Ditch Identity Politics

Alaina Fairley-Moore, Opinion Writer

Identity politics is a tactic politicians use to appeal to a certain group. Although many may view this as a positive practice, it can be incredibly dangerous, especially when candidates for important positions use it to gain minority votes.

Whether it be race, sexuality, or gender identity, many of the Democratic candidates are using their identity to get ahead on the minority votes. While many may view this positively because of the cultural representation on the Democratic debate stage, identity politics can be an incredibly dangerous thing. Just because someone may culturally relate to you, it doesn’t mean that they are running for the benefit of you and your people.

Candidates like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker use their identity as black Americans to persuade minority voters, but in the past haven’t done anything significant for the black community as politicians. On her campaign website, Harris claims that she “has been a fearless advocate for the voiceless and vulnerable and a vocal and determined fighter on behalf of all people,” but Kamala Harris has even gone as far as supporting policies and laws that disproportionately affect the black community such as the criminalization of marijuana, and the prosecution of parents for their child’s truancies. 

According to the New York Times in the first 3 months of 2018, “89 percent of the roughly 4,000 people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City were black or Hispanic.”  Kamala Harris has contributed to and advocated for this cycle of mass incarceration of blacks over non-violent marijuana charges.

Picking politicians based off of identity is dangerous thinking because it becomes a substitute for actual research. You can’t assume that politicians that identify with you are for your political needs.

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