“I’m Tired of Being Labeled” – OWN TV
Much respect is due to Ms. Raven Simone Pearman of The Cosby Show fame for recognizing the value and virtue of individualism during a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. I can certainly empathize with her position on preferring to forego labels, particularly as it relates to cultural, demographic, or other subdivisions within America.
For my part, I absolutely detest “hyphenated Americanism.” Of the numerous aspects of geopolitics that I dislike, identity politics has to rank up there as one of, if not the, most deplorable. Accepting labels as legitimate in the first place is partly what feeds all forms of rationalized prejudice. Collectively applied judgment cannot exist as a sustained human rationale without first accepting collectivism itself as acceptable, at least subconsciously, and consequently rejecting individualism.
Who embodies the so-called “black” or “Latino” vote? What exactly are “women’s” issues or “American” values? What does a “Christian” point of view look like? Who can realistically or ethically claim a monopoly on defining these concepts? More pointedly, who can claim righteousness in assigning who must agree or disagree with a certain idea or concept based on skin color or physical plumbing? Identity politics, at its base, is utterly fallacious in reasoning and prejudicial in application.
What substantive relevance does such collectivism have, other than to separate and divide individuals on purely superficial grounds? Should not two people, regardless of color, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation (etc.) be able to discuss, agree, and disagree with each other the substance of ideas without defaulting to others’ interpretations of what they should think based on these totally unrelated characteristics? Should not a white person be able to agree with a black person, and vice-versa, without being personally attacked with vulgarity and vitriol? Should not an empowered, independent woman be allowed to form an opinion of her own without being considered a “traitor?”
It is a topic of much curiosity to me why people fail to recognize that the exact same collective prejudice that prevents two people of different color from substantively agreeing with each other on a given issue, based solely on those differences in color, is the exact same collectivist prejudice that pressures two people of the same color to crowd-think. Is it not the definition of racial prejudice to presume that a person of a certain color should conform his thoughts and opinions to a pre-established paradigm based on that color? The concept is true in other demographic contexts, though race surely is the most prevalent example of modern collectivism.
In the end, identity politics ultimately boils down to people being comfortable with not thinking for themselves. This laziness to critically think and value superficiality over substance is what drives a peculiarly human need to pre-characterize everyone, and consequently presume we know everything there is to know about them based on which “box” we have put them in. Sadly, oligarchs the world over have long mastered the exploitation and pandering of this mass crowd-think to facilitate their own selfish gain via the classic us versus them mantra. Sadder still, modern America keeps falling for the same old tricks, if wrapped in different contextual packaging at times. Essentially, it is us versus them, and if you do not agree with us then you must hate us and/or be a traitor.
This us versus them mentality virtually defines the corruption of democracy that the federalist republic has devolved into. Identity politics is plain stupid – and yes, that says a lot from my perspective about those who cling to identity politics as if their lives depended upon it (some actually believe they do). Perhaps it is time for the “us” and “them” to evolve into knew understandings of meaning – sovereign individuals versus the power drunk oligarchs of Big Government dependency, fleecing, manipulation, and social engineering.