What Joe 'You Ain't Black' Biden Says about Identity Politics

What Joe 'You Ain't Black' Biden Says about Identity Politics

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Joe Biden’s latest bizarre gaffe — “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” angrily thrown at the host of the popular black American radio show — has backfired dramatically.  Charlamagne tha God, the host, said during an interview with CNN‘s Erin Burnett that the former vice president’s comments were “just a shock coming from an old white man like Joe Biden.”  The backlash on the racist commentary came fast and fierce from all sides.  Even the Democrats said Biden’s “poor choice of words” made them cringe.  Biden tried to rehabilitate himself, saying he should not have been so “cavalier” or acted like a “wise guy.”

As disgusting and demeaning as it sounds, this type of commentary is far beyond poor phrasing or even racism.  It is a tiny episode of the ideology of the cultural Marxism and its main tool, identity politics, that the left has been developing for several decades.

The term was first coined by black feminist Barbara Smith and the black feminist lesbian organization called Combahee River Collective in 1974.  It originated from the need to reshape movements that had until then prioritized the monotony of sameness over the strategic value of difference: black feminists claimed that their experience of oppression differed from the experience of white women.  They insisted on that differentiation in order to achieve a better understanding of how the racial, economic, sex-based, and other forms oppression were interlinked and affected their lives.  Based on that knowledge, they believed they would make sure no one would be left behind.

But once the leftists started dividing society into “oppression groups,” it was hard for them to stop.  Identity politics resulted in the atomization of society into different interest groups according to sex, race, sexual preferences, etc.  It presumes that such characteristics are the main, or only, relevant attributes of their holders and that they bring with them some added extra.  For example, as writer Coleman Hughes put it, the assumption is that there is a “heightened moral knowledge” that comes with being black, or gay, or a woman.

Just like on the famous Marxist poster of 1911 called “industrial workers of the world,” depicting what it claimed to be a “pyramid of the capitalist system,” those identities were organized by the leftists as hierarchical.  A “pyramid of cultural oppression” is topped by straight white men, followed by gay white men, followed by straight white women, all the way down to the disabled black illegal alien Muslim transsexual at the very bottom (no offense intended).  The academic term for it is “intersectionality” — a call to work out each and every identity and vulnerability claim in ourselves and others and then organize along whichever system of justice emerges from the perpetually moving hierarchy we uncover.  Just as Marxism proclaimed to free the proletarians and spread the wealth around, so, in this new version of an old claim, the power of patriarchal white males must be taken away and shared fairly with the relevant minority groups.

Certainly, the declared ultimate goal of all-inclusivity has nothing to do with the real outcome, which was quite the opposite.  In particular, identity politics manifested itself in an accelerated social dichotomy and catalyzation of the differences between sexes and among races and religions.  It only accentuated the differences instead of unifying people.  

Identity politics, as we can see, is nothing but a political tactic recalling a motto of Macedonian king Philip II: “Divide and conquer.”  People who are too busy fighting imaginary wars against each other lose their ability of critical thinking and eagerly follow those who promise them victory — “crash the patriarchy,” “break the glass ceiling,” “black lives matter,” “love is love,” “beautiful in every size,” etc.  And this war is perpetual: if you are gay, you’re asked what your skin color is.  If you’re black, you’re asked if you are a woman.  If you’re a woman, you’re told not to worry about Muslim rapists, you racist.  If you miraculously happen to fit into every conceivable minority group, Heaven help you if your opinions do not precisely follow the political orthodoxy of the left.

That brings us back to the statements such as those of Joe Biden — “you ain’t black.”  This type of “slip” clearly shows the main goal: power, and nothing else.  All of the “identities” for these people are artificial and political.

Charlamagne tha God was not the first black person whose “blackness” was questioned due to political heresy.  Kanye West, who praised Donald Trump, was mercilessly chastised by the left.  The article of the Atlantic titled “I’m not black — I’m Kanye,” claims that West was “championing a kind of freedom — a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant.”  The list of “Uncle Toms,” “Juans,” “Wongs,” “Aunt Jemimas,” and “Thomasinas” is long.

The same is true for gays. One of the most famous and well-to-do gays in America, Facebook co-founder Peter Thiel, tripped over the same wire.  He brazenly abandoned the LGBT “saviors’ camp” — the Democratic Party — by openly endorsing Donald Trump for president in 2016.  For that rebellion, America’s foremost gay magazine, the Advocate, stripped him of his “gayness.”  It ran a piece titled “Peter Thiel shows us there is a difference between gay sex [sic] and gay,” a sub-banner of which inquired, “When you abandon numerous aspects of queer identity, are you still LGBT?”

It would be discriminatory not use the same tactics on women who challenge the Democrats’ “pro-women” agenda.  From pro-life activists to athletes rejecting body-positivity and men competing against women, from conservative pop singers and actresses to politicians opposing “gender reassignment” for toddlers to our magnificent first lady — the Democrats, and especially female Democrats who propagate a global sisterhood, shame and scold those “lost sheep” and “traitors” as if there is no tomorrow.

What’s the end game of it all?  It might be presumed that it is a “cultural revolution,” the likes of which were conceptualized by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci in 1920s, who believed that a true socialist revolution would be based on culture, not class.  For that, old traditions of the West (patriotism, family values, religion) — or “cultural hegemony,” as he called it — would have been systematically broken down.  The idea was developed by the Frankfurt School that enriched Gramsci’s theory with the idea of a new revolutionary vanguard: students, feminists, minorities, many of whom were excluded from mainstream Western culture and sought to change it.  Back in the 1960s, it must have struck a chord.  Now, in a most tolerant, most free, and most politically correct societies of all, the left insists that those issues have never been as critical.  Perpetual war must continue.

The figure of Joe Biden, a  privileged white patriarch presented as a main fighter for social justice, is already found too controversial by “social justice warriors.”  But for the Democrats, the end justifies the means, even if they are blunt and rusty and contradict their own narrative.

Veronika Kyrylenko, Ph.D. research associate at GeoStrategic Analysis (Arlington, Va.).  @KyrylenkoN on Twitter.

Joe Biden’s latest bizarre gaffe — “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” angrily thrown at the host of the popular black American radio show — has backfired dramatically.  Charlamagne tha God, the host, said during an interview with CNN‘s Erin Burnett that the former vice president’s comments were “just a shock coming from an old white man like Joe Biden.”  The backlash on the racist commentary came fast and fierce from all sides.  Even the Democrats said Biden’s “poor choice of words” made them cringe.  Biden tried to rehabilitate himself, saying he should not have been so “cavalier” or acted like a “wise guy.”

As disgusting and demeaning as it sounds, this type of commentary is far beyond poor phrasing or even racism.  It is a tiny episode of the ideology of the cultural Marxism and its main tool, identity politics, that the left has been developing for several decades.

The term was first coined by black feminist Barbara Smith and the black feminist lesbian organization called Combahee River Collective in 1974.  It originated from the need to reshape movements that had until then prioritized the monotony of sameness over the strategic value of difference: black feminists claimed that their experience of oppression differed from the experience of white women.  They insisted on that differentiation in order to achieve a better understanding of how the racial, economic, sex-based, and other forms oppression were interlinked and affected their lives.  Based on that knowledge, they believed they would make sure no one would be left behind.

But once the leftists started dividing society into “oppression groups,” it was hard for them to stop.  Identity politics resulted in the atomization of society into different interest groups according to sex, race, sexual preferences, etc.  It presumes that such characteristics are the main, or only, relevant attributes of their holders and that they bring with them some added extra.  For example, as writer Coleman Hughes put it, the assumption is that there is a “heightened moral knowledge” that comes with being black, or gay, or a woman.

Just like on the famous Marxist poster of 1911 called “industrial workers of the world,” depicting what it claimed to be a “pyramid of the capitalist system,” those identities were organized by the leftists as hierarchical.  A “pyramid of cultural oppression” is topped by straight white men, followed by gay white men, followed by straight white women, all the way down to the disabled black illegal alien Muslim transsexual at the very bottom (no offense intended).  The academic term for it is “intersectionality” — a call to work out each and every identity and vulnerability claim in ourselves and others and then organize along whichever system of justice emerges from the perpetually moving hierarchy we uncover.  Just as Marxism proclaimed to free the proletarians and spread the wealth around, so, in this new version of an old claim, the power of patriarchal white males must be taken away and shared fairly with the relevant minority groups.

Certainly, the declared ultimate goal of all-inclusivity has nothing to do with the real outcome, which was quite the opposite.  In particular, identity politics manifested itself in an accelerated social dichotomy and catalyzation of the differences between sexes and among races and religions.  It only accentuated the differences instead of unifying people.  

Identity politics, as we can see, is nothing but a political tactic recalling a motto of Macedonian king Philip II: “Divide and conquer.”  People who are too busy fighting imaginary wars against each other lose their ability of critical thinking and eagerly follow those who promise them victory — “crash the patriarchy,” “break the glass ceiling,” “black lives matter,” “love is love,” “beautiful in every size,” etc.  And this war is perpetual: if you are gay, you’re asked what your skin color is.  If you’re black, you’re asked if you are a woman.  If you’re a woman, you’re told not to worry about Muslim rapists, you racist.  If you miraculously happen to fit into every conceivable minority group, Heaven help you if your opinions do not precisely follow the political orthodoxy of the left.

That brings us back to the statements such as those of Joe Biden — “you ain’t black.”  This type of “slip” clearly shows the main goal: power, and nothing else.  All of the “identities” for these people are artificial and political.

Charlamagne tha God was not the first black person whose “blackness” was questioned due to political heresy.  Kanye West, who praised Donald Trump, was mercilessly chastised by the left.  The article of the Atlantic titled “I’m not black — I’m Kanye,” claims that West was “championing a kind of freedom — a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant.”  The list of “Uncle Toms,” “Juans,” “Wongs,” “Aunt Jemimas,” and “Thomasinas” is long.

The same is true for gays. One of the most famous and well-to-do gays in America, Facebook co-founder Peter Thiel, tripped over the same wire.  He brazenly abandoned the LGBT “saviors’ camp” — the Democratic Party — by openly endorsing Donald Trump for president in 2016.  For that rebellion, America’s foremost gay magazine, the Advocate, stripped him of his “gayness.”  It ran a piece titled “Peter Thiel shows us there is a difference between gay sex [sic] and gay,” a sub-banner of which inquired, “When you abandon numerous aspects of queer identity, are you still LGBT?”

It would be discriminatory not use the same tactics on women who challenge the Democrats’ “pro-women” agenda.  From pro-life activists to athletes rejecting body-positivity and men competing against women, from conservative pop singers and actresses to politicians opposing “gender reassignment” for toddlers to our magnificent first lady — the Democrats, and especially female Democrats who propagate a global sisterhood, shame and scold those “lost sheep” and “traitors” as if there is no tomorrow.

What’s the end game of it all?  It might be presumed that it is a “cultural revolution,” the likes of which were conceptualized by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci in 1920s, who believed that a true socialist revolution would be based on culture, not class.  For that, old traditions of the West (patriotism, family values, religion) — or “cultural hegemony,” as he called it — would have been systematically broken down.  The idea was developed by the Frankfurt School that enriched Gramsci’s theory with the idea of a new revolutionary vanguard: students, feminists, minorities, many of whom were excluded from mainstream Western culture and sought to change it.  Back in the 1960s, it must have struck a chord.  Now, in a most tolerant, most free, and most politically correct societies of all, the left insists that those issues have never been as critical.  Perpetual war must continue.

The figure of Joe Biden, a  privileged white patriarch presented as a main fighter for social justice, is already found too controversial by “social justice warriors.”  But for the Democrats, the end justifies the means, even if they are blunt and rusty and contradict their own narrative.

Veronika Kyrylenko, Ph.D. research associate at GeoStrategic Analysis (Arlington, Va.).  @KyrylenkoN on Twitter.

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