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Thu Jun 4, 2015, 01:20 PM

 

An appeal to move away from "identity politics" to achieving goals . . .

"This new understanding of social justice politics resembles what University of Pennsylvania political science professor Adolph Reed Jr. calls a politics of personal testimony, in which the feelings of individuals are the primary or even exclusive means through which social issues are understood and discussed. Reed derides this sort of political approach as essentially being a non-politics, a discourse that 'is focused much more on taxonomy than politics (which) emphasizes the names by which we should call some strains of inequality ( . . . ) over specifying the mechanisms that produce them or even the steps that can be taken to combat them.' Under such a conception, people become more concerned with signaling goodness, usually through semantics and empty gestures, than with actually working to effect change.

"Herein lies the folly of oversimplified identity politics: while identity concerns obviously warrant analysis, focusing on them too exclusively draws our attention so far inward that none of our analyses can lead to action. Rebecca Reilly Cooper, a political philosopher at the University of Warwick, worries about the effectiveness of a politics in which 'particular experiences can never legitimately speak for any one other than ourselves, and personal narrative and testimony are elevated to such a degree that there can be no objective standpoint from which to examine their veracity.' Personal experience and feelings aren't just a salient touchstone of contemporary identity politics; they are the entirety of these politics."

http://www.vox.com/2015/6/3/8706323/college-professor-afraid

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