June 22

Identity Politics –>Separation in America

It seems that at a time when Americans should be coming together, we are drifting apart more and more. Shootings, riots, protests, demonstrations: the list goes on and on. “Black Lives Matter,” is an example of how much we have not progressed as a nation. Politicians even, are searching for the women’s vote, the Latino vote, the African American vote, the youth vote, the old guard’s vote, the independent’s vote. Identity politics has never been more rampant, more apparent, and more infectious in this country, and it is ripping us apart.

It is almost like a high school cafeteria, where every person from a certain group is at a certain table, and there is no room for anyone with a different point of view. Democrats are separate from Republicans, White is separated from Black. Each group has a different set of beliefs, and instead of reaching out, are withdrawing inwards. There is no communication, and instead acts of hatred. In 2015, it is incredible to think that this is our world, this is our nation.

Inclusion of all these groups into one is more of an abstract idea than a physical one. It takes each person, one by one, changing their point of view. Each group is guilty of holding prejudices. Democrats think Republicans as evil, Republicans think Democrats as lazy. Latinos feel like they are not welcomed in America. African Americans feel they are targeted for their color by the police. The worst part is that many of these prejudices are true, and are felt by the different groups. The list goes on and on, and as the groups get more entrenched in their set of views, the line between the groups gets stronger, deeper, and harder to cross.

Having so much identity in America is causing a crisis. Instead of everyone being an American, there are real separation issues, real racism, real stereotypes.

Unfortunately, this divide cannot be fixed by lawmakers, it has to be fixed by each individual taking down their own prejudices, and having a more inclusive point of view. Sure, there are issues such as a declining economy, declining sense of community, and a sense of hopelessness that have a real impact on each person; but, if each person can put down their swords and execute inclusion rather than division, can look past their own identity and include the other no matter what their race is, their gender, their income without judgement, we can move forward in a positive direction.

America is known as the great melting pot. Our diverse cultures and different points of view is what allows us to be the most innovative, creative country in the world. While it is important to have an identity, to be confident in it, there is no reason to use this identity as a defense mechanism, or to think that you are better than someone because of it. By hiding behind our identities, we are creating wars between those that are not ours. It is important to know who you are and where you come from, but it should not mean you do not accept someone with a different backstory than you. We all are guilty of this, and we all need to change our attitudes so that we can come together “with liberty and justice for all.”