Identity politics overlook importance of personal character, suppress intellectual diversity

(Opinion) Identity politics
Resist Marchers thrust flags into the sky during the Pride Resist March, Sunday, June 11, 2017, Los Angeles, California.

Our society and mainstream media foster an environment that encourages identity politics. For many, deciding which candidate to vote for in a political election is influenced by more than party affiliation. Some qualities that people seek in leaders are honesty, confidence, compassion, integrity and flexibility.

With voting trends focusing less on policy, the catalyst that is springing candidates into political positions is increasingly influenced by the personal qualities they possess, such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. Some people are beginning to allow these factors to play a more significant role in who they cast their ballots for, which can be seen in recent voting trends. A large portion of voters are ill-informed about the ideals that their preferred candidate actually stands for, and are in turn casting uneducated votes.

Voters’ tendency to gravitate toward candidates belonging to certain groups or social backgrounds in terms of political alliances is known as identity politics. The socially accepted crusade of identity politics augments a movement away from broad-based party politics to valuing a more culturally or socially popular candidate. In a society where many dissenting opinions exist, people look for relatable candidates.

People are looking for commonalities among themselves in political candidates. Ideally, a larger base of the population could be represented by those in political office. Out of the past 43 presidents of the United States, 42 were white males. The trend of identity politics is strengthened by the lack of representation of diversity in political offices. In terms of the identity of a candidate, one may be catering to one section of the population while another group is inevitably being alienated at the same time.

No longer are voters appealing to rational reasoning; rather, they are adopting widely shared opinions by those who share their identity. Identity politics are playing out in political elections, but they are also influencing conversations within the classroom.

People may be discounted for their opinions on certain topics such as Black Lives Matter if they are not black. From the standpoint of identity politics, a black person is more qualified to discuss Black Lives Matter than a white person. A black person’s views on the topic would be more…

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