Why Identity Politics Distracts Us From Economic Inequalities

Walter Benn Michaels in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

No assertion is more common in American intellectual life today than the insistence that race and class (and gender) are inextricably intertwined, and, in a certain sense, this is obviously true. Everybody has a household income; everybody’s descended from somebody; everybody’s male or female or some combination of the two. But one of the things that thinking seriously about race makes possible is not just the imbrication of race with class, but the disarticulation of class from race. We live in a society where the struggle to achieve racial equality is not the most profound of the challenges that face us. A program in African-American studies that helps us to understand not just the importance of race but its limits (not just its relevance but its irrelevance) will be well worth the money Princeton plans to spend.

More here.