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Identity Politics Archive



August 2014



Government Accuses Gay Bar of Anti-Gay Discrimination for Enforcing Government ID Requirements

Written by , Posted in Big Government, Culture & Society, Identity Politics, Liberty & Limited Government

Government lovers and practitioners of identity politics are eating their own according to Scott Shackford at Reason:

What happened last summer is that a gay man named Vito Marzano, dressed in drag from a fundraiser elsewhere, wanted to enter the Wrangler. He was denied entry. The bar claims it wasn’t because he was cross-dressing but because his image didn’t match his driver’s license. The bar had been previously cited for serving somebody underage and were now being extra cautious. For those not in the know, gay bars have a history of being targets of scrutiny by authorities looking for excuses to raid them and shut them down.

This is an important point. Arbitrary and overzealous enforcement has been a common tactic for government agents to harass certain minority populations, like gay communities. Allowing in customers who do not match their ID is a sure fire way to invite such government harassment.

Equally disturbing is the logic used by the government to determine that there was “discrimination.” The bar, it seems, dares to cater to the interests of a particular subset of the gay community known as “bears,” or burly masculine men who prefer other burly masculine men.

The state’s report notes that the bar has a dress code forbidding high-heeled shoes, wigs or appearance-altering make-up or strong perfumes. While the report states there’s nothing wrong with the dress code itself, it has determined that the bar uses this code as an excuse to exclude overly feminine women or transgender people. The Wrangler is a “bear” bar, whose target demographic is the burlier of the gay men. What’s alarming about the ruling is that it seems to act as though catering to a particular demographic is in fact evidence of a likelihood of discriminating against others:

“[T]he Respondent caters to a gay subculture known as “Bears,” which are bisexual or gay males which tend to place importance on presenting a hypermasculine image andoften shun interaction with men who exhibit effeminacy. This is evident from the pictures and statements made by employees regarding the “Bear” culture of the club and several links on the Respondent’s webpage referencing “Bear” clubs … .”

Emphasis added by me because WT-bloody-F? You know what gay people love? Having the government tell them how their various subcultures work and think on the basis of talking to a bunch of people at a bar and looking at pictures. The preference for dating or friendship with certain types of people is not the same as “shunning” other types of people. And to the extent that there are social rifts between various parts of the gay demographic, nobody should want the state government policing how they should be interacting with each other.

In a truly free and diverse society, outlets meeting niche needs would be welcomed along side those serving a more general population. But in a world of degenerative Progressivism, words such as  “diversity” and “discrimination” have been twisted to the point of almost meaning their literal opposites. Diversity now requires universal sameness – all locations must serve the same clients in the same way. Discrimination now refers to any perceived negative action against a special identity group – such as the enforcement of ID requirements – even as the same action is routinely used against non-protected classes without fuss, making anti-discrimination efforts inherently discriminatory.

Shackford ends with the most important point:

This case is a good demonstration as to why it’s so important to hold a hard line on the right to freedom of association. The Wrangler should have the right to pursue whatever customer demographic it wants for its bar. And if the community finds it significantly discriminatory, they can use social pressures to push for change (as Marzano has apparently done with a call for a boycott).

Freedom, not central government control and more power for bureaucrats, is the answer.



June 2012



"Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others"

Written by , Posted in Culture & Society, Identity Politics, The Courts, Criminal Justice & Tort

Americans like to believe that we are all equal before the law. It wasn’t always that way. White landowners once had special privileges. But slavery has been eliminated and suffrage extended to all citizens. Sure, some folks find exceptions and room for impreovement, but by and large we think the law gives us all the same status – that protections granted to one are granted to all.

That is not the case.

From those old days of slavery and limited voting rights, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. You see, there are such things as “protected classes” which receive special rights and considerations vis-à-vis the rest of society. If you belong to such a class, the law gives you additional protections. Sound unAmerican? You betcha.

Consider this story about a professional photographer forced to provide their services for a gay couple’s commitment ceremony, even though they didn’t want to (making a lie of the voluntary part of the voluntary exchange we typically think resides at the heart of a free society). I could easily go on about how this is a fundamental violation of private property rights and a form of enslavement to compel such use of another’s labor against their will. I could. But what really struck me was this passage:

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based legal alliance of Christian attorneys and others that represented the studio, plans to appeal. Elane Photography argued that it provided discretionary, unique and expressive services that aren’t a public accommodation under the Human Rights Act.

The studio asked hypothetically whether an African-American photographer would be required to photograph a Ku Klux Klan rally.

The court responded: “The Ku Klux Klan is not a protected class. Sexual orientation, however, is protected.”

There you have it. It’s bad enough that you can be forced into service for anyone, but that you can for some and not others seems to make it much worse.

I bet you didn’t know that the Declaration really said that ” all men are created equal, except for gays, women and minorities, who belong to protected classes.” According to this court, some Americans get more rights than others. Four legs are good, you see, but two legs are better.



September 2011



A DoJ Initiative I Could Support, If Only I Could Trust the DoJ

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics, The Courts, Criminal Justice & Tort

The policing power is one of the most fundamental and essential powers of government, but it is also one of the most dangerous. While necessary to protect our liberties from encroachment by fellow citizens, police departments are also themselves a frequent source violations. Proponents of limited government must remain as leery of police officers and their authority as we are other concentrations of governmental power, although the tendency for far too many is to grant them unquestioning deference in the name of law and order.

Local police departments have proven incapable of effectively policing themselves, and prefer to sweep problems under the rug whenever possible. Given the inherent dangers in granting government agents with badges the authority to order citizens around, lock them away, or kill them without much likelihood of any repercussions, it is to our benefit that the dual sovereignty of state and federal governments provide an incentives to serve as a check on the excesses of the other, such as described by this story about the Department of Justice increasing investigations into local police behavior.

Unfortunately, the Department of Justice seems only interested in abuses against particular classes of individuals:

The Obama administration is ramping up civil rights enforcement against local police nationwide, opening a number of investigations to determine whether officers are guilty of brutality or discrimination against Hispanics and other minorities.

The civil rights of all are worth protecting against police brutality, not just those of the approved victim groups and Democratic voting blocs.

It is sad that, while there is a clear need for greater checks on the power of police departments throughout the nation, I simply do not trust this particular Justice Department, where under the guidance of Eric Holder hiring has been extremely politicized, to do so in a way that puts aside partisanship and eschews the social destructiveness of  identity politics.



May 2011



Here We Go Again

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics, The Courts, Criminal Justice & Tort

I’ve noted before that we learned absolutely nothing from the causes of the 2008 financial market collapse. Clearly, that remains true:

Two lawsuits accusing Wells Fargo of discriminatory lending practices have been allowed to move forward, a victory for plaintiffs that have accused the bank of steering African-Americans toward predatory loans.

…Judge Anderson’s ruling came two weeks after Judge J. Frederick Motz, of Federal District Court in Maryland denied Wells Fargo’s attempt to dismiss a similar lawsuit brought by the mayor and city council of Baltimore. Two previous versions of that lawsuit, claiming reverse redlining, in which the bank steered African-Americans toward more predatory loans, had been dismissed by the court.

But this time, Judge Motz said city officials had narrowed the allegations enough to show a plausible link between Well Fargo’s actions and its impact on the city. The issue, he said, was whether “the city has plausibly alleged that the properties in question would not have become vacant but for the allegedly improper loans made by Wells Fargo.”

Redlining, we were told, was a horrible practice whereby banks refused to offer services to areas because of their racial make-up, rather than for simple financial or business reasons. These dubious accusations were frequently used as a cudgel to force banks to service loans to unqualified applicants, or face shakedowns and lawsuits should they refuse. This ill-conceived pursuit of ‘racial justice’ through home loans was one of the many market distortions contributing to the financial crisis.

Now the boogeyman is reverse redlining, where banks supposedly give worse rates or higher charges to minority borrowers. But once again, these charges ignore the economic realities that drive the determination of lending rates. As the New York Federal Reserve has demonstrated, the studies alleging reverse redlining are pure bunk:

Did lenders target minorities with higher-cost loans, relative to their white counterparts? Consumer advocates have long trumpeted this as fact, using studies commissioned by their own staff and publicly-available data via the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act to allege that banks routinely and deliberately offered disparate terms to minority borrowers. And legislators have taken these findings at face value, no questions asked.

The … problem is often the data itself: HMDA data is notoriously incomplete, meaning that conclusions based on analysis of that particular data often can be missing critical key credit indicators that might otherwise explain disparities that seem to be reported in previous studies.<

The NY Fed study is groundbreaking particularly because it uses a hybrid data set that isn’t reliant on just the HDMA data; the first such study to do so. The researchers matched approximately 70 percent of loan-level data in a database provided by First American LoanPerformance to unique mortgage data in the HDMA. Doing so was “extensive work,” Andrew Haughwout, Christopher Mayer, and Joseph Tracy — co-authors of the study — note in review.

The study, it turns out, actually showed more favorable rates for minority borrowers:

In contrast to previous findings, our results show that if anything, minority borrwers get slightly favorable terms, although the size of these effects are quite small. Black and Hispanic borrowers pay very slightly lower initial mortgage rates than other borrowers — about 2.5 basis points (0.0025 percent) compared with a mean initial mortgage rate of 7.3 percent. Black and Hispanic borrowers also have slightly lower margins (about 1.7 to 5 basis points, or 0.0017 to 0.005 percent) compared to a mean margin of 5.9 percent. Asian borrowers pay slightly higher initial rates and reset margins (about 3 basis points). We find no appreciable differences in lending terms by the gender of the borrower. These results control for the mortgage risk characteristics and neighborhood composition. While many of these differences are statistically significant, they are economically insignificant.

A second important finding is that 2/28 mortgages were cheaper in Zip Codes with a higher percentage of Asian, black and Hispanic residents, as well as in counties with higher unemployment rates, once we control for the individual risk characteristics of the borrower.

While there’s perfectly valid reasons to criticize lending practice generally, and loose lending standards (for whatever reason you may think they developed) there is no real evidence sustaining the hypothesis that such practices worked along racial lines. But don’t expect these facts to stop the racial grievance mongers from once again causing market distortions with their abuse of the law in the name of identity politics.

Update: Speaking of not learning lessons, the Obama administration is taking the tried and true approach to ruining the housing market and is now “cracking down” on redlining.



April 2011



Another British PC Outrage

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics

Run away liberalism continues to drive the decline of Great Britain. The latest absurdity (Hat-tip: Blue Collar Philosophy):

Simon Ledger says he fears he will end up with a criminal record for performing the 1974 disco classic at a seafront bar on the Isle of Wight on Sunday after two people walking past apparently took offence.

…[A]fter striking up the melody in front of customers at the weekend he noticed a man of Chinese origin walking past with his mother, making gestures at him and taking a picture on his mobile phone.

He said that he later received a telephone call from police – while he was dining in a Chinese restaurant – asking him to meet officers about the incident.

He was then arrested and questioned before being bailed.

Hampshire Police said that it had been following up a complaint of racially aggravated harassment.

…“We were performing Kung Fu Fighting, as we do during all our sets,” Mr Ledger, 34, told The Sun.

Will America heed the British warning against allowing runaway liberalism, identity politics and political correctness to take hold?



February 2011



Sheila Jackson Lee: Super Bowl Commercial was Raaaaaacist

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics

The ever insightful Sheila Jackson Lee has blessed us with her wisdom once again. While the rest of us saw an amusing Pepsi commercial during the football game Sunday night, she saw racism. Here’s the ad:

For those too lazy to watch, it’s easy to understand. A woman is taming her husband’s sweet tooth with the kind of violence only a wife could get away with. When he’s finally caught with a soda, the husband expects to be scolded, until we learn – ah ha!- that Pepsi Max is actually good for you, or something. Anyway, after the husband gets a reprieve for his soda drinking, he then gets caught oogling a nearby female jogger, and his wife promptly responds with more violence but misses the man and hit the woman, ending the commercial. Ha ha, cute and harmless enough, right?

Wrong. You see, while us normal people saw a typical American couple in a number of humorous situations, those obsessed with identity politics saw a black man oogling a white woman, and we just can’t have that (wasn’t it the whites that used to get upset about that? My how far we’ve come). It’s racist, or something.

I didn’t see that. I didn’t see their races at all. I didn’t even remember that the couple in question was black until this story came up, because it never mattered. They were just a couple, and she was just a pretty jogger. Color blind.

Racism is judging people by the color of their skin even when it has no bearing on anything.  By that understanding, the only racist here is Sheila Jackson Lee.



August 2010



Ethics Enforcement Is Rrrrrrrrrracist

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics

It’s no surprise, in today’s race obsessed political environment, to find yet another instance in which race is being used to deflect from troubling behavior or bad news.  This time, the entire idea of ethics is being challenged as racist.  You see, there are just too many black members of Congress being investigated for corruption.

Politico reports complaining, and cries of racism, coming from the Congressional Black Caucus regarding the number of their members currently in the spotlight for ethics violations.

The politically charged decisions by veteran Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California to force public trials by the House ethics committee are raising questions about race and whether black lawmakers face more scrutiny over allegations of ethical or criminal wrongdoing than their white colleagues

…The question of whether black lawmakers are now being singled out for scrutiny has been simmering throughout the 111th Congress, with the Office of Congressional Ethics a focal point of the concerns. At one point earlier this year, all eight lawmakers under formal investigation by the House ethics committee, including Rangel and Waters, were black Democrats. All those investigations originated with the OCE, which can make recommendations — but take no final actions — on such cases.

There’s a “dual standard, one for most members and one for African-Americans,” said one member of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The article continues on without the authors ever once considering the most obvious explanation.  Maybe CBC members are being “disproportionally” investigated because they are disproportionally unethical.

This explanation is not to say that blacks are more likely to be unethical than whites. Rather, I think there are other forces at work.

Politicians, as a general rule, are scum.  It doesn’t matter what race they belong to.  They would almost all commit the worst of crimes if they thought they could get away with them (and many do think this quite often, usually to be proven right).  The question is, in so far as they do hold back from unethical behavior, what is the cause and why might it impact some politicians more than others?

The answer to the first question is easy.  Politicians are interested in getting elected.  If they think something will harm their electoral chances, they will usually refrain.

The next question, then, is whether there is any reason to believe that black politicians are less likely to be punished by their voters for ethical violations than white politicians.

Black politicians tend to be elected in overwhelmingly black districts, often gerrymandered for the purpose of ensuring “minority” representation.  Their voters, having been inundated with destructive identity politics propaganda for generations, have come to believe that they can only be fairly represented by someone who looks like them.  Race becomes the dominant qualifying criteria in these districts, much more so than other electorates.  White politicians are hardly ever voted for simply for being white (it wouldn’t make sense to do so even if some voters were so inclined, as they are usually running against white opponents).  The same is not true of black politicians. A corrupt black politician is still preferable to a white representative under this racial representation paradigm.

Black politicians are thus taught by their electorates that they are entitled to their positions.  Nothing they do can justify removing them from office, for the simple reason that they can never lose their color, the defining characteristic in the world of  identity politics.

While career politicians who routinely commit ethics violations are ultimately to blame for their actions, the voters who avert their eyes from such behavior have to take their share of the responsibility for creating politicians, like Charlie Rangel, who think that they are above the law.  If the Congressional Black Caucus really wants to know why so many of their members are running afoul of what little ethics enforcement politicians can muster to bring upon themselves, maybe they should start by asking their voters to care more about the character of their representatives, instead of their color.



May 2010



Identity Politics Trumps Judicial Qualifications At NYT

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics, The Courts, Criminal Justice & Tort

On Saturday the New York Times printed a collection of op-eds from various “legal experts,” describing “the kind of justice the court needs.”  Here’s the list they came up with:

  • A Politician
  • A Veteran
  • A Young Person
  • An Evangelical
  • A Nonbeliver
  • An Immigrant
  • A Gay Person
  • An Asian
  • A State Politico
  • A Great Heart

The scourge of identity politics has so permeated our society that not a single one of these “legal experts” thought to recommend “A Good Judge.”



April 2010



Is Bill Gates Racist?

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics

In my recent post on Bill Gate’s exclusion of whites from his scholarship, I insinuated that Bill Gates might be racist by saying that people are free not to purchase the products of such a person. What I didn’t do was explain my terminology, which lead to James Joyner of Outside the Beltway asking the question, “Does Bill Gates Hate White People?

Brian Garst observes, “Now, he is free to direct that his money be spent however he pleases.  The rest of us, likewise, are free not to purchase the products of a racist.” He’s right on both counts.   But is Gates really a racist?

First, to state the obvious, Gates looks, um, white.  I mean, he could be the archetype of whiteness.  Granted, there’s such a thing as self-loathing.  But charges of racism against your own kind do tend to require a higher burden of proof.

Second, the stated purpose of the Gates Millennium Scholars program is “is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential.”   Given that whites remain the majority (if not for long), we’re excluded by definition.

Both of these points are valid.  I don’t think Gates hates white people, or has anything against white people at all.  One possibility that Joyner missed, however, is that Gates might see non-whites as less capable, and therefore in need of special advantages.  That kind of paternalistic racism is hardly uncommon these days.  I don’t actually know that Gates sees non-whites in that way.  I give him the benefit of the doubt and just assume that he has been sucked into the popular culture that has come to treat minorities in such a fashion without second thought.   But one thing I hammer over and over again on this blog is the idea that something doesn’t have to be hateful to be racist.  Identity politics is, by its very nature, a form of racism.

Whites are not a minority, but men are (a fact often obscured since the word “minorities” is often preceded by the words “women and.”)  Why is race a pertinent characteristic and not gender?  Left-handed people are a minority, too.  What makes race more worthy of singling out than any other such characteristics?  Nothing, other than the fact that so many people cannot look at another human being and see anything other than their race.  That’s a kind of racism.

Is Bill Gates doing good with his scholarship? Absolutely.  But his decision to bring in a characteristic absolutely irrelevant to education as a qualifier is a hallmark of the kind of racism that I despise, precisely because so few realize how destructive it is.  After all, it isn’t hateful.  Yet no matter how well meaning, this kind of identity politics perpetuates and exacerbates tensions between races for no good reason.  It is just this kind of paternalistic racism that prevents us from ever reaching the day when we look at our neighbors and just see Americans, without any hyphens.



April 2010



Bill Gates Doesn't Care About White People

Written by , Posted in Identity Politics

This is not a new story, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it.  Apparently Bill Gates has explicitly barred whites from applying for scholarships from his foundation.  In order to qualify, an applicant must check the box for either African American, American Indian / Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander / American, or Hispanic American.

Now, he is free to direct that his money be spent however he pleases.  The rest of us, likewise, are free not to purchase the products of a racist.