Culture

Identity Politics Insanity

Perhaps nothing offers greater insight into the progressive mindset than what its adherents deem proper and improper expressions of identity politics.

Arnold Ahlert · Mar. 15, 2018

Perhaps nothing offers greater insight into the progressive mindset than what its adherents deem proper and improper expressions of identity politics.

“Rachel Dolezal, the troubled former NAACP leader who claimed to be African-American, is the subject of an upcoming Netflix documentary that’s already causing major backlash,” Fox News reports.

The Twitter-verse was rife with derogatory comments. “There are millions of black femmes and non-binary people in the world that deserve to be heard … and the fact that I have to see her name on my screen makes me so so so angry,” stated Lorazepam Grier. “Rachel Dolezal’s choice to play pretend in black culture has now destroyed the lives of two black children,” tweeted George M. Johnson. “Hey @Netflix, Rachel Dolezal doesn’t need a documentary streamed on your site. She’s fraudulent and problematic. Why don’t you take all that money and put it towards projects made by real black women?” asks Breniecia.

Netflix isn’t paying Dolezal anything, but they remain the eye of the leftist storm for “giving the 40-year-old a spotlight with a film that explores how she portrayed herself as African-American for years, despite being born biologically white,” Fox explains.

Biologically white? The use of biology to define one’s identity left the progressive train station long ago. So much so, that even the assertion it is a defining factor has real world consequences for those insufficiently attuned to the progressive worldview. “A student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been barred from attending a religious studies class required for graduation after pointing out that there are only two genders,” Campus Reform reveals.

Senior student Lake Ingle was ultimately barred from class for questioning the worldview of IUP Professor Alison Downie following a video presentation featuring a transgender woman name Paula Stone. The 15-minute video was replete with tiresome progressive tropes asserting the reality of “mansplaining,” “male privilege” and “systematic” sexism.

Following the video, Downie asked the women attending the class to share their thoughts. When none of them spoke up, Ingle rocked the proverbial boat.

“I objected to the use of the anecdotal accounts of one woman’s experience to begin a discussion in which they were considered reality,” Ingle told Campus Reform. “It was during my objection that Dr. Downie attempted to silence me.”

The next day Downie did more than that. She referred Ingle to the school’s Academic Integrity Board (AIB) and presented Ingle with a document illuminating his alleged violations: “Disrespectful objection to the professor’s class discussion structure; refusal to stop talking out of turn; angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism; disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience; [and making a] disrespectful claim that a low score on any class work would be evidence of professor’s personal prejudice.”

The “Documented Agreement/Sanctions,” part of the document reveals conditions Ingle must fulfill to be reinstated in class. They include a letter of apology to the professor, an apology to the class, and the acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility for “inappropriate behavior” that has “severely damaged” the class’s learning environment and the “safety” of its “atmosphere.” Moreover, when Ingle is done groveling, he is expected to “listen in silence as the professor and/or any student who wishes to speak shares how he or she felt during Lake’s disrespectful and disruptive outbursts on 2-28.”

He or she? What about “ze,” “zir,” “ve,” “tey” or the panoply of other “gender appropriate” pronouns being force-fed to the American public, even to the point where one could be fined as much as $250,000 for failing to acquiesce? Apparently IUP’s administration is as insensitive to “reality” as Ingle himself. Regardless, Ingle’s hearing is set for tomorrow and a decision will be announced on March 19. If the administration rules against him, he won’t graduate in May.

So why would progressives pillory a woman like Rachel Dolezal who insists biology doesn’t matter and pillory a student like Lake Ingle who insists it does? Because some identity politics are “more equal” than others. Identity politics that advance the progressive agenda are embraced, and those that threaten it are vilified.

Dolezal represents a mortal threat to a racial spoils system that began relatively nobly enough, with the concept of affirmative action to redress a litany of historical wrongs, perpetrated mostly by Democrats, beginning with their establishment of the Ku Klux Klan and their enforcement of Jim Crow laws. It has deteriorated to the point where black students have demanded and received segregated dorms on University of California campuses, courses on “white privilege” have become part of the public school curriculum, and the enforcement of a policy where “students of color” cannot be disciplined in school at rates disproportionate to their statistical representation in the student population engendered the calculated disinterest in the Parkland shooter until it was too late.

Yet even the racial spoils system has its “subsets.” While Dolezal is a pariah, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren remains a respected member of the Democrat Party, despite tenuous claims of Native American ancestry and the dismissal of a DNA test to prove it, one way or the other. “I know who I am because of what my mother and my father told me,” Warren insists. “It’s part of who I am and no one’s ever going to take that away.”

Still more subsets? As a discrimination lawsuit against Harvard University indicates, Asians also remain on the outside looking in. That’s because minority groups who excel without an ideological thumb on the scale to assist them represent a threat to progressive efforts to convince the nation that victimization requires the elevation of diversity over meritocracy.

The searing irony? Meritocracy still matters — in terms of determining the hierarchy of victimization among leftist grievance groups. And nothing would roil that hierarchy and its orchestrated pity parties more effectively than “trans-racialism,” and the ominous potential that anyone could claim to be a victim, based on the exact same premise as transgenderism: self-identification is the sole standard for determining reality.

So why is transgenderism championed? Because it aligns itself quite neatly with the progressive project to “fundamentally transform” America. And nothing says transformation better than the attempt to replace biological reality with gender “fluidity.” In stark contrast to racial fluidity, which threatens progressivism’s identity politics agenda, gender fluidity enhances that agenda, because it undermines traditional religious and family values.

Values that don’t require the expansion of coercive government power to enforce them.

As the Left’s contrasting reactions to trans-racialism and transgenderism indicate, intellectual consistency and honesty can be tossed aside if they don’t serve progressive interests. Thus the same CNN that put Bruce Jenner on the air to speak about his “path to womanhood” is the one that speaks to the “scandal” of Dolezal “presenting herself as black for years” — and presents a link to yet another CNN column that calls racial fluidity a “con.”

Nothing is more of a con than the contemptible notion that reality itself can be determined by whether it accrues to the Left’s twisted identity politics agenda.

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