Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Future of Identity Politics

Victor Davis Hanson sees a bleak future for diversity politics in the U.S. and discusses six reasons in an article at The Federalist why that future is uncertain at best.

At least some of his reasons would, I think, be universally welcomed by both left and right. At least they should be. Here are a few excerpts from the article:
Intermarriage and integration are still common. Overall, about 15 percent of all marriages each year are interracial, and the rates are highest for Asians and Latinos. Forty percent of Asian women marry men of another race—one quarter of African-American males do, as well—and over a quarter of all Latinos marry someone non-Latino.

Identity politics hinges on perceptible racial or ethnic solidarity, but citizens are increasingly a mixture of various races and do not always categorize themselves as “non-white.” Without DNA badges, it will be increasingly problematic to keep racial pedigrees straight. And sometimes the efforts to do so reach the point of caricature and inauthenticity, through exaggerated accent marks, verbal trills, voice modulations, and nomenclature hyphenation. One reason why diversity activists sound shrill is their fear that homogenization is unrelenting.
I have several times over the years speculated that our racial and ethnic divisions will begin to heal when more whites and blacks share grandchildren in common. I still think that's true, and what Hanson says above gives me hope that we're moving, if only gradually, in that direction. He adds that,
The notion of an identifiable and politically monolithic group of non-white minorities is also increasingly suspect. Cubans do not have enough in common with Mexicans to advance a united Latino front. African-Americans are suspicious of open borders that undercut entry-level job wages. Asians resent university quotas that often discount superb grades and test scores to ensure racial diversity....

It is not certain that immigration, both legal and illegal, will continue at its current near record rate, which has resulted in over 40 million immigrants now residing in America—constituting some 13 percent of the present population.... Were immigration to slow down and become more diverse, the formidable powers of integration and intermarriage would perhaps do to the La Raza community what it once did to the Italian-American minority after the cessation of mass immigration from Italy. There are currently no Italian-American quotas, no Italian university departments, and no predictable voting blocs.

Class is finally reemerging as a better barometer of privilege than is race—a point that Republican populists are starting to hammer home. The children of Barack Obama, for example, have far more privilege than do the sons of Appalachian coal miners—and many Asian groups already exceed American per capita income averages. When activist Michael Eric Dyson calls for blanket reparations for slavery, his argument does not resonate with an unemployed working-class youth from Kentucky, who was born more than 30 years after the emergence of affirmative action—and enjoys a fraction of Dyson’s own income, net worth, and cultural opportunities.

Finally, ideology is eroding the diversity industry. Conservative minorities and women are not considered genuine voices of the Other, given their incorrect politics. For all its emphasis on appearance, diversity is really an intolerant ideological movement that subordinates race and gender to progressive politics. It is not biology that gives authenticity to feminism, but leftwing assertions; African-American conservatives are often derided as inauthentic, not because of purported mixed racial pedigrees, but due to their unorthodox beliefs.
Hanson closes with this:
It is increasingly difficult to judge who we are merely by our appearances, which means that identity politics may lose its influence. These fissures probably explain some of the ferocity of the protests we’ve seen in recent weeks. A dying lobby is fighting to hold on to its power.
Frustration with identity politics and the injustices and absurdities that go along with it are one of the contributing factors to Trump's unexpected victory in November. People are just weary of the balkanization and isolation of Americans along lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on, and the resentments and conflicts it engenders. They want a nation in which we all think of ourselves as Americans. If identity politics is dying, a lot of people are going to have trouble getting themselves to grieve its demise.