Ultimately the problem with identity politics is that it is divisive politics. On Martin Luther King Day, we should acknowledge that oppression by race, gender and religion does happen, and must be rooted out, but we should also have the courage, like King, to envision an America that judges people “by the content of their character,” not what group they belong to. If we are going to condemn white nationalism (and we most emphatically should) then we ought also condemn other forms of tribalism. When people celebrate being a woman, for instance, they are also celebrating being a NOT-man. We are celebrating our differences rather than that which binds us together — our American identity and, ultimately, our human identity.
Most of us grew up reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance,” and mouthed the words by rote “one nation, indivisible,” but yet today we support every assault on that union by pitting one group — one race, one religion, one gender — against another.
There is only one way to imagine a good end to all this division. What is the smallest indivisible unit?