Thursday, March 2, 2017

Material Interests

It’s not that working blacks and working whites are unable to see the things they have in common; it’s that the material interests of the former—freedom from unfair scrutiny, unfair detention, and unjust killings—are in direct tension with the identity politics of the latter (as represented in the sketch by the Trump hat).
Jamelle Bouie "The Most Astute Analysis of American Politics in 2016? SNL's 'Black Jeopardy!' Sketch."
But I think that it's also important to remember that there is a flip side to this, that material interests of working Whites-in the form finding lawbreakers, incapacitating them from further criminality and neutralizing immanent threats to public safety-are in direct tension with the identity politics of working Blacks (as perhaps represented by a Black Lives Matter shirt).

And there will be a broader conflict than simply between the material interests of one side and the identity politics of the other - material interests vs. material interests and identity politics vs. identity politics will also be in play. It's worth mentioning that factors that are working against the material interests of Black Americans are not driven by White Americans' identification as White. Instead, they are driven by the idea that there are not enough resources to meet both sets of needs, and, to an extent the understanding that this lack of resources means that as long as the "other side" is having their needs met, that one's own needs, and rights, are being deliberately shortchanged. The comfort of one is the intentional infliction of the other.

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