In the absence of an assumed, and yes, imposed, identity, all manner of identities might and do flourish. We see this at work with a fundamental difference between transgenderism and homosexuality. Even when homosexuality was far more disdained in our society than it is now, the percentage of homosexuals was about the same. But with transgenderism, we see sharp spikes now that it is not only accepted, but applauded.
This is a kind of longing for belonging at work. It displays a search for a home that was once the family that now often becomes an invisible network of likeminded misfits who give people what they think they need. Central to all of this is the feeling of oppression, the validation of victimhood. Eberstadt pinpoints the beginning of modern identity politics as the Combahee River Collective Statement developed in the 1970s, on the heels of the sexual revolution.
I would place it later, but her argument that black feminists’ adversarial approach, even and especially towards black men, marks some kind of beginning makes sense. Eberstadt points out that their grievances were announced just as the black family was dissolving in ways that would soon be mirrored by other communities.