In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory, the left is eating itself.
To be fair, this had already begun before Trump’s election: old-school liberals – Jonathan Chait types who believe in free speech, for example – have been excoriated for their lack of commitment to social justice, while social justice warrior leftists have pioneered new forms of political and social pressure to be applied to all dissenters. But now that process has accelerated.
The latest episode of “You’re Not Enough Of A Victim To Talk” comes courtesy of the Women’s March on Washington, planned for the day after inauguration day. As The New York Times reports:
Ms. Willis, a 50-year-old wedding minister from South Carolina, had looked forward to taking her daughters to the march. Then she read a post on the Facebook page for the march that made her feel unwelcome because she is white. The post, written by a black activist from Brooklyn who is a march volunteer, advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less. It also chided those who, it said, were only now waking up to racism because of the election. “You don’t just get to join because now you’re scared, too,” read the post. “I was born scared.” Stung by the tone, Ms. Willis canceled her trip.
It’s rather ironic that it took a post like this to teach Willis that her side sees people in terms of group rather than as individuals, particularly since Willis lamented, “This is a women’s march. We’re supposed to be allies in equal pay, marriage, adoption. Why is it now about, ‘White women don’t understand black women?’”
Because, Ms. Willis, it turns out that when you see people as terms of groups, a hierarchy of victimhood breaks out. You will be classified according to your highest victim status on the hierarchy. Women rank below black people on that hierarchy, and thus Willis is a victimizer rather than a member of the victimized. White women like Willis learned this the hard way from this march:
A debate then ensued about whether white women were just now experiencing what minority women experience daily, or were having a hard time yielding control. A young white woman from Baltimore wrote with bitterness that white women who might have been victims of rape and abuse were being “asked to check their privilege,” a catchphrase that refers to people acknowledging their advantages, but which even some liberal women find unduly confrontational.
If all of this sounds rather, well, racist and sexist, that’s because it is. But the left is blind to its own racism and sexism and divisiveness. That’s why Hillary Clinton can lament unconscious bias among racist Americans, yet get away with the overt racism of releasing a list of cabinet picks including “EPA: Likely an African American (and/or at Education).”
And it’s that double standard that so frustrates Americans. Identity politics means that sooner or later, your identity will be trumped by another identity – and that means that you’ll be seen as a lesser individual for reasons beyond your control. Americans – even leftists Americans like Willis – probably won’t like that.
So the left will eat itself. Perhaps we can thank Trump for demonstrating to the left that their fellows aren’t as interested in warring against conservatism as they are warring against members of all out-groups to which they don’t belong.