Wednesday, April 17, 2013

in identity politics, identitarian is an identity

In Fascinating tumblr arguments, MattBruenig discusses identitarian logic and notes,
...if you belong to identity A, you can appropriate from identity B, so long as someone in identity A is also in identity B and supports that appropriation. The person who is simultaneously in both identities cannot be accused of appropriating from themselves — a nonsense notion — and others are allowed to ally with that person and what they have to say.
The wrinkle is that the validating person in identity B must be an identitarian so a non-identitarian of identity B can't invalidate the appropriation. Identitarian feminists and anti-racists reject the arguments of women and black folks who reject identitarianism, which is easy for them when the non-identitarians are politically to their right, but deeply embarrassing when they're to their left, which is probably why "The limits of anti-racism" by Adolph Reed Jr. and "Why Anti-Racism Will Fail" by Rev. Thandeka get ignored rather than refuted.

For identitarians, identitarianism creates an identity, just as Scientology creates an identity for Scientologists. The fractal logic of identitarianism has led some modern feminists to declare that men can't be feminists and can only be allies, which makes perfect sense if you start with their premise. Their definition of "ally" is not the dictionary's—identitarians hate dictionaries. Rather than being someone who supports their goals, an identity group's "ally" is someone who accepts their premises: an "ally" is an identitarian who belongs to a different identity group.

Possibly of interest: Pretending You’re Oppressed: The New Internet Fad | Thought Catalog (via mevennen)


  1. I am amused that the comments to "Pretending You're Oppressed" devolved into an argument about demisexuality. (Which is consistently conflated with asexuality within the article and the comments even though the two are not the same thing.)

    Ah, humans. We are as dumb as rocks, the lot of us. I personally find that very oppressive. ;)

  2. I remember a comment thread someplace berating Obama for saying something like 'It's like the Special Olympics!" after he botched up some sporting activity. What made it awesome was that the commenters were conflating the Special Olympics and the Paralympics.

    Also, as a friend of mine is fond of saying 'Sangha is a form of privilege'.