The War On Identity

Gayocons and Heteroprogs Launch a New Assault on the Politics of Diversity

Hurling the charge of masochism at one's less power-mad opponent is an old macho reflex on the left. But it has no bearing on the rebellion against Green. Though power was lost, change was (hopefully) gained.

For that matter, how can Alterman claim identity politics brought Green down? He got the black vote, the gay vote, and (albeit barely) the women's vote. Without these constituencies, Green would have lost by a landslide. As for Latinos, they used the same tactics ethnic groups have always relied on when they were shut out of government and patronage. Back before LaGuardia, Italians became Republicans largely because the Democratic machine was controlled by the Irish. It was an effective response to an unjust hierarchy—and no one calls it identity politics.

The irony is that, given a politician who knows how to navigate its shoals, diversity is one of the Democrats' most potent organizing tools. It's understandable that Republicans would want to disable it, and that they would use the current crisis to this end. But why do (some) heteroprogs see red the way gayocons see red, white, and blue? Because for some people, the anxiety aroused by this brave new world overwhelms clarity. For the rest of us, however, the question remains: Who is the We in "United We Stand," and what is the price of unity?

Illustration by Anthony Freda

Research: Adrian Leung and Gretchen Dubrowski

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