“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”
Identity Politics. These words automatically invoke thoughts of left wing politics and socialism and multiculturalism and diversity. We less often think of fascist movements such as the white nationalist movement and that one movement we all know, the one which happened in 1930s and 1940s Germany. Those are identitarian movements. That is also identity politics. Apartheid South Africa, Jim Crow USA and the KKK—each of these also identity-based. So, those who define themselves by their opposition to present day wokeness have taken a position against particular forms of identitarianism, not against identitarianism itself. One could argue that defining yourself by your opposition to an ideology also makes you an ideologue with an identity you hold sacred—ie., an identitarian.
More and more I see the spectrum as a horseshoe. Extremes on both sides that seem wildly similar in some ways. Identity politics and rhetoric and misrepresenting facts to fit the narrative, faux victimhood to justify dehumanisation of a scapegoat, making political existence this antagonistic and insufferably hostile atmosphere. More and more I see things I wish I didn’t see because I want them to be over. I have seen “white feminism” … as a mixed race Desi I don’t know what else to call it when Eurocentric feminists are willing to turn to a white nationalist political leader and scold those of us who raise concerns about this dangerous move as forcing purity or being partisan.
So, my humanity as a hijabi muslim desi female child of a desi immigrant is partisan? I’m supposed to forget the horrid things I read and heard the white nationalist say, the lies he perpetuates about Muslims and immigrants, because he might be gender critical? I’m supposed to forget about the radical extremists he draws into his camp? Because it’s convenient for the white feminists who have appointed themselves leaders and martyrs of “the movement”?
And it feels like we’re back to the go back to your country bullsh1t that I have gotten since I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 52 and a half years ago. Yes, I was born here and I have often been told to go back to my country. Because my name and my parentage apparently doesn’t make me Canadian enough. It never has. I am so bloody tired of race and I never talk about it because I hate it so much and I don’t find the present discourse healthy or rationale or constructive.
I think of how CD made the terrible mistake of embracing the extremists and how he ended up down an unfortunate spiral. It’s tempting when we feel desperate to be seen or heard or to have an immediate impact—to invite the extremists into our world. They employ extreme tactics designed for impact. It feels edgy and powerful maybe. It feels effective, and it’s ineffectual to produce real change. Because it isn’t rational, it is emotional, it is ego and not truth. And because extremists don’t care about the human cause underlying things, they only care about their war, their lesser jihad, to the exclusion of all else.
Truth and principle are fcuking hard things to live by! Ego is a nasty persistent little b1tch!
Not belonging affords a person a certain view of everything—all the identities in the room circling each other, and like vultures, feeding from the vulnerable—and it keeps the ego in check. I think we forget that, more than anything, more than the problematic ideologies underlying the various identities we dislike, our response to these and to life in general is what causes the chaos. Collective guilt, collective victimhood whipped into a vengeful frenzy, collective moral superiority—these are the poisons of our human society.
The mainstream media’s response to what is happening in Gaza and Sheikh Jarrah as well as the American government’s response, and the response of many anti-wokesters and right wing reactionaries, points to the widespread identity in the west that few acknowledge—Zionism. Western collective guilt has blinded the west to the realities of life for Palestinian people. And so, the Palestinians are drowning in the western guilt which fuels Zionism. Just the same as female people and same sex attracted people are drowning in the rebound guilt which fuels Genderism. Just the same as American and Canadian culture is drowning in the post colonial guilt which fuels Anti-racism.
The current culture normalises treating reality like a buffet, where you can pick the best bits and leave the stuff you find distasteful. Don’t like sex is immutable? Don’t like the Palestinian uprising? Don’t like Ladies and Gentlemen? Declare them all hate speech or actions verboten. Problem solved. There, we just changed the truth by vilifying things we find problematic. Cool huh? We play games like this all around because, as I asked in my previous missive—Does Anyone Really Want to Fix Things? No. No, we don’t want to fix things. We only want to sit around and masturbate over our version of the truth, everyone else be damned.
The graphic below is available on a tee shirt and some other merchandise, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of items in this collection, called Defiance, will go to Doctors without Borders, a charity with an outstanding rating, a proven track record and demonstrated efficacy in meeting it’s programming objectives. And also, because Gaza’s medical infrastructure has just been targeted by the IDF.