Oh identity politics.
One of the greatest observers of human nature, the noted philosopher Jerry Seinfeld, once pointed out the psychology of victimization. His fictitious Uncle Leo habitually attributed all of his life’s problems to antisemitism. Sadly, in terms of Uncle Leo improving his life’s situation, he fails to attribute his numerous issues to his awkward social mannerisms.
Reinforcing a mentality of victimization has psychological ramifications. Consider the issue of immigration. When someone believes their job has been taken away because of some immigrant, legal or illegal, they can become jaded toward that community. Rather than attributing their economic condition it to their underwhelming contributions to society or subpar work performance, where they can then aim to improve themselves, something else must be the culprit and they socially regress.
If someone isn’t taken seriously at work, scapegoating gender bias has the same impact. Some on the right will attribute it to affirmative action, while others on the left will attribute it to implicit gender bias in judgments. Heaven forbid the disconnect between employee and employer is because of underwhelming performance.
Businesses fixed on someone’s race or gender will be outperformed by businesses fixed on performance – professional accomplishments. This is nearly a tautology akin to the statement all bachelors are unmarried. Natural selection in the business world aggressively attacks gender bias. Nothing will cause someone to look at an individual professionally rather than their gender like the profit motive.
The psychology has negative consequences. It can cause regression rather than improvement. Mental fitness psychologists tell us that a sense of acceptance can bring about a healthy psyche but a sense of rejection can bring about a negative psyche. A sense of rejection by society can be dangerous, far more dangerous than people realize.
In the words of our society’s other great philosopher, Yoda, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. Many on the right have concerns about immigration for pious reasons, that illegal immigration is problematic because they laws were set in place for a country’s national security interests. But others have concerns about immigration for less holy reasons, in that they have become xenophobic.
It’s not without thoughtful consideration that identity politics is on the verge of horror. On the left, the concept of language policing is totalitarian tyranny. Canada has recently informed its federal employees that they aren’t allowed to use gendered terms like mother, father, Mr., Mrs., or Ms. Canada is under the obligation to pursue a neutered dialect. Forfeiture of the language surrounding sexuality is relinquishing far too much of our humanity.
Our language is controlled. Our thoughts are censored. The level of control is increasing. Our families are being torn apart by immigration policies, and our businesses are suffering. It’s a drive away from liberty. None of this is to say that there aren’t legitimate issues of discrimination that we ought to be mindful. It is to say that there is a very real psychological impact to addressing these issues in the worst way possible and the results are alarming.
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