My understanding of Identity Politics goes as follows:
- A is a member of/identifies with group X
- B is not a member of/does not identify with group X
- A frames challenge S in terms of X
- Because B doesn’t have direct experience of X, A asserts that B can’t understand/counter A’s argument.
A common criticism, I understand, is that circumstance S might have nothing to do with X and the action of coupling them together detracts or obscures the central point of S; perhaps even intentionally. (For example, X could be “shorter than average people” and S could be “climate change”. This is an exaggeration to make the point, but here it’s clear that a person’s height does not disadvantage, or otherwise, them in the context of climate change...unless, I suppose, it flooded very quickly, but I digress!)
A criticism I personally have when people appeal to Identity Politics is that it precludes B’s ability to feel empathy or even exercise their imagination. B might not know directly what it’s like to be short, as the global average temperature increases, but it wouldn’t exactly be a huge flight of fancy to put themselves in their (presumably smaller) shoes. I may even go so far as observing the anti-Xism of B being “weaponised” to vilify them (e.g., I understand it’s common for young men to feel awkward around children, because they don’t fall into the stereotypical care group, but are instead associated with more nefarious activities).
However, I think there’s a more fundamental problem here. Specifically, X is arbitrary. B could likewise choose a group Y, with whom they identify, but A doesn’t, and frame S in terms of Y. For example, B could counter the argument with the claim that A doesn’t understand their challenges with climate change because they don’t have curly hair. The arbitrariness of the grouping, with the assumption that all people are unique enough such that any two groups can always be bisected, means this argument will always result in a stalemate.
Is this a logically fallacy? I find the Identity Politics card, personally, quite tiresome; if it’s not illogical, is my analysis at least a reasonable criticism, to build a counterargument upon?