Identity Politics Hijacked

What is identity politics? Recent definitions have strayed some distance from the ideas laid out by the Black radical feminists of the Combahee River Collective. In their original 1977 statement, the Boston collective established a simple but undeniable truth: what you know depends on who you are.

The problem, as American philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò points out, is that the most privileged members of marginalised groups can end up speaking for the group as a whole. Identity politics has been captured by elites, says Táíwò, and the effect can either be brazenly cynical – like the CIA implementing a diversity policy – or vastly more subtle.

On Novara FM, the professor of philosophy at Georgetown University talks to Eleanor Penny about his recent book, Elite Capture and Reconsidering Reparations, and how we can get back to the radical promise of identity politics: socialism.

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