The zero sum game of identity politics

I’ve blogged before about the fact that identity politics ghettoizes people, depriving them of the ability to see outside the prism of their particular victim status (and identity politics does march hand in hand with victim politics). In other words, to a person immersed in an identity worldview, everything revolves around that person’s self image. A particular apt illustration of this problem occurred in a spat between Kelly Ripa and Rosie O’Donnell. Here’s the story as Mary Katharine Ham describes it:

Today, our friendly host Rosie O’Donnell accused Kelly Ripa of acting like a homophobe on “Regis and Kelly,” when she had Clay Aiken on as a guest-host. What, pray tell, was the act that set Rosie off, making such accusations on national TV justifable?

[There’s a video clip at this point in Ham’s original post that you may want to watch.]

Clay claps his hand over Kelly’s mouth because he felt like he wasn’t getting a word in edgewise. Kelly’s obviously upset by it, and says, among other things, “I don’t know where that hand’s been.”

On “The View,” Rosie and the girls talked about the Clay and Kelly incident, and Rosie, predictably, said Kelly’s comment about where that hand had been was “homophobic.”

“If that had been Mario Lopez doing that, she wouldn’t have said that. As a gay woman, it seems to me, that was a homophobic gesture.”

Kelly promptly called into the show and let Rosie have it, saying her comments were “irresponsible” and “she should know better. Not everything is homophobic.” Kelly said she was concerned about germs because it’s cold-and-flu season, and miffed that her guest-host had made a pretty rude, condescending gesture toward her.

Kelly’s story sounds a lot more believable than Rosie’s take on the situation. Rather than engage in a long analysis, I’m going to end this post with an old, and rather mean, joke.

Two men meet on the street. The first knows that the second was job hunting. “So,” he asked, “did you get that job as a radio DJ?” “N-n-n-o,” replied the second. “Th-th-they were n-n-n-othing b-b-b-ut a b-b-b-unch of d-d-d-amned a-a-anti S-s-semites.”

I’ll just add what a wise person told me in high school: “It’s not always about you.” Or, if it’s about you, it may not be about you in the way that you think it is. | digg it


4 Responses

  1. Americans have a private sphere around them. More so for me, because getting too close to a person is also one way to take out that person by bypassing his defenses through cutting off the time it takes for a strike to go through..

    You don’t put your hands in or around a person’s face unless you wish to start a fight. And since presumably they were arguing already, escalating matters is disproportionate.

  2. In today’s PC world, it isn’t what you meant by your actions or sayings, it is what is perceived by others, even if your actions or sayings clearly meant something else.

  3. Rosie is just so sickening! I’ve never found her even remotely amusing. She ought to be off the air and working in a soup kitchen. Sheesh!

  4. […] It actually doesn’t bother me very much.  If a Chinese person did the same I don’t think anyone would say anything, and I don’t recoil in horror at the fact that a white person said it.  What irks me is this double standard where she accuses other people of being homophobic and doesn’t have a problem saying something which can be interpreted as racist much more easily.  If you’re going to offend others, why shouldn’t other people offend you?  If you’re going to say that we should all be sensitive to other people’s feelings, then don’t go cracking jokes about other races.  Ugh.  […]

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