On November 18th, 2016, "The New York Times" released an article by Mark Lilla calling for the end of identity liberalism. This is a direct response to that article.
Dear Mr. Lilla,
You mentioned that the white population, white men in particular, are feeling angry, ignored and marginalized. They feel like their voice does not matter and that politics is beginning to not care for them. In other words, they are feeling the way minorities have felt forever in this country.
I sympathize with them because no one should ever feel the way minorities have felt in this country, but the way the white population has been treated in recent years is not the same as the way minorities have been treated. The feelings seem identical on the surface, but the mistreatment of people of color in this country is much deeper. You see, white people believe that because politics has finally started to cater to minorities, they are becoming lesser. They think that our movements for equality and for unity within our own communities are direct attacks on white people.
Our wanting of rights to wash away years of internalized oppression by embracing our history and identity has nothing to do with white people. It has everything to do with empowering our communities.
So for you to say that the Democrats lost because they ignored the white male is true is truly sad. The right loves to bring up that the Democrats "baby" society and want all these "safe spaces," but it's amazing to think that marginalized groups in America have to "baby" white people in order to get what they want. We have to say, "Pretty please, can you guys stop killing us?", "Pretty please, can we adopt children?", or, "Pretty please, can you pay us equally?"
We have to say "sorry" to white people because they think our being emphasized with in elections puts them at a disadvantage? How? How does paying attention to issues like mass incarceration, urban poverty, immigration, etc. ignore white people? These are issues that impact you guys as well! Emphasis on minorities does not take away rights that white people have. Your lives stay the same; you are not marginalized and you are not regressing. You guys want to be oppressed so bad, but oppression is not fun!
The idea that identity movements should be put to an end is not up for discussion yet. There is a lot of acknowledging that needs to be done for this country to finally become what it has pretended to be for so long. You have ignored the people of color in this country and their contributions to society for too long. Our education system is whitewashed. Not only do we not learn about enough people of color, but you demonize activists that empowered their communities. You want us to ignore our race, gender, religion, and sexualities so that we can be 'American'. But what does being 'American' consist of? I thought it was the diversity of opinion, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, location, etc. I thought it was everything you are asking us to be blind to.
Identity liberalism is not dangerous and it is not divisive. What is divisive is how defensive white people get over racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic policies. Like in recovery, the first step in fixing America is acknowledging there is a problem. Along the way, we have to reflect on who we are, individually and as a people, before we make amends and fix what is broken. Mr. Lilla, you are asking for a post-identity liberalism that is synonymous to color-blindness, and color-blindness is not fixing the problem, it is ignoring it.
It is going to take many more generations for America to finally be at peace, but it starts with identity movements. Marginalized groups need to be secure in who they are and what they believe in because we have spent decades trying to shape ourselves into acceptable versions of ourselves for white people and we are fed up. We will not apologize for being who we are and white people need to be okay with that. It shouldn't make them uncomfortable that we don't want to be them. White people should be secure enough in themselves and their history in this society to understand that this is something that we have to do.
We are not attacking you, we are just loving ourselves.