Ainsworth: Reject Identity Politics

February 26, 2019

Watch out –- I just flipped through an “O” (as in “Oprah”) magazine and am loaded for bear.

Yes, I just came home from the beauty salon, the one place I “carry out my research” on women’s magazines, and I’m sorry to say that Oprah is doing her best to “mainstream” identity politics and political correctness in her March 2019 issue; on the cover it says “Great AWOKEnings --- the power of opening yourself to someone else’s experience.” It’s all about being “woke,” which is very, very important. So I borrowed the issue and have it sitting open next to me right now.

Even though it's my nature to be extremely open to other people’s experiences, I had to check this out. Starting on page 100, there’s a spread called “How WOKE are you?” Subhead: “It takes courage, compassion, wide-open eyes, and an equally open heart –- but if you can heed the call of your conscience, if you can look bravely and honestly within, you can help nudge the world toward a better place.” Okay, that part sounds good, so let’s get started. To kick off our discussion, here are a couple of sentences worth singling out from just the first couple of paragraphs:


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“If you’re white, are you --- by virtue of your skin’s inherent privilege --- part of what keeps them [other people] from living better? If you’re a person of color, are you aware of the mechanisms that deny you similar privilege? To engage with such matters --- regularly, vigilantly --- is to be, in a word, WOKE.”

This part of the spread has no byline that I can find, so I guess it was written by Oprah and/or her editorial board. It imparts the message that being WOKE is tireless, relentless work that must be done to achieve an awareness of what it takes to “see and say what has gone unseen, unspoken.” Conversations with those different from ourselves. Conversations with...ourselves. The “mandate” to not look away “from any of it.” The world must be safe and fair for all. Difference should be celebrated, not feared. Humans must have respect, access, a chance. (“Great news,” it reassures those who agree. That means “you’re a good person.” Congratulations.)

But it goes on. “Ours is an age in which progress is under siege,” it says, most likely a veiled reference to President Trump and all the deplorables such as myself who absolutely could not vote for aspiring Felon-In-Chief Hillary Clinton and instead supported him, “but also one in which social justice and social media have melded into a force strong enough to topple villains (be gone, #MeToo perps) and lift up heroes (go, Parkland kids, go!). In the ‘60s, we marched, now we hashtag (AND march; an estimated 5 million strong at the 2017 Women’s Marches).” Good lord. My main take-aways from the Women’s Marches were p-hats, outspoken anti-Semites, and Ashley Judd’s ghastly reading of “Nasty Woman” about blood on the bedsheets. But I digress.

Turn the page, and in an idiotic piece called “Fear and Loathing,” Charlie Schneider, a Brooklyn writer who is white (as if I cared) but of indeterminate gender (ditto), “wonders how many other white people feel it, too: the humiliation of being forced to face your privilege.” In case you don't force yourself to read the whole thing, here’s just a taste: “Many white people, while well meaning, may nonetheless feel entitled to their privilege without realizing or wanting to admit it...Imagine how it must feel to someone new to the idea of white privilege, not aware of systemic racism or its insidious effects, to be confronted about their whiteness. They might become angry, or maybe something worse: proudly defiant, more secure in their prejudice. I ask myself how I can reach someone like that.”

At the risk of sounding “proudly defiant” and “more secure” in my “prejudice,” I have to say that I have looked at this “woke” thing and the concept of intersectionality up one side and down the other for quite some time and have concluded that this is simply no way to deal with race relations. It seems extremely counterproductive, even damaging, which I think is actually the purpose of some who are pushing it. (Not everyone wants us all to come together, you know.)  It urges “non-privileged” people to address any given situation with the assumption that they’re oppressed and to see racism where there really, truly might not be any. That’s just plain abusive, as abusive as frightening a child by telling him that the world is going to end in 12 years. But leftists do that, too.

At the risk of sounding defensive, I have to say that I have always enjoyed having conversations with people different from myself, not to become more “woke” but because it’s always fascinating, ESPECIALLY with people who come from a different ethnicity or background. I also have always enjoyed having conversations with myself, because I am quite fascinating as well. I was extremely fortunate to be born when and where I was, with a functioning brain and parents who encouraged me to use it, but I do not feel “entitled” to anything and don’t believe anyone else is, either, even in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to make up for past wrongs.


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There’s no mathematical formula that can compute how much privilege, or lack thereof, a person has had in life. I’m white, but I’ve had to deal with tragedy, illness, disappointment. I say this not to gain sympathy but to make the point that everyone’s life is different and too complex to be viewed just through the prism of race/gender/orientation, etc. We all need to approach life with strength and forgiveness, whatever we –- or our ancestors –- have been through. As for respect, I don’t think it necessarily goes to the person who demands it in the loudest voice.

I don’t care about having the approval of the people who write these articles, or run the seminars, or teach the college courses. They can call me deplorable, part of the problem, even racist –- whatever they want to –- but they will be wrong. Sorry, but if that’s what they think, they are just flat-out wrong. I know myself and the way I feel about people who are different from me, and they do not.

The Academy Awards --- yes, I managed to sit through the whole 3-1/2 hours, even longer if you count the red carpet --- were less about movies than they were about identity politics, with numerous heavy-handed references to this “community” and that “community.” Sorry, but this is where we are going off the cliff. I really don’t consider myself to be part of any community, unless you mean that I’m an American, or maybe a Texan, or in an artistic community (which is full of diversity). News flash: In modern-day America, being white is not a club. I have a general idea of what’s in my DNA but don’t know for sure and don’t care. I've been witness to some racism but even as a young child saw it for what it was. I consider myself to be part of one race, the human race.

At the risk of sounding “proudly defiant,” I think we’d all be better off from this day forward if more people thought that way.

It’s not politically correct to talk like this, but so what? At this point, I don’t care who approves of me. I sure don’t care if Berkeley wouldn’t want me to come speak there, although it will be Berkeley’s loss. There’s no defensiveness on my part, no guilt, no fear. Just honesty, and fair-mindedness, and the hope that 20 years from now, this sham of identity politics will seem just as outdated, ridiculous and wrong-headed as segregated water fountains seem to us today.

…………………….

 

NOTE: I was hoping to provide a link to this article but haven’t been able to find the magazine content online. If you go to Oprah’s official website, though, guess what you CAN read: An exclusive excerpt from Michelle Obama’s BECOMING.

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Comments 1-16 of 16

  • Laura Davis

    03/21/2019 10:07 AM

    Hello Laura, I am also Laura, a native Texan, born white. I may not live in Texas anymore, but I am deeply rooted in “southern upbringing”. Proud conservative, here!
    I’m so glad I found you, thanks to Mr. Huckabee. Help us out here in America know what we can do to help you continue to stand strong in the fight against people like you and me. Thank you, Laura Davis

  • Diane Woodard

    03/02/2019 01:35 PM

    I agree with Vickie. It is no secret that scientists have determined that central Africa was the cradle of civilization. No, I am not ignoring the Bible or God but include this important recorded scientific info to have been the continuance of God's work in His process of creation. God has been and always will be eternal. His measurement of time is very unlike that we believe today..

  • Carol Clark

    03/01/2019 03:44 PM

    Laura is spot on. Oprah and all the other like minded are actually promoting separation and prejudice. There is an agenda and it’s about their elite socialist mentality stirring the pot. My skin color is white but I agree that I am human. Am I part of the solution or the problem. If the “progressive” thinkers really want us to get along how about dropping their labels. Their thinking is the problem.

  • Vickie Fiorentino

    02/27/2019 09:33 AM

    Years ago, my husband's grandfather, who had decades of expericence with the railroad, was passed over for a promotion due to "affirmative action", and that man had less than a decade. You tell me where being white is priveledged...I have had to work 18-20 hour days to make ends meet and could not afford college as I would have to pay for that myself. Yet, the "minority" gets FREE education and still screams that they want their 40 acres. According to historians, we are ALL BLACK and ALL decendents from AFRICA. I know for a fact, reading what these historians have written, that it was a priviledge to come to North America as a slave (only 300k were imported here) rather than other countries, as the others worked them to death and bought more. Here, they at least perservered; Just like I have since the day I was born into proverty; I think that all need to embrace CHRISTIANITY; it's an all inclusive club.

  • David Colonna

    02/27/2019 08:55 AM

    Mike,
    Great response and I think the current division in our great nation is the struggle betweeb good and evil. If we all truly believe and follow the first 2 great commandments Love God with all our heart, mind and soul and Love the neighbor as i do myself (yes we need to love ourselves). We truly would not have all the issues we do today. Envy and jealousy do not help or benefit anyone, living by Gods word is the right path.

  • Paul Yoder

    02/26/2019 06:00 PM

    When one (any one) refers to this 'community' or that 'community', they have divided us along whatever lines they are referring to. I prefer to think that one community I am part of is the American community, and I feel quite privileged to be part of this 'community'. I however do NOT feel that being part of the American community makes me any better that anyone of another community, and welcome anyone that wishes to be part of this community legally to join up and become one with us. Another community I am privileged to be part of is the Christian community, and welcome ALL to become part of this community and enjoy the freedom of being blessed by redemption. I refuse to be divided by race, economic status, gender or any of the other myriad divisions now so rampant. I am a HUMAN, and that is the only race I care to be part of. God loves all of us and wants us all to be one in spirit. Acts 10:34--stop the division and the hate.

  • Paul Yoder

    02/26/2019 05:53 PM

    When one (any one) refers to this 'community' or that 'community', they have divided us along whatever lines they are referring to. I prefer to think that one community I am part of is the American community, and I feel quite privileged to be part of this 'community'. I however do NOT feel that being part of the American community makes me any better that anyone of another community, and welcome anyone that wishes to be part of this community legally to join up and become one with us. Another community I am privileged to be part of is the Christian community, and welcome ALL to become part of this community and enjoy the freedom of being blessed by redemption. I refuse to be divided by race, economic status, gender or any of the other myriad divisions now so rampant. I am a HUMAN, and that is the only race I care to be part of. God loves all of us and wants us all to be one in spirit. Acts 10:34--stop the division and the hate.

  • Lorena Dohl

    02/26/2019 03:14 PM

    Love, love, love Laura's article on the article in "O". So grateful to know that I am okay when don't care what others think. Just being called a "racist" and other things doesn't make me that. Dems are so judgmental without having any facts about what they're judging.

  • Hal Baumbach

    02/26/2019 02:39 PM

    Great article! Laura's thinking is right on the money. Very well said.

  • Mary Anne Berry

    02/26/2019 01:57 PM

    Reminds me of the glass half full/half empty... you can look at people and focus on everything that is wrong and negative (therefore dividing) or look for the good and positive (and uniting).

  • Gretchen Grant

    02/26/2019 01:45 PM


    Spot on as usual, Laura. Even as a young child I was fascinated by people who were different or came from somewhere else. I remember thinking I was from nowhere because I lived in the same place my whole childhood, visited the same place, where the grandparent's lived, every year for vacation. While in the first grade we had a boy with an German accent. He seemed so sad, so one day I asked him what was wrong. He said the boys made fun of the way he talked. I suggested he call them a name in German. Of course, the boys had no idea what he was saying and wanted to know. I stepped in an told them Gunther wouldn't tell them unless they were nice to him. He had called the boys a Dummkopf. As young boys do, they started calling each other dummkopfs and Gunther became one of the boys. Todays PC world would frown on the innocence of my actions and I'd probably be expelled. My fascination with people most likely influenced my choice for a husband. He is an immigrant from England. It saddens me, and I'm sure it would Martin Luther King, the way blacks of prominence play the race card rather than encourage staying in school, a work ethic and love rather than hatred and welfare. Although welfare has become the new slavery. I picked up an "O" magazine many years ago at a newsstand. I was so disappointed in Oprah I never bought another one.


  • Amelia Little

    02/26/2019 01:26 PM

    Good article (as usual.) It's the oprahs and obamas and left (including the loud-mouth-you've got-to-listen-to-us-because-we-are-so-important-hoolywood elite) who are dividing America. Where I come from, people of all races and religions and backgrounds have the same jobs, go to the same schools of higher education, have the same careers and positions in the work force, have their own businesses. There are also people of all the above mentioned who work less to improve themselves and their lot in life--which is on THEM, not on the rest of the community. I'm sure it is the same all over the country. A lot of work has been made in the progress in civil rights, in improving the lot of minorities, and all this kind of talk is destructive. It encourages those who HAVE worked to overcome, to get an education, a good job, etc, to look around and decide it's all not good enough, I should be able to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING that could be described as discrimination.

  • Roberta Lee Marye

    02/26/2019 01:23 PM

    I guess Oprah is the new poster child for racial oppression. Poor baby!!! I can't imagine how awful it must be to be her. No education, no opportunities, no attention from this cruel, harsh, hateful nation. I should think she would want to hold up a different example, like Dr. Ben Carson, who also came from humble beginnings. But he proudly proclaims that with hard work and determination anyone can achieve their goals. His words are encouraging and motivating. The theme of the article you wrote about seems to be discouragement and oppression. By publishing such thoughts in her magazine, it seems to me that Oprah is contributing to the narrative that a person ' s future is not at all in their own control, so why bother to try. who is the real racist here?

  • Marilyn Carruth

    02/26/2019 12:25 PM

    Great article. I'm a first generation person. I have faced "prejudice" from all types of people from all walks of life. Having said that I tried my best to live a better life and to teach my children the same. It is distressing to see the direction our country and citizens are headed. A road of anger, entitlement, limitations to freedoms always ends in destruction. Thank you for your time. I enjoy your articles and commentary very much.

  • Steven Peacock

    02/26/2019 12:22 PM

    I agree with your comments on the O article! I, also, have worked all my life for everything I have. Thanks for your articles and comments!

  • Carol Joy Cook

    02/26/2019 11:27 AM

    Great article. I agree with the writer and appreciate her honesty. I just wish to God that everyone would remember Martin Luther King Jr's dream of being known, not by the color of ones skin, but by the content of their character, and make his dream a reality, once and for all! What better way to honor him.