We Can’t Go Back to the ‘80s:
White Delusions About Identity Politics
“[I]dentity alone should neither uphold nor invalidate an idea, or we’ve lost the Enlightenment to pure tribalism.”
That’s the cry of journalist George Packer, a distraught liberal who can’t believe identity politics ruined his kids’ school system. In a widely-discussed Atlantic essay, Packer described the problems New York’s white elite have with their children’s education. Part of the essay laments the insane rat race white liberals have to compete in to get their kids into a good school. The other part is a critique of the minority identity politics espoused in these schools.
Packer, like a number of older white liberals, thinks identity politics has gone too far and wants a return to the “post-racial” promise of Obama. But those days are never coming back. Identity politics is the natural course for multicultural America. It can only be avoided in a homogeneous society where citizens trust one another. 2019 America is the opposite of that society. All criticisms of identity politics fail to understand these truths and suffer from colorblind delusions.
Packer’s milieu celebrates diversity as the highest good and wants their kids to be surrounded by non-whites – but only the good ones, and not too many of them. They all fear their kids being assigned to a “bad” school. Packer is a committed liberal who boasts of his kids’ multiracial friends and woke politics.
Yet, Packer is disturbed by what he has seen over the past five years: His kids’ education heavily emphasizes slavery and colonialism, but ignores civics; white privilege indoctrination is everywhere; Left-wing activism is championed as the epitome of virtue; and racial identity is encouraged, with some schools dividing students into race groups. The elementary school Packer’s son went to made all bathrooms gender-neutral to accommodate one trans student.
But Packer is most outraged by the abandonment of meritocracy. He can’t believe schools would drop standardized testing and other basic academic requirements. He knows whites and Asians do best in these categories, and that it makes schools less diverse; he just wants the diversity and the meritocracy. By contrast, New York City’s progressive leaders have decided diversity is more important than merit.
This has made Packer wary of identity politics. While he fawns over diversity and insists his kids need to be surrounded by a comfortable number of non-whites, he’s had enough of the race talk. He was disturbed when his daughter told him she wishes she wasn’t white because of slavery.
He sees this as a new phenomenon – claiming he began noticing it in 2014 – and defines it as a dangerous aberration of the American project:
In politics, identity is an appeal to authority – the moral authority of the oppressed: I am what I am, which explains my view and makes it the truth. The politics of identity starts out with the universal principles of equality, dignity, and freedom, but in practice it becomes an end in itself – often a dead end, a trap from which there’s no easy escape and maybe no desire for escape. Instead of equality, it sets up a new hierarchy that inverts the old, discredited one – a new moral caste system that ranks people by the oppression of their group identity. It makes race, which is a dubious and sinister social construct, an essence that defines individuals regardless of agency or circumstance – as when Representative Ayanna Pressley said, “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice; we don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.”
Identity is foreign to Packer because, as a white liberal, he’s never needed one. Only hicks see white identity as something important. He blames his fellow white liberals for this upsurge. Surveys do show that white progressives are more likely to support political correctness, blame problems on systemic racism, and support increased immigration than any other group. But Packer fails to understand that all non-white groups have strong racial identities; identity politics is not imposed on them by wacky whites.
The Atlantic writer doesn’t offer a real alternative to the current climate. The only thing he offers is a plea for civics education and standardized testing. The meritocracy’s existence must be secured.
The essay is typical of the thriving genre of identity politics discontent. Conservatives, centrists, and certain liberals all hate identity politics. Each persuasion imagines America once was a land free of identity politics. They endlessly chant Martin Luther King’s worn-out dream that every man should be judged by his character, and not by his color. Conservatives truly believe America didn’t see race from the end of segregation until the 2016 election. Centrists and liberals believe race was a factor in that time, but the country was progressing to a post-racial utopia – just look at the election of Barack Hussein Obama, after all.
That dream was fully dashed by Donald Trump’s election. Now race dominates the national discourse, and identity is everywhere. Critics of identity politics wish for a return to the glorious aughts and its less-pushy multiracialism. Conservatives want George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism that only whites support, despite the fact that it bows its head in the face of non-whites. And anti-identitarian liberals just want 2008 Obama back: The articulate black guy who didn’t berate them for being white. The conservative solution to identity politics is to ignore race and return to a colorblind past that never existed. The liberal solution is to make identity politics civil and less threatening to the meritocracy.
Both sides deny the “white” implications of their views. Conservatives celebrate the Founding, yet refuse to accept the Founders’ belief that America was a white man’s country. They ignore the demographics that made the 1950s the paradise they wish to return to. Liberals love the meritocracy as the great equalizer, yet think whites and Asians doing best is a minor error. They refuse to see whites and Asians as inherently smarter, and think more education is the answer to racial disparities.
Neither solution will appeal to non-whites. The rising minority tide doesn’t want to return to the colorblind ‘80s or uphold the meritocracy that denies them entry. They want to tear it all down and crush whites under America’s alleged sins. Politics is a contest for power. Identity politics gives non-whites an advantage in that contest, and there is no reason for them to relinquish it for the sake of wealthy white liberals.
These delusions about identity politics really emerge when critics seek to find its root causes. Packer blames Left-wing disappointment with Obama rather than demographics. And in her new book about identity politics, Mary Eberstadt blames the sexual revolution:
Yes, racism, sexism and other forms of cruelty exist, and are always to be deplored and countered. At the same time, the timeline of identity politics suggest another source. Up until the middle of the twentieth century (and barring the frequent foreshortening of life by disease or nature) human expectations remained largely the same throughout the ages: that one would grow up to have children and a family; that parents and siblings and extended family would remain one’s primal community; and that, conversely, it was a tragedy not to be part of a family. The post-1960s order of sexual consumerism has upended every one of these expectations.
Eberstadt’s analysis explains anomie, not identity politics. Historically, strong extended families upheld ethnic identity. Parents encouraged their kids to marry people like themselves and remain true to their community. Blacks still had high racial consciousness when they had stronger families. Whites have less ethnic consciousness than they did in the pre-sexual revolution era. Families were never islands that formed the entirety of a person’s identity. Eberstadt’s theory is silly and falls apart with the slightest scrutiny.
Critiques of identity politics are not worthless, however; they are baby steps in the direction of identitarianism. These articles confirm white fears that something is going wrong and that non-whites are demanding too much. Most of the time, in fact, these articles and books confirm the existence of anti-white racism. Douglas Murray’s latest book, The Madness of Crowds, longs for MLK’s dream while detailing the anti-white racism of minority identity politics. The book argues that whiteness is now a crime thanks to identity politics. Murray’s take is cringey, but his book furthers the cause nonetheless.
This criticism is just a step in the right direction. The real red pill is that identity politics is natural and inevitable in our diverse society. Instead of demanding that non-whites to erase their identities, whites should assert our own and fight for our interests. The new America requires us to do this. No one else is dumb enough to buy the colorblind nonsense of affluent liberals and bamboozled conservatives.
White identity politics is the only solution. Good riddance to MLK’s dream.
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I think Mr. Hampton is right: These complaints by whites about identity politics show a glimmer of awareness. It should be easy to show such people that there is no going back, and whites’ only recourse is to embrace white identity politics and advocate for their own group interests.
Understanding why we got to this point, that it was inevitable given increased diversity and racial differences, helped me to see the light when I became alarmed about the rise of identity politics many years ago.
Sure, these articles/books by leftists are a step in the right direction. But I was thinking these things in the late 1980s as a liberal kid from a nearly all-white town suddenly put into contact with many blacks (in the military). Anti-white racism is only going to grow and get a lot worse. The fact is, we needed these elite whites to wake up 50 years ago (or more).
Oh well, at least we know and are prepared for what is coming. Mr. Packer and Mr. Murray are in for some unpleasantness in the years/decades ahead.
Except for White Identity politics, Identity Politics is Anti-White. Anti-White politics creates an ant-Anti-White backlash, which is emerging but, as seen from the examples in this essay, inchoate and will likely remain so as long as explicit White Nationalist ideas are kept hidden from view.
One the liberal elite are sandwiched between the demands of anti-White identitarians and White identitarians, the real fun begins for them.
George Packer sounds like a marrano jew! Poor stupid liberals think that in every non-white there is a white person trying to get out, that is blatant arrogance, and vanity.
George Packer’s father is Jewish. He’s not a white liberal.
He’s a jew running his “crypsis” game!
Class identity is central to white liberals and progressives, which is why they are scared at the loss of meritocracy. If George Packer can’t find a good school in NYC, he should leave NYC. But being in the city (and not with rubes in the country) is part and parcel of white “cognitive elite” class identity.
Wait until this Packer guy finds out he us only allowed to exist to pay the property tax to keep the charade funded.
White liberals can’t recognize the world will soon pass them by. One wonders if the Democratic Party will continue to allow whites into positions of power, or, as the article demonstrates, try to squeeze whites out in the name of diversity. There is clearly an ongoing tug of war in the Democratic Party about white people. The DNC is purging whites.
Yet, liberal whites are doubling down on antiwhite identity politics because they feel moral when they do so. Being victimized by non-whites, but a saints martyrdom… But inversely it is the perpetrator who is to be martyred and the victim of who gets saved. Both sides benefit from this relationship. White liberals get to feel morally Superior and non-whites get material benefits.
How can you have a conversation when people think they are moral in this above arrangement.
God help their children, who are already being cast into the cannibal’s pot with non-whites to signal their status and tolerance.
Packer is the exception.
I just don’t see left-wing liberals coming back to reality.
This issue of white identity politics is crucial, and we make mistakes when we do things to discourage whites from understanding it. We won’t win by trying to create National Socialists or Neo-Confederates. That turns many more whites away than it attracts, and for good reasons. We succeed when more whites who are reasonable people start understanding that whites are under attack no matter how accommodating they are. And they don’t need to be “Nazis” to defend themselves, their children and their ancestors.
I agree with much of your comment. I just have to add one thing:
And where do you think the original Nazis came from? They sure weren’t raised that way. There was no National Socialism around when Hitler was born, for example.
Thanks. One reason for my comment was that the Alt-Right or Dissident Right or whatever we’re called today needs to avoid demanding some kind of ideological conformity. There should be a movement to defend whites, period. It should allow room for people with a variety of political, economic and religious views. Too often, though, commentators assert that if you don’t hold a certain view of the past, or a certain philosophy, then you’re not one of us.
Some of the loudest voices fail to accept or understand that there was not just one legitimate way to do things in the past, and there is not just one way for the future. I’ve seen a lot of commentators bring up the tragedy of “brother wars.” What many of them fail to understand is that, in the case of the two World Wars, there were good reasons why some nations didn’t want German hegemony in Europe. And in the case of the American Civil War, there were good reasons why many Americans didn’t want the slave-holding states to grow in power, or to break up the Union. These historical arguments are just one area where we lose our way. Insisting on a certain economic or political or cultural program for the future also will turn off a lot of people, who can see that whites are being relentlessly attacked. This shouldn’t happen.
The fundamental error of the White elite is the assumption that the newcomers will adopt their ethical outlook and recognise their political authority for no special reason. They assume that they can allow masses of third worlders to invade their living space and that everything will continue as before. This lie(false consciousness) was sold to them when they were growing up when minorities did not have the political weight to act against their parents’ generation. Everything has changed since then and now and the old politics doesn’t work anymore.
In other words, the engineers have been hoist with their own petard and some libtards are not too intellectually challenged to figure this out. However, for them to be right when their herd is wrong; is a really dangerous place for them to be.
I just wonder how many people here have lived in Africa. I can tell you, people are certainly not looking for racial diversity in Africa. Kenya has such extreme tribalism and nepotism it has huge impacts on the economy. What I wonder is, are white people too accepting of racist non-whites? For example, 2nd generation indians in the UK were a major group to vote for restricted immigration. Some cultures have no grown up with a philosophy of non-secular and liberal acceptance of all people. Thus we sometimes get inter ethnic conflicts in places like Bradford, between two different asian communities. Whiteness is nothing to be scared of and indeed European civilization brought in diversity. The question is, are other ethnicities happy to give equal rights to people who are not like themselves?
Identity politics is another fraudulent movement destined to die off as it becomes unlivable and oppressive for a nation that is diverse, but where not everyone feels “oppressed”. It is merely fueled by envy, anger and entitlement. Left wing issues usually rise out of it. If people do not like “whiteness” or any other color, take it up with our great Creator who made and fashioned them. Otherwise such a philosophy destroys, not builds, unites or advances a nation.
Identity politics teaches that whites do not have an identity per se — they have power. This power, Whiteness, they have arrogated to themselves above the hill of corpses and still-living bodies of those they have exterminated, enslaved and raped. This has moreover brought the Earth to the brink of ecological catastrophe, so the argument goes, thus it has now become urgent to confront and dismantle the edifice of Whiteness.
The purpose of identity politics is to destroy Whiteness as a cultural entity, for in the leftist world view there are no ethnicities in the sense of natural kinds. That means abolishing or detourning all traditional expressions of default white cultural activity. Hence the constant plaint in the media that ‘X is too white’, where X could be classical music, Oxbridge/Ivy League, every electable political faction, any field of science or engineering etc etc.
Because this is an ideological project to endow sacrosanctity and transfer legitimacy to a new proletariat ‘of colour’, it brooks no correction by logic or facts. Just as Marxism could not be refuted by ‘bourgeois logic’, so the ginned-up ressentiment (aka ‘lived experience’) of the new elect is indefeasible by statistics or outcomes.
By the same logic, white people cannot truly escape the burden of their Whiteness, no matter how many rainbow alliances they forge or how many struggle sessions they endure on social media or on Campus. The nearest they can come to redemption is by not perpetuating themselves, especially in the virulent and hated male form. That road, formerly stigmatised for all but the clergy, has become easier in recent times: the recent propaganda blitz will have created in the susceptible an impression that ‘gender fluidity’ has transcended and obsoleted the biological bases of traditional parenting.
This doctrine, which has been implicit for some time in the machinations of the extreme left, is just now surfacing in the mainstream. Just a few years ago it would have been considered insane for an editor of a major periodical to publish an article demonising the readership for their ethnic origin, but that is now a quotidian reality in the Guardian and the NYT.
Soon it will be taught to children in schools: to paraphrase Hume, what havoc will those so educated cause, persuaded of these principles?
Multiculturalism in education has to be seen for what it is: a tactic. It starts as an ostensibly reasonable request to teach about all cultures. Nothing wrong with that, right? But once multiculturalism has gained a foothold, its partisans then use it as bludgeon to attack White Civilization.
Effectively, ceding any space to multiculturalism is a symptom of weakness, a weakness which will be exploited to tear down Whites history. And once Whites have been sufficiently disoriented, the multiculturalists go in for the kill to impose their own supremacy.
This is understood by the various ethnicities which follow the multiculturalist lead. YT does not have the intestinal fortitude to defend his/her children in the classroom, or their statues in he public square? Well, then, time to move in and seize control of the campuses and streets as well as the political high ground.
As Sam Francis pointed out way back when, one of the primary fronts in the ongoing struggle is the Culture War. What has rendered mainstream conservatism and liberalism ineffective is not so much that they do not fight on this front, but rather that they refuse to recognize that the war is even being fought.
This, obviously, opens opportunities which Nationalists can exploit.
Whiteness has yet again been put on trial literally via a second congressional hearing focusing on so called “white nationalisim” in which we are perpetually made to feel that we are guilty, and that the crimes of a handful should explain the explosive volatility of an entire race.
Ironically within the five hour time frame in which this kangaroo court took place, blacks continued to murder themselves wholesale in nearly all of our major cities.
Where are the congressional hearings addressing the legitimate problem of increasing black violence?
They refuse to examine the irrefutable mountains of crime data in an ham fisted attempt to placate POC and implicate the evils of white people.
Identity politics are here, like it or not. Get on board or continue in silent self-flagellation.
“…blacks continued to murder themselves wholesale in nearly all of our major cities.”
How was this a bad thing?
I feel quite sorry for Mr Packer’s daughter, who apparently wishes she wasn’t white because of slavery. But I’m hopeful too.
I hope that in time, as she matures, she will grow tired of her self-loathing and will be able to a acknowledge slavery as a historical fact – and step over it.
Jonathan Bowden spoke of this ability to acknowledge regrettable incidents in the past and just ‘step over them’, rather than obsessing over them indefinitely. So, a helpful response to slavery would be to say, yes – it happened, yes – it was regrettable (see the current state of the US for evidence), and yes – I’ve stepped over it. Next question.
Dear God? Are you kidding me?
Two wrongs don’t make a right!
We don’t need white identity politics. We need to be better at just getting along. We are all made in the image of God, it’s worth making sacrifices. Gratuity is more powerful than knowledge. Self interest is self defeating.
“We don’t need white identity politics.”
Yes we do!
“We don’t need white identity politics. We need to be better at just getting along.”
You do realize that’s a two way street, right? To put it plainly, Black people and Brown people need to reciprocate the desire to “get along” in order for “getting along” to actually work. And since Blacks and Browns don’t want to do that, as evidenced by their rhetoric, their behavior, and their voting patterns, it is therefore impossible for Whites to get along with other races. White identity politics thus becomes the only moral, logical solution
BTW, this was a fantastic article, and I’m pleased to see the discussion its promoted in the comment section
“Gratuity is more powerful than knowledge. Self interest is self defeating.” – Raymond
Raymond would have us do unto others as they would have us do. Presumably we are not slaves if this is done voluntarily. Problem is if others are not obliged to reciprocate, then we become slaves to parasites.
The easy way to not have ‘parasites’ in ones life is too judge people fairly as individuals and learn which INDIVIDUALS reciprocate gratuity.
For example. I learned working for moving companies that older/black drivers just paid me better than younger/white drivers. I never once got less than more than what I asked for. When I worked for a black driver and I knew it was worth working hard, especially when I had worked with them before.
Basically when you have a real relationship of trust with another person race shouldn’t even matter. It’s pretty, superficial and childish to look at a person’s appearance and judge them.
People are individuals. Definitely most black people I’ve met are. One person just ain’t like another. It’s better to have friends of all kinds then play the ugly games taught by critical theory and identity politics.
It’s not about what’s fair, it’s about what’s what right and what works.
The real solution isn’t fighting for white influence in politics, the real solution is standing up against identity politics of all kinds. This country needs to work for all of us, not waste it’s time pandering to identities.
Raymond’s need to have us continue indulging non-reciprocating Others outweighs our need to defend ourselves.
> No homelands anymore
> No neighborhoods anymore
> No trust or unity anymore
> No culture anymore
> No safety anymore
> No peace of mind anymore
Millions and millions of foreigners entered your homeland via “interesting” circumstances, are set to replace you; beat, rape, and murder you in the extreme and softly alienate, change your culture, and replace you and you’re worried about identity politics?
True peace is separation by borders, limitations, and laws. I’m so tired of these endless moral hills people put themselves on only to look down on and be shocked to see others acting in their nature.
We are civilized but even that is a reflection of our nature. Humans will always be bound to their nature in some way. This erasure…this is not natural.
Go back? To the way things were?
The way things were led us to the way things are.
You won’t find me romanticizing the way things were. The journey from the past til now has been death by a thousand cuts.
I’d rather take what we’ve learned and move forward to something new.
There never were any “good old days.”
”The way things were led us to the way things are.”
Reactionary non-sense. Whites of good moral character are capable of drawing lines in the sand. I’m so sick and tired of this broken logic that says 1492=1776=1789=1865=1945, if you catch my drift. A lot of Enlightenment ideas worked for our race, and some ideas didn’t (such as every major idea put forth by the ideology of Radicalism, of which The Awokening is its current manifestation). But if you take your slippery slope fallacy to its logical conclusion, then you’ve destroyed all hope that exists for saving the White Race.
I saw this line of thinking being promoted hard by the WN Movement in 2013 and 2014, most notably by Hunter Wallace of Occidental Dissent and by Greg Hood, considered arguably the best writer in the Movement. In hindsight, I think it was all an overreaction to Obama’s reelection in 2012, which in turn prompted an investigation as to how White America got to this point in the first place. The slippery slope narrative of “We got to this point because history is a tape that only has one ending” was so sweeping in scope and so simple to understand that it was basically the consensus in the Movement until June 2015.
Well buddy, its 2019, and that narrative is broken. Forget the 1950s. I guarantee you the 1990s would feel like a lovely retro paradise in comparison to how life has been lived the last four years. Go ahead and demonize the past all you want, but nostalgia for a better era is an emotional gold mine thats just waiting to be tapped into and exploited. “Focus on the future bro” only makes sense if you select all the good things that worked for our race in the past and apply them to a plan for a better future.
Oh. Feelings and emotions. Got it.
I definitely agree with this. Getting stuck in trying to recreate the past is impossible and can be destructive, but the past always influences the future. The 40s, the 50s, the 80s, the 90s …they have given and taken so much from each other, they are as connected as our people are. As long as there exists a unique people they will recreate the world in some form to the images of their ancestors. I don’t believe in it all being an inevitable path to the end of White people/Europeans/Western Civilization etc. It’s too grand and easily digestible. The micro influences the macro. A grand design glosses over key moments and key actors that threw us into this hole.
But the future can be quite beautiful or wretched just as our past was and all peoples were. The only thing that is required for a possible revitalization is that those people still exist.
When people say something has gone on too long or become so ugly it needs to die…no I don’t believe that. It simply needs to be seeded and nourished again into something fruitful. The USA may die but we can survive.
This multiracial/multicultural diverse hellhole won’t last forever. If I’ve learned anything from Jews it’s perseverance. I’d rather not be the Africans tearing down colonizer’s railroads and burning books. The eternal Jew is eternal for a reason.
This whole article is insane. People have fought for so long to be treated based ‘on the depth of their character rather than the colour of their skin’ (Martin Luther King). Yet this article argues the complete opposite. Fundamentally much of this feeling comes from a desire for equity, not equality i.e. a socialist system where effort and reward are not linked.
We have problems with Capitalism, but selecting specific groups to reward based on religion, gender or ethnicity is not useful and is increasingly making people cynical.
Basic fairness requires that we are not judged, nor do we judge others, on a History they did not personally create, nor on gender or race or religion. To assume all white people are privaleged is like assuming all black people are poor. We should not give grants based on race, but on need. It is viable to ensure that there is representation (if 25% of poor families are black, if we focussed on the poor families we can expect 25% to be given to black people – though they should be poor.. not just black!)
Substitution of gender or colour for deprivation causes misdirection of funds, and bitterness in communities. It also discourages personal responsibility to behavioural change.
Michael Luther King, judged by character, not skin colour.
Welll, he sure did a dis-service to his people on that score.
While posing as a Christian minister he was
a servant of the CPUSA (overwhelmingly Jewish),
a fetishist for white women, beating them up on occasion,
unfaithful to his wife every chance he had,
a pathetic plagarist in his ‘doctorate’ ‘and, by implication, from there, likely a cheat and
there is more in that vein, so judging him by his own standard (character not skin colour), he is an E-grade scumbag.
What a hero.
I have long been of the opinion, arrived at after hearing Obama’s speaking style in the run-up to 2008, was clearly a copy of MLK.
That was not his natural cadence and accent at all. He is not stupid (well, stupider than me on any meaningful measure), but I would guess used a voice coach.
As for King himself, I have long been of the opinion that the emo tone in some of his speeches has nothing to do with
It’s all about his knowing that his pastor pose (pastor.my arse) had nothing to do with his reality.
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