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Identity politics assumes that each identity has its own epistemology, a different way of seeing the world, and that a white straight man can never understand the experience of a black gay man or a lesbian woman of color. Identity comes before, and is the foundation of, knowledge or truth.

But if experience is the origin of politics, if what matters are not ideas but the origin or identity of those who hold those ideas, criticism and political dialogue are impossible. Political discrepancies become personal attacks, attacks on an identity.

Identity politics constructs cognitive ghettos in which something is true or not depending on the identity of the speaker. Normally one listens more to one's own people, but it is pathological to think that any argument of the Other is false. This strategy can only be explained from a completely cynical political approach, in an ideological battle in which we yield nothing to an opponent whom we consider illegitimate. The real problem is that he or she is not illegitimate because of his or her ideology, but because of their identity. It is a dangerous terrain, which the ultra-right, expert in fomenting identity differences, tends to exploit.

Matias 8 Nov 24

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Yep. “If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?" William Shakespeare.

Because of course the vast majority of things that we all experience, are things that we all have in common, but because we experience them every day, we do not notice them, it is only the often trivial differences which excite us, because they are not there all the time, and we love and pay attention only to novelty.

As the quote from Shakespeare makes plain that is not new. But of course, what is new, is technology, and just as it allows us to travel faster than people did in Shakespeare's time, eat better, keep warmer, and cleaner, so does it make us better able to notice novelty and learn to fear it. Technology improves and enables everything, even bad things like hate.


I agree. This is why I have suggested addressing Human Rights again. Doesn’t seem a popular idea though so we’ll probably lose again.


Divide and conquer, but who is it that is seeking to divide us? Why are so few concerned with how hostile countries seek to exploit our weaknesses?

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