White identity politics are so clearly reactionary to non-white identity politics that I’m SMH every time I read a case study in white identity politics that fails to state the obvious. In the zero-sum-game that describes the Progressive state, if you define your coalition as “Not-X” then X will form a counter-coalition, particularly when X comprises the remainder of the voting public. If you tell a room full of people to divide a million dollars among themselves, and someone says “last names A through S come with me,” then the best and obvious description of the “T through Z” coalition (that inevitably follows) is “reactionary.”
The Left has proudly embraced identity politics for decades. In the latest (or ongoing) (re)incarnation of neo-Marxism, People of Color (“POC”) comprise the coalition of the oppressed (and non-POC, i.e. white people, comprise the oppressors). Since the state is primarily responsible for rectifying “injustice,” it follows that the state must transfer wealth, power, rights, etc. from the bad guys to the good gals. Good guys and bad gals only exist within a narrative, which is where our venerable cultural institutions come in. Newspapers, professors, etc. regale us with tales of racism, sexism, islamophobia, and all the other ‘isms and phobias. Some of their work is made easy by actual bigots making qualitative judgments based on ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, etc. But those are too few and far between to substantiate entire constituencies of bad guys and good gals. That’s why the overwhelming majority of their work is an exercise in motivated reasoning–only ‘ist things are worth reporting, ‘ism is the only permissible inference, and isolated ‘ists and ‘isms necessarily define the whole. Structural racism, wage gaps, microagressions, etc. are certainly real(ish) phenomena, but the extent to which they can be explained by bias, and/or the extent to which that bias is uniquely experienced by POC, are besides the point.
I digress. The point is that the Left conceives of the state as a mechanism for moving goodies from pile A to pile B. It has clearly designated POC as representing Pile B, which supports the inference that white people represent Pile A. The Left rationalizes the labels by telling a story of ‘isms and ‘ists, wherein A are the oppressors and B are the oppressed. The Left would probably point out that not all white people are the bad guys, but they don’t try too hard to differentiate. Plus, the best (perhaps only) way for white people to prove they’re one of the good whites, is to agree that POC are the oppressed and (other) white people are the oppressors. Convert or die.
That story is persuasive and/or plausible to most people except of course the alleged oppressors themselves, who know for a fact that they don’t go around oppressing POC and certainly don’t benefit from some POC-oppression surplus that would justify their status as transferors. White identity politics is (re)born. It goes something like this:
POC: “We’re the victims of white racism! Gov’t needs to make amends”
white people: “Well, that’s not me or anyone I know”
POC: “You’re white, aren’t you?”
white people: “I guess, but you’re the only one talking about race”
POC: “If you don’t agree you’re racist then that makes you racist. Ally or nothing!”
WHITE PEOPLE: “That’s ridiculous. F-you. We’re not voting for that and we’re not your ally!”
POC: “Look–white identity politics! I told you they were racist!”
When credible publications like the New Republic refer to white people as having passively “lost stature,” what they mean is the Left has reduced their stature. The Left has made white people the bad guys, i.e. transferors, and certainly not transferees. It doesn’t require much hand-wringing and speculation to determine the cause of white identity politics, any more than it would to determine the cause of the Negro Leagues (segregation, obviously). That speculation persists is either extraordinary lack of self-awareness, or some kind of straussian cry for help–state everything but the conclusion for fear of retribution from coalition-elite.