It didn’t lead to humane treatment then and it doesn’t now. People are individuals and should be judged on what they do; on their personalities; by the merits of their actions. Not on things such as gender, skin color etc.
A ‘history of oppression’ doesn’t excuse wrongdoing. It doesn’t excuse violence, torture or racism in return.
As Martin Luther King once said:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.