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Checking IDs

One of the things I've found more disgusting in politics has to be the whole notion of "identity politics" -- that what someone is trumps who they are and what they might think and believe. It's most often found among the Left, who can't conceive of a woman or a minority who might actually hold conservative beliefs. When they find these types, they seem to be held up as 'traitors" to the progressives who claim to have acted in their best interests lo these many years.

I think my favorite example is Michelle Malkin -- she's a "twofer." She's both a woman AND an Asian, so her staunch conservatism is a double affront to them.

These traitors tend to end up drawing the most vile vitriol from their would-be champions, who seem to take great personal offense when these folks say "no thanks, I don't want to go along with what you say." Malkin's detractors consistently assail her in the most vile sexual and racist ways, and I've lost count of how many times I've heard black conservatives and Republicans denigrated as "house niggers" and "Uncle Toms" (that one's fading, but I suspect it's more out of cultural ignorance than a sense of shame from the progressives) and the like.

Just last week, Sarah Palin was attacked in Newsweek and the Washington Post by Dr. Wendy Doniger, a professor of History of Religions at the University of Chicago's Divinity School. In her piece, she proclaims the following:

Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.

"Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman."

Hmm. I can't say that I have personal knowledge of the matter, but I'm fairly certain that Governor Palin meets all the legal and biological requirements for a woman. One can certainly infer it from the available evidence -- her physical appearance, her legally-sanctioned marriage to a man, her history of having borne multiple children, her doctor's statements, and whatnot all point to her having two X chromosomes, and they having expressed their presence in the traditional way.

But that isn't enough for people like Dr. Doniger. Because to her type, simply being an adult female human being isn't enough to be a "woman." You also have to buy into significant portions of what has been lumped into the overarching political philosophy that has taken the name "feminism." If you don't ascribe to those beliefs, then you're just another male oppressor with overactive man-boobs and a missing penis.

No, that's not quite fair. The single issue that apparently separates the women from the merely female is abortion. If you don't mindlessly oppose any restrictions on abortion at all, then you're a traitor to your woman-parts and just another man-wannabe with a severe case of penis envy.

But just for fun, let's turn the tables around here. Let's play the game of identity politics, and see how it might play out against the Democratic presidential nominee.

Barack Obama claims to be the first black nominee for president from a major party, but really -- just how "black" is he?

Well, for starters, he's not really black. He's only half-black. His mother was white.

Further, his father wasn't African-American, he was Kenyan. So Obama can't claim to be a child of the African-American experience.

His father also left the family when Obama was a baby. Obama was brought up first by his mother and an Indonesian man, then later with the help of his very, very white grandparents.

Obama didn't really experience "African American" culture until he was in college, and then only in places like Occidental College in California and that bastion of African American life experience, Harvard Law School. It wasn't until he moved to Chicago that he really tried to become a part of African American America.

Even that was problematic. In Obama's single electoral defeat in his career, he challenged Congressman Bobby Rush for Rush's seat in the US House of Representatives. Rush argued that Obama was not sufficiently rooted in Chicago's African-American community, only having moved there less than a decade ago, Rush defeated Obama by better than 2-1 in the Democratic primary.

So, just how African-American is Barack Obama? He's only half-black, and spent roughly the first half of his life living largely apart from the African-American community. His life experiences are radically different from the vast majority of African Americans.

So, what does this have to do with Obama's fitness to be president?

Not a goddamned thing.

I have chosen to not support him in utter disregard for what he is. I base it solely on who he is. I don't give a faded fart about his genetic heritage, ethnicity, sex, eye color, or even how he stands on the vital pickles/raisins issue. (For the record, both alleged "foods" are abominations, disgusting and gross perversions of perfectly delicious and healthy foods -- what kind of degenerate would want to spoil cucumbers and grapes by turning them into such rancid and disgusting things?) No, I have rejected Obama for his stated positions on a host of issues, where I simply find his philosophy unacceptable and incompatible with our nation and our history and my own beliefs and experiences.

It's a pity that folks like Dr. Doniger can't get over themselves and their hysterical (yes, I am using that word deliberately) obsession with identity politics. Because, in the end, it's ultimately dehumanizing -- it reduces us from whole human beings to the sum of some of our least relevant parts. And that, I think, is what I find most offensive.


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Comments (33)

This is "on all fours," as ... (Below threshold)

This is "on all fours," as the lawyers say, with the Left's treatment of black intellectual giant Thomas Sowell, and highly accomplished statesmen and warriors such as Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.

The Left likes to say that it "owns the race issue," and "owns the gender issue." What it would really like is to "own" all the members of the groups whose interests it claims to champion -- especially their votes and political allegiances.

I hope that within my lifet... (Below threshold)

I hope that within my lifetime I get to vote for someone other than a white man or woman who holds the same things dear that I do.

There is no way that I believe that black Americans do not value their families as much as I value mine.

There is no way that I believe that black Americans do not value their freedom as much as I do mine - in fact, why should they not value it more?

I'm an old lady and as such, I meet other old ladies in doctors offices. They come in many colors and ethnicities or however else one may want to define our differences. But, we're all the same -- just ask any of us about our grandchildren.

It's funny how many black women are showing off pictures of blond-haired grandchildren, while I am extraordinarily proud of the Asian good looks of mine.

The ID cards need only show "American".

I've expressed here, more t... (Below threshold)

I've expressed here, more than once, my disgust at the way I'm viewed by the Democratic Party. And I think it all hinges on one very important aspect: my unwillingness to let emotion rule me and be the springboard for all my decisions and opinions. I'm not easily manipulated by those who think all they need to do is appeal to my emotions as they totally disregard that I could be more than one dimensional. Rather, I am insulted by it and when I don't conform, they dismiss me as something less than what I am; an individual with my own unique set of circumstances and life experiences and powers of reasoning.

What they do, in effect, is exactly as Jay described. They've looked first at my biology, pushed me into a niche with other similarly built people and assumed things about me based on that and that alone. When I don't comport with that, I am culled from the group and labeled an aberration, something to be ridiculed by people like Dr. Wendy Doniger, Gloria Steinem, and other women who should champion my individuality and strength. I've found that women are the worst of the lot. They have betrayed me and I soundly reject them.

Just look at Doniger's words:

The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb ...

THAT is projection.

And this:

An even wider and more sinister will to impose her religious views on other people surfaced in her determination to legislate against abortion even in cases of rape and in her attempts to ban books, including books on evolution, and to fire the librarian who stood against her.

is a plea to ignorance and emotion.

It's clear as a bell to me that this woman and many others are having difficulty understanding that I am first an individual, and then a woman.

J,Great commentary... (Below threshold)

J,

Great commentary, and this woman is great knucklehead material. I'll crown the professor tomorrow.

Bill

I'm going to share a secret... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I'm going to share a secret. I watch shows like Leave it to Beaver, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons.... you get the idea.

I have a great life. But it is a very busy life, and I find myself breaking little squares of chocolate cookies apart rather than making them from scratch. Last Tuesday, I made a wonderful chicken carbonara - well, I put it together. The good people at TGIFriday's actually made this wonderful frozen entree.

I long to make pretty little soaps with my kids to give as gifts. Haven't quite gotten around to it.

When we make a cake together for an event, I want to make the cake from scratch, not open a couple of boxes.

What is preventing me from exploring my inner Olivia Walton? Well, for one, I can't sew. But that's my own fault for taking woodshop in junior high instead of Home Ec.

I have to work for a living, that's what. I would love to stay home and bake cookies, clean the house properly every day.... wash my kitchen floors once a week!

Match up the socks on a constant basis - not on Sunday afternoons.

You all get the idea - it's not a crime to want to be home taking care of your family. It's also not a crime to work outside the home, and MANY of us do - but being a homemaker is a full-time job, and I find that also working outside the home makes me feel like I'm not doing everything at home that I want to be doing. Like making little soaps. Does anyone have an easy recipe for that?

Candy:<a href="htt... (Below threshold)
Ever notice the most rabid ... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Ever notice the most rabid feminists are all somewhat, if not very, unattractive? Correlation?

This bull dyke liberal hates Sarah for whatever reason, I say its primarily because she is very attractive, and somehow feels the way she chooses to live her life is the ONLY way.

Her email is don8@midway.uchicago.edu. Maybe she'll explain her bitterness. (Not sure if I can post it here, sorry if I am wrong)

It's good to play identity ... (Below threshold)
Bob:

It's good to play identity politics if you control all the labels. Bill Clinton was the first black president, but Justice Thomas isn't "really" black and Sarah Palin is hypocritical to pretend she's a woman. The Democrats act like they have a God-given right to the vote of every minority, every female, every union member, etc. Fortunately, not all voters engage in group-think. John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin was symbolic of change, not business as usual. Compare this to BHO's picking tired old foot-in-the-mouth Demo war horse Joe Biden. BTW, reversing Roe v. Wade would not criminalize all abortion, but would allow the states to regulate or not regulate abortion as the voters in each state see fit.

I can't support Obama for p... (Below threshold)

I can't support Obama for pretty much the same reasons I can't support McCain. I don't think Obama has the experience for the job and his ideas are bad. McCain has the experience but I don't like a good deal of what he has done with that time. I don't think either one would make a good president. Though since one of them will be elected I'm more than open to being proved wrong.

For what it's worth, I like pickles more than I like cucumbers, but I like grapes more than I like raisins.

For what it's w... (Below threshold)
For what it's worth, I like pickles more than I like cucumbers, but I like grapes more than I like raisins.
Heh. Whereas from one occasion to the next my preference either way could change entirely. Pickle slices are good on a burger but not in a salad.

And who wants to eat a bowl of Grape Bran?

The problem here - the issu... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

The problem here - the issue liberalism tries to tackle by paying attention to group identity - is that these groups were discriminated against in the past (and, some would say, still are, albeit in more subtle fashions) as part of their respective group identities, and so that can be the only successful strategy in helping them rescue themselves from their respective socioeconomic plights.

Let me try to simplify that somewhat mangled sentence. It ought to be obvious by now that minorities in America disproportionately occupy lower economic rungs because of past discimination. It's either that, or it's that they're inherently stupider, and I don't know anyone that seriously argues the second option. So if somebody is a member of one of those not-so-long-ago victims of institutional discrimination, I can see the argument that treating them strictly as an individual, at least for the moment, constitutes a continuation of the bias against them.

Don't get me wrong - I'd certainly prefer a strict policy of individualism, and I think, were it not for that tendency to rally together in the face of an attack on the group from outside, so would nearly all minorities. I'm just saying that identity politics isn't as unreasonable as it's sometimes portrayed. That social group solidarity in the face of external attack or oppression lasts longer than most society's memories, I think.

The Democrats act like t... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

The Democrats act like they have a God-given right to the vote of every minority, every female, every union member, etc. Fortunately, not all voters engage in group-think.

How many of them do you think simply feel the Democratic Party better represents their interests? How many of them do you think bristle at the implication (regularly offered) from the Republican Party that they are just groupthink docile little sheep?

The Republicans think they ... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

The Republicans think they have a God-given right to the vote of every CEO, every self-made small business owner, every pastor, every non-commissioned soldier, etc. Fortunately, not all voters engage in group-think.

That's kinda irritating, isn't it?

A cup of hot tea, cinnamon ... (Below threshold)
epador:

A cup of hot tea, cinnamon toast, sun shining through the window, and JT writes another wonderful epistle. Yes, I used that word on purpose.

McGehee and I share an abhorrence to mayonnaise, But if raisins are bad, then so is grape juice (or fine wine?). And if there were no pickles, how else could we describe the situation Obama finds himself in right now?

Governor Palin meets all... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Governor Palin meets all the legal and biological requirements for a woman.


"There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."

There's a saying here in Ge... (Below threshold)
twolaneflash:

There's a saying here in Georgia: "Once a fool, always a fool."

I truly enjoy interacting w... (Below threshold)
twolaneflash:

I truly enjoy interacting with my Democrat relatives. It always goes the same way. They state some Marxist belief, I challenge it, they try to justify it with their "more enlightened" arrogance, I walk them into a logic trap, they boil and fume unable to speak, I laugh uncontrollably, they leave the room, we don't speak till the next funeral. Family: the real "F" word.

"How many of them do you th... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

"How many of them do you think simply feel the Democratic Party better represents their interests?"

Or perhaps the Democratic Party keeps them in a perpetual state of victimhood increasing their dependency on the government so they can maintain a voting block to achieve or retain power. The Democrats don't offer us minorities a helping hand up. You offer us an oppressive hand holding us down.

We aren't in chains in the physical sense any longer, but the white, liberal elites continuously tell me that I need them to overcome oppression. God forbid I achieve success on my own without a quota system or some government program.

God forbid I "stray" off the Democratic Party plantation. Look at what happens when a minority doesn't toe the line handed them by the Democrats. They string him up and beat him until he says his name is Toby.

It took me a few years to realize the Democrats had nothing for me. They do not best represent my interests.

In short, the Democrats disgust me.

I can see the argu... (Below threshold)
I can see the argument that treating them strictly as an individual, at least for the moment, constitutes a continuation of the bias against them.

And this is precisely the point that identity politics beclowns itself. It's as if a guy is getting beat up, and he says "stop beating me up" and the beating stops, and then he complains that not getting beat up is an indication that he's still getting beat up.

This is where whatever moral foundation this argument has been resting on for support evaporates.

Parthenon:Groupthi... (Below threshold)
Larry:

Parthenon:

Groupthink is part of our culture. The media has it, residents of a particular location have it (think San Francisco), socio-economic sub-groups have it, racial and religious groups have it, the dinner party crowd has it and so on. Bubblehead thinking is part of our political and social heritage as human beings.

The problem with groupthink is that some of those who are part of some opinion group or the other based on identity, want to eviscerate a person whose identity matches their own, but whose beliefs are different.

This is called solipsism. And this is what Jay has pointed out, in effect, as "You can't fix stupid."

You are in effect saying that because the War on Poverty failed after trillions of dollars spent, it is ok for one group to maintain its solipsism while denying it to others. Never mind that leaders of some groups intentionally contribute to the groups disadvantage for their own, personal gain.

Let me give you an example of consequences. There is an area of a major city whose local leaders engaged in hate speech for several decades. One young lady with whom I am acquainted was attacked by a mob of her fellow high school students. They beat the crap out of her. Her only sin was attempting to make good grades. She was attacked for acting like "Whitey." And she bears the injuries to this day. Several of the local leaders who cultivated the groupthink atmosphere have subsequently gone to jail, convicted of lining their pockets at the public expense.

Groupthink gone amuck is just flat wrong. And that is what we are seeing with the attacks on Palin. I wonder how many of the attack group believe that their personal income or groupthink status is in jeopardy because of Sarah Palin.

Oregon brother, I see where... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

Oregon brother, I see where you're going, but I think the analogy may be a bit mixed up. It's more like spraining somebody's ankle before you challenge him to a foot race.

I realize that wealth is not a zero-sum proposition, that it self-replicates - i.e. there's no reason both guys can't win the race, so even that's an imperfect analogy. But it better fits the argument presented by the identity politicians.

The problem with groupth... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

The problem with groupthink is that some of those who are part of some opinion group or the other based on identity, want to eviscerate a person whose identity matches their own, but whose beliefs are different.

This is called solipsism. And this is what Jay has pointed out, in effect, as "You can't fix stupid."

I agree, that's a problem - the treatment black conservatives receive on liberal blogs rarely ceases to amaze me. I wouldn't support that sort of traitor-treatment behavior, ever. But I stand by my irritation at the suggestion that minorities vote Democratic because they're welfare whores that want 'free goodies' or because of some sort of herd mentality. Is it any wonder they don't feel the Republican party represents them when that attitude is so prevalent?

You are in effect saying that because the War on Poverty failed after trillions of dollars spent, it is ok for one group to maintain its solipsism while denying it to others. Never mind that leaders of some groups intentionally contribute to the groups disadvantage for their own, personal gain.

Well that's not quite what I meant to say. Lemme take another crack at it. I can understand the feeling of solidarity in groups that have been attacked or oppressed in the recent past by virtue of their common denominator. It wasn't blacks with Irish surnames that were oppressed, it wasn't blacks that liked baseball, it was African-Americans at large, ergo, that, in a way defined the boundaries of the group. We saw it in the weeks immediately following Sept. 11, when suddenly we stopped being Americans and we were all AMERICANS, briefly ignorant of things like party and cultural clash. I would in no way support particular minorities treating statistical outliers as traitors for not falling in with the majority position, war on poverty notwithstanding.

In short, identity politics is simply tribalistic human nature. Understandable, if unfortunate. Quite the same as groupthink? I don't think so. Identity solidarity ("black and proud," as it were) is pretty different from coming to the reasoned conclusion that one party better represents one's interests.

Groupthink gone amuck is... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

Groupthink gone amuck is just flat wrong. And that is what we are seeing with the attacks on Palin. I wonder how many of the attack group believe that their personal income or groupthink status is in jeopardy because of Sarah Palin.

There are legitimate questions to raise about the governor and Sen. McCain, including but not limited to their campaign's recent uncomfortable relationship with the facts. I understand it's in conservative's interest to highlight the absolutely ridiculous attacks, which have been rightly called smears against Gov. Palin and her family. But a reasonable discussion ought to discount the smears without distracting from the legitimate, which is my concern.

And I think that of most conservatives as well. There is an attitude floating around that conservatives don't want to see Gov. Palin publicly vetted and politically scrutinized, as if all they care about is victory at all costs. This is too simple by half. I haven't spoken to a single person - online, or otherwise - who would countenance an incompetent VP or president for the sake of their party's electoral victory.

I truly enjoy interacti... (Below threshold)
Jo:

I truly enjoy interacting with my Democrat relatives. It always goes the same way. They state some Marxist belief, I challenge it, they try to justify it with their "more enlightened" arrogance, I walk them into a logic trap, they boil and fume unable to speak, I laugh uncontrollably, they leave the room, we don't speak till the next funeral. Family: the real "F" word.

Now THAT was hilarious!

"She's both a woman AND an ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"She's both a woman AND an Asian, so her staunch conservatism is a double affront to them..."

Actually, it was her racism that was offensive. Some people tolerate it nicely for some reason. That's worth exploring.

The problem that many conse... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

The problem that many conservatives have with the vetting of Ms Palin is that it is so noticeably unequal with the softball vetting the Democrats get. Compare Edwards indiscretions and the media's determination that it wasn't news to the frantic digging surrounding the Palin children. And more to the point of vetting, compare Gibson's 2004 questions to Edwards as compared to Ms. Palin's questions. Edwards had even less experience than Obama or Palin.

I am not aware that conserv... (Below threshold)
Larry:

I am not aware that conservatives do not want Palin vetted. Her records stands and it is a good one, in my opinion, better say, than Obama's in terms of contribution to the greater good of those represented as best government can in reality accomplish the greater good instead of the greater bad as so often happens.

It is the unrelenting and unscrupulous attacks, often flat wrong on facts, that conservatives take exception. I am reminded of the young, high school student who was beaten to permanent injury because of her failure to conform to the identity groupthink of a very large group of minors who were encouraged by what they thought of as what their parents and leaders sought.

I do not see blacks as welfare whores. I do see a large group of people, both white and black, as welfare whores. They tend to vote democratic. There are a lot more white welfare whores than there are black ones and I have no idea what the percentages are and don't care.

But a reasonable discussion ought to discount the smears without distracting from the legitimate, which is my concern.

The problem is that a reasonable discussion has been buried under an unrelenting attack and bogus issues from those who favor the election of Obama, led by the media, a groupthing bunch who control a lot of the access of the public to information. That same group has ignored a large part of the qualifications of Obama, which is wrong.

In my view, you were attempting to defend the undefensible.

ROFLMAO "Gr... (Below threshold)
Larry:


ROFLMAO

"Groupthing" Guess I had a freudian slip.

jp2~She's... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

jp2~

She's both a woman AND an Asian, so her staunch conservatism is a double affront to them...

Jeez, I wonder if you stopped reading at this sentence just so you could post a sneering comment about racism. Failure and racism. Your two favorite words. I'll bet you're the life of the party wherever you go.

She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.

Yeah, Wendy's a numbskull that thinks she's helping the woman's cause with her "real" sympathy. Wow, what a super sleuth!

I think my favorite exam... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I think my favorite example is Michelle Malkin

Interesting that you chose Malkin as your example, because it was she who started pushing this kind of thing early:

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the McCain camp rolled out an "I am Sarah Palin" ad campaign? It would simply be a series of commercials that show a woman describing herself, like "I am a mom of 2 children, I am a wife, I am a PTA volunteer, I am a team mom, I am a marketing executive, I am a Democrat, etc" then the tag line, the woman says "I am Sarah Palin."

And, of course, we had Wizbang itself pushing the meme.

From the liberal point of v... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

From the liberal point of view only white men are defined by the quality of their character. All others are defined by their biology and lineage. The rational for this is that all others were discriminated against in the past, and thus, must be discriminated for in order to free them from the past. So what happens when the discrimination for such groups succeeds in producing individuals who demand to be defined by the quality of their character? Liberals see them as threats to their power base, rather than as accomplishments and vindication. Sarah Palin openly gives credit to title 9 for helping her become the person she is, yet she demands to be judged by the quality of her character.

Liberals are acting like a parent who spends years raising a child to be a successful and independent adult, but then turns against that child when they exercise their independence. It's ironic that liberals are the ones who refuse to judge people by the quality of their character rather than the color of their skin or their gender. How long do liberals think they can control the groups they worked hard to set free?

This reminds me of the firs... (Below threshold)

This reminds me of the first time I ran into a discussion of "Deaf culture." People who were born deaf or lost their hearing in childhood, who were raised in schools for the Deaf, and speak American Sign Language, not English, thankyouverymuch. People who are appalled by putting cochlear implants in the heads of hearing-impaired children and eroding the Deaf culture.

The contextual sphere of liberal feminism doesn't include the world from which Sarah Palin comes.

Sarah Palin is an Aunt Tom!... (Below threshold)

Sarah Palin is an Aunt Tom!




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