Sunday, June 23, 2019

Identity politics for me but not for thee

I posted on this once before:

But now I'd like to make some additional, related observations:

i) James White is a critic of identity politics. And that's fine. Identity politics should be opposed. The problem is when he unconsciously uses identity politics to further his own argument. 

ii) Now a critic of identity politics could use identity politics in a tu quoque argument. Let's assume identity politics for the sake of argument, then draw some conclusions or parallels that should make proponents of identity politics balk. But that's not what White is doing where. 

iii) Likewise, judging individuals by group association isn't fallacious if particular beliefs or behavior are intrinsically related to that affiliation. For instance, it's proper to make assumptions about a Klansman, since that's what the KKK stands for. It's proper to judge a Democrat politician by the party he represents, since his party has official ideological positions.  

iv) It is, however, fallacious and unjust to associate individuals with group membership behavior when that's an adventitious association or incidental feature of their affiliation. Since there's no intrinsic relationship between abortion and race/ethnicity, making invidious comparisons between black mothers in general and white mothers in general vis-a-vis abortion unthinkingly buys into the tactics and assumptions of identity politics. 

v) Moreover, that's not an isolated example. James White seems to have a blind spot in that regard. Remember this incident?

Once again, that's a classic example of White's subconscious identity politics. He stereotypes the black teenager by reducing him to a statistic. He slots the teenager into a standard narrative. What could be more prejudicial? Typecasting the teenager based on a single fleeting encounter, backfilled by statistics. 

Perhaps White would say he's not making assumptions about the teenager just because he's black but because he flipped off the police. Well, I daresay lots of teenage boys of all different racial or ethnic backgrounds are antagonistic towards the police. Would White posit the same backstory for all of them? 

vi) It's especially ironic because it reveals a subliminal double standard. On the one hand, White bends over backwards to disassociate Muslims in general from support for jihad, honor killings, a rape culture, &c. On the other hand, he has the opposite reaction when it comes to black Americans. 

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