Image by Gordon Johnson and skeeze

It’s been just over a year since Donald Trump won the United States Presidential Election, and the predictions of doom and gloom have resulted in…basically nothing. No, the United States is not destroyed, nor is it a hellish landscape, no matter what the naysayers are saying. Now, the votes have just come in for the state and local elections, and the internet is very happy about it.

Democrats are leading the charge, and have won a number of key political positions. Melvin Carter became the first black mayor of St Paul, Minnesota. Wilmot Collins became the first black mayor in the entirety of Montana’s history. New Jersey had its first Sikh mayor in Ravi Bhalla. Virginian Danica Roem became the first trans legislator. It’s been a couple of days of great wins for people on the Left, hailing these victories as a deep criticism of Donald Trump and the Republicans.

Unfortunately, in order to elevate the voices of those who have succeeded—such as Carter, Collins, Bhalla and Roem—many have used these successes as an excuse to openly abuse and denigrate other members of the community. Yes, you probably get where this is going. Apparently, in order for nonwhite and LGBT+ people to succeed, we must insult those who are neither into oblivion in order for the successes to be considered valid. In the world of obsessive identity politics, one must always be focused on the identities of those around us.

However, why can’t we celebrate the wins of people like Danica Roem, the first transgender legislator, without using it as an excuse to insult those who aren’t transgender? It bases these victors on their identity, not their politics, hence making their race or their sexual preference the chief element of their personality. Is it not racist to care and focus only about the superficial elements of these political pioneers?

We should be celebrating wins like these, in the hope that these politicians will make positive changes to the United States, and help Donald Trump and the Republican Party make positive changes to the United States. However, many are using these wins as an excuse to inflame identity politics and criticize white people for “not doing better”.

Strangely, a lot of these people speaking on behalf of black men and women are…white people. Do they have so much—dare I say it?—internalized hatred of themselves that they feel like they can speak on behalf of all white people and all nonwhite people? They legitimately believe that the United States is a country full of racist and sexist white people who will vote for their own to the detriment of the country. Sure, there are plenty of white people who exhibit racist behaviors, but white people are not one homogeneous entity: just like nonwhite people, they are made up of different cultures and histories, not all of them steeped in racism and hatred.

Malcolm London believes all white people are inherently racist. Does this include white Jewish people and the Irish, who in the past faced horrific systemic racism simply based on who they are? This is also based on the incorrect assumption that all white people are descended from slave owners or are descended from white cultures responsible for colonization.

Both black and white people—and the thousands of varied and diverse cultures this entails—are not simply defined, and this is not a mathematics problem, where one is designated as X and the other as Y. Human beings are not so simple. Both black and white cultures—and everything in between—have been both the oppressor and the oppressed, the powerful and the not-so-powerful, all throughout history.

There are still racist white people, as evidenced by the Charlottesville riots, and also that people like Richard Spencer can somehow have supporters. However, to assume every single person with a certain skin color is racist, or will vote a certain way, is to, in essence, be a racist. Nope, not “reverse racism”, because that’s not real, but a racist. “But racism equals prejudice plus power,” you may respond. If we’re to follow the dictionary definition, and since a lot of people love dictionary definitions:

prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Someone can believe their own race is superior, regardless of the amount of melanin in their skin, and regardless of how much supposed privilege they possess.

The point of this stems back to the recent United States elections. A year on, we are still blaming white people—and the fifty-four percent of white women—for Donald Trump’s win. In the current election cycle, it means we are focusing more on the identity of politicians than their actual policies. This is not the way to move forward and for Democrats and Liberals to show they are the better person. You’re just stooping to the same level as your rivals, employing race as the definitive factor for everything.

The difference between the U.S Election this time last year, and the local elections this time around is one thing: The current batch of successful candidates actually care about their constituents and the people. Hillary Clinton instead believed she had the right to win because #ItsHerTurn, called half of potential voters “a basket of deplorables”, and still had the audacity to blame white people (of which she is one) instead of her own shortcomings.

Identity politics is not going to win you a pivotal role in politics. Actually giving a damn about helping out your community does. Congratulations to all those who have won key roles over the past few days. Hopefully you can help put the United back in the United States instead of the divisiveness that is so prevalent.