Sharon Smith – The Politics of Identity

Link to an article by Sharon Smith:

“The Politics of Identity”

 

Bonus links: “The Rising American Student Movement Is Part of a Battle for the Soul of Higher Education” and “What’s Wrong With Identity Politics (and Intersectionality Theory)? A Response to Mark Fisher’s “Exiting the Vampire Castle” (And Its Critics)” and “Identity Politics vs Class Politics” and “Identity Politics Can Only Get Us So Far” and “Set Theory of the Left” and “To Be or Not To Be Woke: The Follies of Political Correctness” and “Capitalism and Race Redux” (“Identity politics is an argument for social reconciliation without a redistribution of power.”) and “Too Much of Not Enough: An Interview with Alenka Zupančič” and The Trouble With Diversity Review

Bonus quotes:

“What matters is not so much the color of your skin as the power you serve and the millions you betray.”

Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

“If we pay close attention to contemporary debates within the frame of cultural identity politics we see that the quest for recognition almost universally means recognition from the very hegemonically powerful positions they rightly argue oppress them. In many cases, a short circuit occurs in which the recognition of the marginalized by the hegemonically powerful not only becomes more important than addressing the injustice as such, but indeed replaces structurally tackling that injustice as such. Victims of severe systematic violence and injustice are bribed into persuading the powerful to recognize their existence, to demand the hegemonic discourse speak of them in a particular way, or else, more often in sexual political struggles, to maintain a reverential attitude toward their experiences of injustice. What’s wrong with this? Nothing; unless
this politics replaces a politics of actually changing the structural conditions which led to these injustices as such. Recognition of identity and individual experience is offered as a fetishistic disavowal in a maneuver to permanently forestall the possibility of a political act.

***

“Political Correctness is far from being too radical – it is rather precisely the mechanism today to avoid the radical change which is necessary.

***

PCs function is predicated on the necessity that there be always an ‘other’, not here the marginalized individual whose rights are to be protected, but the ‘uneducated’ offender. The offender must be civilized, brought into the discourse and assigned their hierarchal place within it or else be ostracized. In this way the discourse thrives and propagates. The only way to ‘beat’ it, is to join it. It tolerates no outside except for the structurally necessary place of the not-yet educated, the under-educated, or that of the un-educatable offender.

***

“the primary result of identity politics today . . . is in order to maintain a privatization of political affect, which ultimately amounts to a neutralization of politics as such.”

Christopher William Wolter, “Against the Neoliberal Blackmail: Identity Fetishism and the Privatization of Affect”