The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Identity Politics, as a title and as an argument, has been exhausted for me. I didn't really have a horse in the race, and was and am interested in other things. I'm in a privileged position, sure -- not that I accept, blindly or meekly, all the handicaps of empathy and understanding that that work is supposed to damn one to. But I do realize that my experience is different and easier than others'. As are most my friends', regardless of their group affiliations, self-ascribed or otherwise.
But back in 2015 when I saw Nicholas Christakis being screamed in a Yale University courtyard, I was disgusted and embarrassed. Perhaps naive to a larger narrative, but aware enough to know that what happened to him was wrong. I started to pay attention to the arguments being made by those who would use Identity Politics as a pejorative label, and I found their arguments compelling. But I also found it painful to let go of my sympathy for those who actually were being prejudicially oppressed.
Why bring any of this up? Because I feel like Mr. Baldwin got right down to where this entire discussion cleaved. What's now being discussed as primarily a systematic, political, corporate, organized problem, Baldwin discusses as a psychological problem. It's lower level. Individual. And that makes the whole discussion all the more digestible and compelling. And I don't think saying that problems of race being psychological diminishes their impact at all. I'm not trying to trivialize things or say that there aren't problems of an organizational level. But the distinction is important.
White Superiority and Black Inferiority as a states of mind, both.
Other details I want to discuss... Still have a few pages left.