Friday, January 18, 2008

Hitchens tears apart the idiocy of Identity Politics

Hitchens' recent column in the Wall Street Journal is similiar to his Slate piece on Barack Obama and race but is more all-incomposing, bringing in Rudy Giuliani's Italianism and the fact that his name ends in a vowel as well as Hillary Clinton's gender in order to illustrate how nonsensical the entire notion of identity politics is.

Take away paragraphs:

What are we trying to "get over" here? We are trying to get over the hideous legacy of slavery and segregation. But Mr. Obama is not a part of this legacy. His father was a citizen of Kenya, an independent African country, and his mother was a "white" American. He is as distant from the real "plantation" as I am. How -- unless one thinks obsessively about color while affecting not to do so -- does this make him "black"?

Far from taking us forward, this sort of discussion actually keeps us anchored in the past. The enormous advances in genome studies have effectively discredited the whole idea of "race" as a means of categorizing humans. And however ethnicity may be defined or subdivided, it is utterly unscientific and retrograde to confuse it with color. The number of subjective definitions of "racist" is almost infinite but the only objective definition of the word is "one who believes that there are human races."


Hitchens really is brilliant.

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