“I didn’t see color as a young boy and I honestly don’t see color now.” – Starbucks founder Howard Schultz 

It all started with Barack Obama. A republican criticizing any of the President’s policies would often be accused of racial bias or flat out called a racist. And you know how terrified everyone is of being called a racist.

Then Hillary Clinton lost the election because she’s a woman. Disagree? Naturally you’re a misogynist.

And when Donald Trump was elected, we suddenly started hearing about white nationalists, white supremacists, whatever. Ever met one? Me neither.

And the media just eats up all that divisive red meat.

Having discovered this new method of demonizing the opposition, shutting down debate and riling the masses, the left adopted identity politics as a primary political tactic. And there you have it.

Today’s great American divide is little more than political theater. A fabrication. And the American people fell for it hook, line and sinker.

If you’ve followed any of the controversy surrounding numerous statements made by freshmen Reps Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you’ve no doubt heard identity politics at work.

When Omar was called out for referring to the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks in what many considered flippant and disrespectful language, her fellow Dems quickly came to her defense, citing her color, gender and religion as the reason for the backlash.

Tlaib called taking Omar’s statement out of context a “pure racist act” while Ocasio-Cortez said the backlash was “an incitement of violence” against women of color. Of course there was also the now ubiquitous “We speak truth to power.” Yawn.

In an appearance on Stephen Colbert, Omar said, “people say that because I’m a Muslim, I’m an immigrant, I’m a refugee, that I can’t have any loyalty to our country.” To which Colbert added, “I think because you’re a Muslim, because you’re a woman, because you’re a person of color you’re given less latitude than someone like me.”

Or maybe, just maybe, people simply don’t like the words that come out of Omar’s mouth. Nah, that’s just too logical. Too simple. Too obvious. And not at all helpful to the progressive cause.

Incidentally, here’s Omar’s statement in context:

“Here’s the truth: far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and then all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

CAIR was founded long before 9/11 but that’s neither here nor there. Omar’s 20-minute speech was indeed consistent with fighting for the rights of Muslim Americans to be treated like everyone else. But is it true that Muslims have been unfairly persecuted since 9/11 or is that just more identity politics at work?

Let’s see. Travel restrictions on those entering the U.S. from certain nations – the so-called Muslim ban – were related to lack of security at their point of origin, not religion. Actually Trump restricted the same countries that Obama had. Ironically, Omar’s parents fled one of those nations, which is how she came to America. So that’s a whole lotta nada.

What about the increase in hate crimes we keep hearing about ad nauseam? That may very well be related to an increase in the number of reporting agencies and changes to the types of crimes included in the FBI’s annual report.

I’ve looked at the data and really can’t tell if hate crimes have risen or not. It would be nice if the FBI didn’t move the goalposts every year. I guess that would make it too easy to actually learn something useful from the data.

Regardless, the data clearly shows that hate crimes are primarily against blacks and Jews, not Muslims. Of 7,175 hate crimes reported in 2017, 2,013 were aimed at blacks, 938 at Jews and 273 at Muslims. So I’m not really sure there ever was a virtuous context to take Omar’s 9/11 comments out of in the first place.  

You’ve heard Omar’s truth. Now here’s mine: Like Starbucks founder Howard Schultz – who grew up not far from where I did in Brooklyn – I’m colorblind, gender blind, sexuality blind, everything blind. Been that way my entire life. And I’m not sure I’ve known anyone in the last 50 years who sees it differently.

Anyhow, I’m sick of all the identity politics BS. I won’t stand for it. I won’t kowtow to it. And neither should anyone else.    

Image credit YouTube / CBS screen shot