The implication of this usage (which is widespread, and by no means limited to people who agree with Chait) is that somehow an identity is something only women or African-Americans or perhaps LGBT people have. White men just have ideas about politics that spring from a realm of pure reason, with concerns that are by definition universal.

[…] Not addressing a racially discriminatory status quo in policing is itself a choice. Indeed, it’s a kind of identity group appeal — to white people, whose preferred means of striking the balance between liberty and security, in many contexts, is that security should be achieved by depriving other people of their civil liberties.

This is where the at-times tiresome concept of privilege becomes very useful. The truth is that almost all politics is, on some level, about identity. But those with the right identities have the privilege of simply calling it politics while labeling other people’s agendas “identity.”

[…] All politics is, on some level, identity politics. The idea that it’s some special attribute of black politics or feminist politics is just blindness. And while identity politics can be practiced in bad ways or in pursuit of bad goals, that’s simply to say that politics can be practiced both for good and for ill. The idea that gendered or ethnic claims are despoiling a liberalism of pure selves and neutral rationality is little more than an unselfconscious form of identity politics. Politics is about collective decisions. This necessarily implicates individuals’ identities by defining who is inside and who is outside the community of concern and under what terms.”

- Matthew Yglesias, All politics is identity politics - Vox (via brutereason)

(Orig. reblogged on tumblr.feimineach)