Home > Free Essays > Sociology > Racism > Identity Politics in American Writers’ Arguments

Identity Politics in American Writers’ Arguments Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jan 31st, 2021

James Baldwin’s self-determination as a “bastard of the West”

To Baldwin, the descriptive statement that he selects to describe himself as a “bastard of the West” meant that he was an individual whose struggle was to adopt, or perhaps adapt to the culture and identity that preceded him. This self-estrangement was an illustration of the process that related him to the other racial identities, subjects, and objects. In his endeavors, he struggles to identify himself with a culture rendered as weak as well as incompetent of talent through a critique of both “his” people and place for failure to challenge the status quo (Mahalingam 178).

It was simply a recognition of his African ancestry as well as a step to reconcile his consciousness with the fact that he was a hybrid race that found itself in an alien land by way of racial accident. He acknowledges that his brutal birthright legacy acted as an exemplar not only in his country but also in the west. To him, the description serves to mean that the only place where racial reconciliation was possible was in the west in which it was necessary to be changed and claimed by African-Americans.

The discussion presented in Baldwin’s autobiography conforms to the notion of “self-determination” as demonstrated in the article, “identity politics.” To illustrate this conformity, Walter (2006) says that shared blackness to create a bond between African-Americans at Princeton as well as on the streets of Baltimore shares an expectation of a different moral story far from that of racial impediments (4). This statement shares a similar horizon of determination just as Baldwin describes his struggle to gain identity within the confines of a hybrid social and racial identity. This means in the politics of identity, to take the race away and what the upper-middle-class sees as the opposite of its success (Walter 4).

Benn Michael’s position as to identity politics and poverty

In this analysis, I explore Benn Michael’s position that identity politics distract the nation’s attention from the fundamental problem that is poverty. In his argument, he proposes that trivializing the concept of poverty and its extent of impact on American society was an injustice far beyond comprehension. The general shift from the acknowledgment of inequality of individuals and households within the wide American spectra was an affirmation that the politics of identity had succeeded in compelling the elites to “love identity politics” at the expense of expressly dealing with the real challenges of the faces the poor class.

He opines that the belief and struggle of cultural and racial identity as a valuable engagement has taken hostage the American debates for the last few decades or precisely at a moment when inequality of economy has accelerated substantially. That a shift from economic leverage toward cultural diversity has acted to deafen the ears as well as to blind the thinking elites from freeing the society from the realities of economic exclusionism. The process of ignoring economic liberty in which educational structures are modeled to enable the rich to outcompete the less rich (or simply the poor) reinforces that argument.

In a bid to demonstrate the plausibility of his argument, studies suggest in the “identity politics” that if African-Americans are hugely underrepresented in the elite institutions, Asian-Americans are a more greatly overrepresented minority (Walter 2). This means that student enrolment in elite Universities has more to do with economic wellness than the question of struggling to beat cultural diversity. It thus qualifies his argument that since the economic statuses of households determine the ultimate of progress, the concept of race remains trivial in the struggle for combating the fundamental American problem.

David Hollinger on Barack Obama and the limits of blackness

In his essay, David Hollinger presents his proposition that Obama’s presidency may serve to promote the long-overdue breakthrough anticipated by modern American society. His claim that Obama proves the limits of blackness is according to Hollinger, a justification that racial prejudice is less fruitful in determining an inclusive society of the American cosmopolitan form.

The racial mixing in the American context forms a basis for creating a more coherent and formidable class that unites to form an American front free of color adjudication (Hollinger 1037). In the article on identity politics, though the race was a rubric through which one could view American society. Programs that identify and remind us of the importance of groups and the insignificance of individualism were critical in elevating the concept of uniform identity embedded in economic prosperity (Walter 5).

The emphasis of underprivileged black on basis of race as demonstrated in an observation by rooks about a television show forms a fundamental basis upon which Walter denounces that only racial recognition could account for unified America (Walter 6). Representations of the white student about the people in the show are that they are not behaving like blacks but very poor people just like black students complain of the misrepresentation that adversely paints black people (Walter 5).

Though differently opposing the inherent racial representations, both students’ argument s converge to found a common entity that diminishes race to denotes challenges of poverty as the American problem. It implies that the challenge does not belong in the manifestations of ethno-racial identity, but rather in the problem of equality. These illustrations from the “identity politics” endure qualifying Hollinger’s assertions.

The shared bond among African-Americans and other ethnic groups or people coded with color is responsible for the American cosmopolitan society reinforced by racial unity. In the last submission, Hollinger affirms his belief that regardless of Obama’s social and political representations filled with color, his successes are a true demonstration of the fact that when the race was held constant, black power would reinforce itself beyond limits of power.

Works Cited

Baldwin, James. Notes of a Native Son. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955. Print.

Hollinger, David A. “Obama, the Instability of Color Lines, and the Promise of Postethnic Future”. Callaloo 31.4 (2008): 1033-1037.

Mahalingam, Ram. Cultural psychology of immigrants. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Walter, Benn M. “Why Identity Distracts Us from Economic Inequalities”. Chronicles of Higher Education 53.17 (2006): 1- 6.

This essay on Identity Politics in American Writers’ Arguments was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2021, January 31). Identity Politics in American Writers' Arguments. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/identity-politics-in-american-writers-arguments/

Work Cited

"Identity Politics in American Writers' Arguments." IvyPanda, 31 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/identity-politics-in-american-writers-arguments/.

1. IvyPanda. "Identity Politics in American Writers' Arguments." January 31, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/identity-politics-in-american-writers-arguments/.


IvyPanda. "Identity Politics in American Writers' Arguments." January 31, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/identity-politics-in-american-writers-arguments/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Identity Politics in American Writers' Arguments." January 31, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/identity-politics-in-american-writers-arguments/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Identity Politics in American Writers' Arguments'. 31 January.

More related papers
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!