Friday, August 28, 2015

Apathy is the Target

Something that bugs me about the identity politics and the debates around it is that the end goals of the movement are never really discussed. What are the ultimate goals of LGBT? Of #BlackLivesMatter? Of feminism? How are these ultimate goals articulated, and then how do we get there from here?

To me, apathy should be the final goal. Are you a woman? I don't care. Are you black? I don't care. Are you gay? I don't care. Some other identity? I don't care. That's not to say that people shouldn't care about those close to them, to a degree. An example would be if I'm trying to play matchmaker, knowing the sexual preferences of both matches is important, and shouldn't be ignored. In public life, however, it shouldn't matter. Someone I don't know and will probably never meet is gay? OMG STOP THE PRESSES! Actually, no, I just don't care, and neither should you.

One of the problems with current identity politics is that I think they loose sight of the goal. Instead of trying to make the identity of the class unimportant, they make it the ONLY important attribute. Arguments can hinge on whether the person making the argument is white, black, LGBT (and indeed which of the letters they identify with), man, or woman. The way I see it, the argument should not be based on the identity of the writer. We shouldn't care. If the argument is from personal experience, it may matter, but that is just an anecdote, so there is no way to evaluate it objectively anyway.

I think that a decent part of the population is getting to the apathy point. I would like to think that I'm more or less there. The problem for me is that social justice types tend to bring up these identity politics so that they can't be ignored. Why should I care more about the plight of women than men? Or blacks more than whites? Instead of trying to get people to care about other people, the social justice advocates will try to get us to care about blacks specifically, or women specifically, or gays, lesbians, bi, and trans. But not about people generally. Aren't blacks, women, LGBT people too? They aren't people any more or less than white men. In order to combat prejudice they end up espousing prejudice.

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