Thursday, August 6, 2020 -
Print Edition

Inclusiveness turns on itself

Sort of like My Lai, ‘we had to destroy the village in order to save it’ 

The local  Womxn’s March in Denver drew 80,000 people, an obvious statement of concern, indeed passion, for women’s and other issues. The local march separated itself from the national march due to the anti-Semitism at the top leadership on the national level — reaffirmed by the top leadership again and again. Local women’s marches in more than 20 states also separated from the national Women’s March. We salute them all.

The number of partners in the national Women’s March dropped  from 550 in 2017 to just over 200 in 2019. We hope it gets the message: Anti-Semitism is not OK. Pretending that one can compartmentalize anti-Semitism from the goals of the Women’s March is not OK. Pretending that such statements as “Farrakhan is GOAT” (Greatest of All Time) are OK is not OK. Pretending that statements such as “folks who masquerade as progressives but always choose their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech” are OK is not OK. But these are literally just a few of the statements by the top leadership of the national Women’s March. Pretending that one can simultaneously improve the lot of women while simultaneously consigning Jews to the mercies of anti-Semites is not OK, and not possible.

Not necessarily integral to the Women’s March, either nationally or locally, was a comment of a participant in the Denver march that bears analysis. It speaks for a malady of our time. The participant was quoted in the Denver Post as saying: “I like the expansion of inclusiveness for more and more ideologies being protested.”

Once one unravels the logic in this confusing formulation, it means this: the more inclusive we are, the more we exclude.

We can think of no better way to express the dangers of identity politics, in which the “human being” seems to have disappeared, only to be replaced by a category of human being. By a category . . . Of gender. Of race. Of ethnicity. Of religion. Of national origin. Of age. Of orientation. Of physical capacity. Of political party (what more vilified identity today than “left” or “right”?) . . . Of . . . Of . . . The list grows to such lengths that it ends up doing the opposite of what it intends. It highlights exclusion, not inclusion.

For example, some members of the category of religion, namely Jews, become reassigned to the excluded category of the white privileged. Another example: Some members of one category, a minority seeking national liberation, namely Zionists, become reassigned to the excluded category of colonialists. The point is clear: the felt need to increase the categories of inclusiveness nurtures a mindset that can no longer see a human being, only a category of human being. This makes it all the easier for the old prejudices to stay the same. So if you don’t like Jews, then the availability of so many categories of human beings makes it easy to devise a special, excluded category for Jews or for Zionists or for anyone else you don’t like.

Paradoxically, the search for all-inclusiveness takes the form of increased division. The more inclusive we are, the more we exclude — not just those on the outs of the current, long and ever expanding list of favored categories, but within the supposedly inclusive categories themselves.

I like the expansion of inclusiveness for more and more ideologies being protested. Indeed, the incessant search for categories of inclusiveness paradoxically ends with the opposite: becoming comfortable with exclusion.

Copyright © 2019 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Leave a Reply