Re: Tribalism or Identity Politics

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.

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7 Comments

  1. 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.

    No. You are wrong. This is not identity politics. You are vilifying a creation of your own mind and assigning it to others in order to vilify them.

  2. I am not saying a history of oppression is an excuse. I am saying that it gets expressed in such forms and unless those injustices, where possible, are addressed, the problem will continue.
    And blaming identity politics as the culprit is, as tildeb observed, the criminal making the complaint.

    • “I am not saying a history of oppression is an excuse.”

      Cool.

      ” I am saying that it gets expressed in such forms”

      Wrongfully so.

      “and unless those injustices, where possible, are addressed, the problem will continue.”

      Yes and creating more injustices to combat the original injustices is not going to solve anything. It will escalate the issues.

      “And blaming identity politics as the culprit is, as tildeb observed, the criminal making the complaint.”

      Not sure who the criminal is in that scenario.

  3. The Victim Mentality

    The victim mentality is characterized by pessimism, self-pity, repressed anger and a belief that life is beyond one’s control. Victims blame any and every available scapegoat (fate, circumstances, other people, even objects!) for their problems and disappointments. They often lead a crisis-ridden lifestyle, going from one trauma to another, never seeing the contribution they make in creating their own crises. According to them, nothing is ever their fault.

    Unlike true victims, people with a victim mentality lament their misfortunes and stop there. They make no effort to learn from their mistakes, to analyze what went wrong, to pick up the pieces and move on. They wallow in self-pity, thinking that their shortcomings make them hopeless or that other’s actions excuse them from responsibility. Their “poor me” attitude may be no problem for them, but it often creates anger and resentment in others.

    “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” ~Richard Bach

  4. Completely agree with your points here GC.

    Though it opens up another controversy/debate that is far too lengthy for here, genetics proved several (many?) years ago that there is only a 0.1% genetic difference between ANY human being who was alive for tens of thousands of years or alive today. Yet, what fascinates me about those skeptics/deniers of modern genetics is that 99.9% of them are not geneticists, much less scientists! Hahahaha! Now riddle me that one please. 😛

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