White male is an identity too…

Critiques of identity politics tend to forget this fact.

That progressive politics should appeal to everyone, is a coherent claim. But it is instructive to ask exactly how we’re defining ‘everyone’. Because complaints about the divisive nature of identity politics often reveal themselves to be complaints that white men aren’t being explicitly catered for.

Take, for example, this interview with Jonathon Haidt. It is unusual only in that he makes this complaint explicit. Haidt claims left-wing, progressive politics has become divisive because it’s so identity focused:

Hillary Clinton’s opening advertisement had lots of people who were visibly members of identity groups, it had only one white male with a speaking part.”

The interview contains other Haidt classics: defending free speech from imaginary threats and attacking an army of straw-men.

But that quote really stands out for making clear what is normally only implied. White men are the generic, default and politics should defer to them. Anything else is an identity, and identities are divisive.

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