White People Practice Identity Politics, Too

I’m normally not a huge fan of the contrarians over at Slate, but this article is pretty darn good.

Tom Scocca writes that

White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being. Other demographic groups set themselves apart, to pursue their distinctive identities and interests and agendas. Whiteness, to white people, is the American default.

This is all part and parcel of a conservative mythology that defines Real America as white America while refusing to acknowledge the continued presence of racism. In their view, minorities are the Real Racists, and no amount of actual racism could possibly be worse than people pointing out that said racism is, in fact, racist. A while back the editors at The Atlantic called this set of sensibilities a “he who smelt it dealt it” view of the world. Pointing out that dog whistle terms are racially loaded means that you’re the one affirming the racial stereotypes the dog whistles are meant to invoke.

No, it doesn’t make any sense at all.


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