A great example of the actual purpose of identity politics

Author: thett3 ,

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  • thett3
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    Identity politics as a means of social control is well documented. It is certainly better for Nike's bottom line that their major controversy in the mind of the consumer revolves around their work with a controversial football player as opposed to their disgusting labor practices which include slave and child labor, poverty wages, sweatshops, etc (https://qz.com/1811305/nike-apple-linked-to-forced-uighur-labor-in-china-report-says/). Meanwhile Amazon uses diversity as a part of its union-busting scheme (https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/20/21228324/amazon-whole-foods-unionization-heat-map-union), finding that diverse stores and warehouses are the least likely to attempt to unionize--consider this next time you see a corporation gleefully promote their workforce diversity.

    A particularly disgusting example of this phenomenon recently surfaced in the New York Times. With the coronavirus vaccine being rolled out, some difficult decisions have to be made. As the article notes:

    "Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether preventing death or curbing the spread of the virus and returning to some semblance of normalcy is the highest priority. “If your goal is to maximize the preservation of human life, then you would bias the vaccine toward older Americans,” "

    Given that the almost suspicious degree of deadliness the virus has towards the elderly (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-age.html) I would prioritize getting the vaccine to the elderly, but I can see the other side. Perhaps giving it to those most likely to spread it will ultimately save more lives in the long run even though they themselves are unlikely to die. The CDC opted to prioritize essential workers. While the debate is interesting, what's more interesting is *how* they chose to pitch this decision. Some absolutely ghoulish quotes below:

    "Harald Schmidt, an expert in ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said that it is reasonable to put essential workers ahead of older adults, given their risks, and that they are disproportionately minorities. “Older populations are whiter, ” Dr. Schmidt said. “Society is structured in a way that enables them to live longer. Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.”"

    In other words, prioritizing the vaccine to the elderly would save lives, but those lives would be too white. By letting the elderly die, we can "level the playing field." 

    Another choice quote:

    “Teachers have middle-class salaries, are often very white, and they have college degrees,” he said. “Of course they should be treated better, but they are not among the most mistreated of workers.”

    Teachers are too white to deserve the vaccine. But wait! Another expert disagrees! Teachers should have priority because where else will "black and brown" mothers drop off their kids to be raised by the state as they go to their poverty-wage jobs? “When you talk about disproportionate impact and you’re concerned about people getting back into the labor force, many are mothers, and they will have a harder time if their children don’t have a reliable place to go,” she said. “And if you think generally about people who have jobs where they can’t telework, they are disproportionately Black and brown. They’ll have more of a challenge when child care is an issue.”

    Perhaps I'm a conspiracy theorist, but I can't help but notice how this decision, like many others, just so HAPPENS to line up with the interests of capital! The elderly, with their fixed incomes, retirements, and slow pace of life, are not typically the consumer or the worker that really keeps the economy going. Meanwhile working age people, especially those of the poor and working class, are the grease that really keeps the wheel moving. And we can't afford for this to slow down any, or else the plutocrats might become slightly less rich. So throw the elderly to the wolves, whatever it takes to keep the worker working. God forbid that the poor and working class get some breathing room--the system MUST continue.

    "No, you see, it has nothing to do with which groups are more valuable to capital it has to do with, uhh, hang on, yes, right we are saving black and brown bodies." The man in the top hat and monocle states as he nervously sorts through his notes.

    Maybe I'm being uncharitable and their interests really are in saving the highest number of lives in the long term. But still note how they choose to pitch the decision to the generally liberal, well educated, and (ironically) white NYT readership. It's white this, minority that, black the other thing. Appealing to identity politics as a way to hide their true motivations, whether those are fair or foul. Think about this next time you see someone decrying the disproportionate impact something will have on the "black and brown." Maybe they are genuinely concerned...but more likely they just trying to get you to do what they want. 

  • thett3
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    Lest anyone accuse me of quoting "random" wackos (Ivy League PhD's being interviewed by the nations most esteemed newspaper), here is a presentation from the CDC using the same reasoning. Go to page 31. The elderly being too white is cited as a reason to keep them from receiving the vaccine early, even though they are the ones most at risk. 

    I don't like the identity politics sabre rattling, but to any white person: you are absolutely bitch made if you are okay with this kind of rhetoric or reasoning under any circumstance. This is straight up dehumanizing. 

  • Death23
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    --> @thett3
    Identity politics as a means of social control is well documented.
    Pretty much divide and rule. And we're divided and ruled by the rich. This will probably continue ad nauseam in American politics until the minorities grow enough in number to squelch the white identity vote or there is some racial separatism, or something like that.

    *how* they chose to pitch this decision
    I don't much connection between Harald Schmidt and the CDC recommendations.

  • Death23
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    --> @thett3
    Go to page 31.
    I see it. It doesn’t appear to have been a dispositive factor. I agree that this is dangerous reasoning though. If they were allocating based on race I wouldn’t be opposed to people taking it off the trucks. These people are idiots.
  • thett3
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    --> @Death23
    Pretty much divide and rule. And we're divided and ruled by the rich. This will probably continue ad nauseam in American politics until the minorities grow enough in number to squelch the white identity vote or there is some racial separatism, or something like that.
    Yeah, I don’t know. If you really squirt at it the divide seems to me more about *belief* regarding race rather than race itself. Which does give me some hope. This countries politics are still insanely toxic but at least you can’t tell sides just by looking at people. 

    The more extreme portions of the left have morphed their racial worldview into a pseudo-religion. I don’t know how old you are but I’m not old at ALL (mid-20’s) and its crazy to me how different this country is from the country of my youth, where all the color-blind stuff was emphasized to heal the racial divide. It wasn’t perfect but I honestly feel like it was on the way to working. Endlessly litigating our own past is no way for a society to function. As crazy as it sounds a white person denying modern day systemic oppression against blacks would probably illicit a bigger freak out than a white person saying they aren’t comfortable around black people these days. 


    I don't much connection between Harald Schmidt and the CDC recommendations.

    Directly there is no connection. Indirectly it’s a good window into the way these kinds of “elites” think. Which was really more the point of the thread, to demonstrate how this kind of rhetoric is used to pitch decisions to a certain demographic. Schmidt is not a part of the CDC but he agrees with the decision and is helping the Times to justify it. “No you see it has NOTHING to do with keeping the economy going even at the expense of human life it’s about saving the black and brown body”

    Scary that this person is an Ivy League professor 

    That said, the CDC did list seniors being too white as one of their reasons for prioritizing essential workers. Imagine if they were giving the vaccine by region and one of the reasons the south was chosen last was too many blacks. Black people would go crazy and I wouldn’t blame them. 
  • Death23
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    --> @thett3
    The priority should be saving lives from an ethical standpoint. Everything else should take a back seat to that. I would imagine that if minorities would receive a disproportionate amount of the initial vaccines if they were allocated in order to save the most lives because minorities have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

    These people saying these things... A lot of people who are ambitious and driven simply say and do whatever they have to in order to advance themselves. Perhaps they don't believe in anything other than acquiring greater social status. George Wallace did that, and when the political environment changed where he could no longer succeed politically as a segregationist, he became a reformed racist, apologized to black people, and had a bunch of black people in his cabinet during his final term as governor.