On Identity Politics

I didn't actually enjoy reading these TNC commenter posts but they sure got me thinking. I think I blew it in that post on Sotomayor. I was unfair. My worries about the reductionism of identity politics stand. And Ta-Nehisi isn't that far apart from me in fact. But it was unfair to project all that on a Latina woman who VN made it the hard way based on one stray comment and years of activism in her community. I got pwned and deserved it.

As to the broader issue, it is undeniable that our identity forms us; but it is still important in my view to aspire to something beyond it. Shelby Steele inspired me on this point a long time ago (and Oakeshott, of course); but I also read and learned a lot from Ellison and Baldwin and Foucault in the opposite camp. I have long struggled to achieve a balance in writing about homosexuality - objective and subjective - and haven't always succeeded. But the point was trying. On this blog, I write passionately about the subject but I hope I do not do so out of a sense of victimhood or in a way that doesn't assume that heterosexuals can easily grasp and agree with what I'm saying. Virtually Normal, in turn, tried to present a case that was airtight from any point of view, including that of a heterosexual.

But after I had written it as a draft argument, I realized, after some prayer and reflection, that it lacked something: why I cared, why it mattered and why it could not wait. Then I wrote the semi-autobiographical introduction. More people have told me they remember that part than any other section. Maybe I have more in common with Sotomayor than I realize.

Anyway, thanks, Ta-Nehisi, for your firmness and friendship.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In