Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hitchens on Obama and identity politics

This is some beautifully put stuff:

Isn't there something pathetic and embarrassing about this emphasis on shade? And why is a man with a white mother considered to be "black," anyway? Is it for this that we fought so hard to get over Plessy v. Ferguson? Would we accept, if Obama's mother had also been Jewish, that he would therefore be the first Jewish president? The more that people claim Obama's mere identity to be a "breakthrough," the more they demonstrate that they have failed to emancipate themselves from the original categories of identity that acted as a fetter upon clear thought.

Identitity politics, i.e. the running for office on the basis that the candidate is "the black guy," "the gay guy," "the woman" or in the case of Mike Huckabee and Jimmy Carter, "the evangelical," does indeed appeal to the lowest common denominator of thought. A country like ours can do alot better than Huckabee and Obama, both of which are riding on this horse with little to no shame.

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