Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Quote of the Day - The Case For Identity Politics

"What the liberal criticism of identity politics seems to ignore, or at least downplay, is how significant a role identity plays in shaping our knowledge of problems and how necessary a level of identity-based empowerment is to create social advancement in the first place. Let’s take an analogy from physics. In The Order of Time, Carlos Rovelli argues that our understanding of time is based exclusively on how we choose to organize information. He illustrates this using a deck of cards. If we shuffle the cards and then lay them out, how do we decide which is the first card? Is it the first card in the deck? The smallest number? The first red card? Or maybe the first spade? Rovelli’s point is that order (and therefore time) is relative: deciding what comes first requires one to first set a parameter by which to judge—in this instance numbers, colors or whether a card is on the top or bottom of the pack. It is only this relational aspect between things that allows us to arrive at a sense (albeit illusory) of order. So too with identity. It is precisely by setting ourselves apart from one another, based on certain categories, that we are able to recognize where we stand in relation to things like equal access to certain rights. When the slave-holding authors of the US Constitution sorted human beings according to their rights, they did not believe that the parameters set by the words “all men are created equal” applied to their property. The relative nature of human interactions makes a focus on identity not just an important, but a required first step towards advancing universal liberalism."

Taken from Dan Melo's "The Case For Identity Politics" via Aareo Magazine