DossierIdentity Politics

What Unites Us

Where do we want to go as a society? This question, but above all the answer to it, depends not least on our perspective on the world and on how we ourselves are affected by discrimination. In short: the answers we find are also identity politics. With this page we want to create a contribution to the introduction to the topic of identity politics:

What does the term actually mean?  What can alternative terms be and how can common questions about identity politics be answered from a power-critical point of view?

In addition, the site is dedicated to current - including international - debates on the topic, integrating what is currently being discussed.

Finally we turn our attention to possible visions, and thus to the central question of where we want to head as a society.

Authors

"I embrace identity politics because for the marginalized, the disadvantaged, and the minority groups still grappling for purchase in our politics, identity is the strongest defense against invisibility.

- Stacey Abrams -

Identity Politics: What does the term actually mean?

 As an introduction, it is explained what can be understood by identity politics. Definitions, historical perspectives, and talking points convey the complexity of identity politics and provide an opportunity to find one's way in the thicket of the discourse.

"identity politics is the
dismissive term for what
we used to call 'civil rights'
.

- Samantha Bee -

"Without a sense of identity, there can be no real struggle

- Paulo Freire -

Debates on the Topic

Whether in Germany, Tanzania or Malaysia – there is a debate about identity politics in many countries, but it is conducted in different ways. The authors analyze political discourses, explain contradictions and challenges, but also share painful experiences made in debates about identity politics.

All of you – and much more

all of you - and much more
You are what is worth fighting for
You are the reason for the struggle
forward.
Before us – everything.
Carry each other in our arms.
Carry each other through hard times.
Carry each other.
Nothing and no one can hinder us.
Everything and much more is before us.
We are our allies.
We are the new movement.
We bring movement.
We move.
We are new,
free,
self-confident,
self-critical,
self-loving,
self-admiring.
SELF.

Aminata Touré From: Wir können mehr sein. Die Macht der Vielfalt (We Can Be More – The Power of Diversity)
© 2020 by Publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne.

"This focusing upon our own oppression is embodied in the concept of identity politics. We believe that the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else's oppression.

- Combahee River Collective -

A Conversation with Friends

In this video Nicholas Calvin - filmmaker and fotografer from Dar es Salaam - reflects on the relevance and implications of identity politics in Tanzania. He shows how the topic touches us on a personal level and yet is linked to global developments that are bigger than individuals: colonialism, eurocentrism and global power relations define our position in the world and the way how we relate to one another.

Visions: Where we want to go

Participation, alliances and empowerment - identity politics creates visions for a more just society. The focus is on the perspectives of people who experience discrimination in their everyday lives due to parts of their identity. Wishes and personal experiences find their place here, but also concrete suggestions as to what a progressive, intersectional identity politics can look like.

I begin in We

My next birth.
Freedom it will.
Be. Become. Here.

Intrinsically,
entirely,
I begin in We.

Intrinsically,
specifically,
I come into being here.

My next birth.
Freedom it will.
Be. Become. Here.


By Muna AnNisa Aikins

A Collection of Alternative Terms (and Narratives) Around Identity Politics

In day-to-day life, it is sometimes said that the spoken word matters. But actually, the spoken word always matters, because language creates facts. It is a powerful tool. It can whitewash one thing and play down another. Some things it gives a new meaning, some things it turns into the opposite. An example of this are the terms and narratives rewriting the field known as identity politics. Some of this vocabulary has passed into everyday usage, is used in personal conversations, in the media, and to some extent in science and politics too. Even advocates of the idea of increased participation and justice – both are at the core of ‘identity politics’ – use the terms, because they are bold and it is immediately known what is roughly meant by them. Therein lies their advantage. Their disadvantage: The complexity at stake in all the discussions about participation and justice is reduced to buzzwords. This becomes a problem when certain buzzwords do not just reduce the ideas behind concrete terms and narratives, but downright delegitimise them.

People change through the words we use to describe them. They become that which is ascribed to them.” What essayist Kübra Kübra Gümüşay writes applies not only to people. It applies to our way of looking at and talking about the world. It is not a one-way process. Other descriptions and new concepts become opportunities to capture new perspectives. This is the concern of the following collection of terms and narratives in the field of identity politics. Instead of constricting it, the collection should help to widen the view of what many debates and discussions are geared toward

Term

Alternative Term

identity politics

politics of acknowledgment and participation

cancel culture

consequence culture

or:

culture of responsibility

woke

sensitive to the issue of discrimination

snowflakes

considering the interests of minorities and the marginalised

dictatorship of political correctness

Berücksichtigen der Interessen von Minderheiten und Marginalisierten

moralising

considering the ethical aspects

PC police

people who point out that language can discriminate and exclude, and how

ban on speech

invitation to forgo discriminatory and marginalising language

victim identity

awareness of marginalisation and discrimination among those affected

gender ideology

gender justice

attack on freedom of speech

demand that there be no place for discriminatory and exclusionary attitudes in social discourse

dividing society

highlighting different attitudes within society

outrage culture

permanently attentive to issues of social justice

reverse racism

non-centring white people or their exclusion to create safe spaces for BIPoCs and postmigrants

 

 by Marija Latković, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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Editorial Team