In the game of identity politics, those who do not accept one tribe’s identity must be a member of another tribe.
This has led to some sloppy categorizing. Challenge the wrong narrative and you might be tossed into a basket where you don’t belong.
The most warped example of this comes from the left’s social justice movement. Whites are racist because they are white. Men are misogynist because they have XY chromosomes. Mention chromosomes one more time, and you are a Nazi. Old white men are treated like historical artifacts because they are old, white and male. Old white women rank less negative because they score a plus for XX chromosomes, in the eyes of social justice activists.
Is this ageist, racist and sexist? Yes, good eye. But if you say this out loud, you might be labeled alt-right.
Alt-right, in its most widespread usage, means right-wingers who ascribe to racism and white nationalism. This definition excludes the vast majority of Americans.
Social justice juju expands the definition to anyone disagreeing with or challenging their views. If you recoil when black activists speak ill of all whites, when gender nonconforming folks decree new pronoun language for everyone and when women of color retreat to Costa Rica as a vacation from whites, you are alt-right and support Donald Trump.
The identity basket-weavers often don’t notice or care about alienating potential allies — people who would never vote for Trump and who also uphold liberal democratic principles.
The new social justice wing talks a game of inclusion but doesn’t mention the requisite hazing. Even if you are not racist, bigoted, misogynistic or homophobic but raise an objection to their thinking, you just don’t know your own mind. You need to get woke, meaning you need to replace American civil rights and equality for all with specialized treatment for specialized classes.
These ideas were born in college programs such as the humanities, social sciences, gender studies, race theory and multiculturalism, where objective scholarship was restructured with a new vocabulary and rules. The result is a dumpster fire of unreasonableness.
The TV show “Seinfeld” is now considered offensive. An Indian woman who runs a broth bar in Vancouver, British Columbia said whites making and selling a similar broth amounts to cultural appropriation, colonialism and systemic racism.
It would be trivial if it wasn’t gaining traction.
In 2017-18, three collaborators submitted fake research papers to challenge the academic rigor of journals covering gender, race and sexuality studies, alleging these publications are laundering machines for social justice quackery. Before their hoax blew up, four papers were published including “Human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon.” The journal’s reviewers expressed hope that researchers respected the dogs’ privacy.
Discussion of canine rape culture is probably not going to spread beyond a gender studies roundtable. But there are plenty of signs that the social justice religion is being absorbed into society.
In a recent “60 Minutes” interview, when asked about her misstatements, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said many people are more concerned with facts than morality.
“And whenever I make a mistake. I say, ‘OK, this was clumsy’ and then I restate what my point was. But it’s not the same thing as the president lying about immigrants,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Her mistake was not just a clumsy social moment. If lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez want to call out Trump’s lies and seize the moral high ground, they need to become radical activists for facts.