Antidote to Anxiety

At the bottom of identity politics is the fear of human complexity. People are reduced to a single, immutable characteristic to soothe the anxieties of those who can’t deal with anything more complicated.

This is why it’s impossible (and useless) to argue with the people who believe in the importance of identity labels. They are confused and terrified, and trying to introduce any variable into their closed system of thinking throws them off even more.

2 thoughts on “Antidote to Anxiety

  1. Identity is a very complex subject and I shall not expound on it in an answer to a blog post since it would be presumptuous and self-defeating.

    Suffice it to say, though, that in a country like the US whose own longstanding traditional identity, founded on WASPness, had until the early 1960s been offered to the country at large as the quintessence of Americanness, whether every single newcomer were willing or able to integrate into it is not at issue here, the social commotions of the time – both racial and societal: feminists, blacks, gays, hippies, anti-Vietnam war protestors – that started to make their way through social strata were bound to surge eventually. The aim was nothing short of creating a new identity that would replace the previous one while leaving those in power firmly on top.

    In a move that is reminiscent of many an earlier revolutionary action, and one which has destroyed the US social fabric in a way that is probably irreparable, the top dogs had to figure out a way of riding that surge, even though, on the surface, traditional roles seemed to have vanished, leaving a void to be filled by new models. The shibboleths of those times were “civil rights”, “equality” and “hope”. Today they are “diversity, inclusion and equity”, “anti-racism”, “whiteness”. The substance is still the same: who gets to be (or stay) top dog. The relaxation in immigration laws starting from 1965 and the unprecedented and unpredictable furious expansion in technology and the changes in all fields that resulted from that expansion have done the rest and this is where we are today.

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  2. One of my most woke colleagues (white dude from elite background) is convinced that he understands each and every black student far better than the rest of us ever could, because his wife is Jamaican. He tells them this. He also says, “Oh, you’ll do fine, just do what [this one particularly amazing student who happened to be black] did.”

    Because they’re all alike, you see.

    They are not impressed by him.

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