2017-01-25

 

I've got a face, not just my race

The categories of identity politics are exactly the same as those of racism and sexism, just turned upside down on the scale of intentions. What is truly revolutionary is to erase these categories. The rock revolution of Presley, the Beatles and the Stones was all about blending race. The revolutionary blast of the New York Dolls and Glam Rock was about blending gender. Bowie, of course, did it all, which was continued by (post-Young Americans) Disco and all of his 80s children, including Prince, as well as all electronic music that derived (interestingly, Rock became a reactionary white affair, a bit like Jazz before it).

We're all individuals. "I've got a face, not just my race". Too bad academics and most political parties don't seem to accept that revolution and breakout of these categories.The point is that Identity Politics, rather than working to erase the categories of racism/sexism/homophobia, worked to enhance them, albeit with good intentions. The problem is that those linguistic categories have maintained and indeed enhanced the discourse of racism/sexism/homophobia itself---the good intentions of Identity Politics are a bit like how Graham Greene describes the good intentions of Alden Pyle, the Quiet American: "Innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm". If civil rights had instead fought to erase the categories themselves (which many people like Gore Vidal for years have suggested), focusing on individual- rather than group-freedoms, we would not have created monsters like Trump. That is my opinion, anyway. Perpetuating these categories offers no solutions, simply entrenches distinctions among groups of (diverse) people.

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