Definition of identity politics

: politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group Identity politics took its modern form during the second half of the last century. It emerged as an emancipatory mode of political action and thinking based on the shared experience of injustice by particular groups—notably blacks, women, gays, Latinos and American Indians.— Orlando Patterson Although the UCLA center's standards promoted rigorous history, they set off a major culture war because of their relentless emphasis on identity politics.— Diane Ravitch Identity politics is contemporary shorthand for a group's assertion that it is a meaningful group; that it differs significantly from other groups; that its members share a history of injustice and grievance; and that its psychological and political mission is to explore, act out, act on and act up its group identity.— Catharine R. Stimpson A number of critics have viewed her work through a lens of identity politics, taking her to be some sort of oracle of Muslim womanhood.— Lauren Collins

Examples of identity politics in a Sentence

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Both men are young, attractive, with a strong focus on identity politics, strong millennial appeal and casual past work experience. WSJ, "Beto O’Rourke May Have a Winning Formula After All," 24 Mar. 2019 Fringe campus politics has gone mainstream, and identity politics is a core Democratic tenet. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Club for Growth of Identity Politics," 14 Mar. 2019 Now that formal innovation in theater has itself become old hat, there seems to be a hunger for realism and the possibility of an everyman in the midst of identity politics. Paula Marantz Cohen, WSJ, "Arthur Miller’s ‘Everyman’ Is an Antidote to Identity Politics," 22 Feb. 2019 Unlike many political fights these days, this one is neither symbolic nor wrapped in identity politics. Taylor Dinerman, WSJ, "A Nuclear Battle Is Ahead in Congress," 3 Jan. 2019 White identity politics — that is not conservatism. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Paul Ryan wants you to know he has identified what’s wrong with the Republican Party," 17 Dec. 2018 This column has therefore been doubtful that Ms. Warren can persuade Democratic primary voters to affirm the end of identity politics by selecting her as their presidential candidate. James Freeman, WSJ, "Too Soon for Democrats To Dump Elizabeth Warren?," 7 Dec. 2018 So the beat of identity politics, and progressivism generally, goes on. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "Americans Turned to Trump to Roll Back the Progressive Tide," 19 Nov. 2018 Democrats cannot do this kind of identity politics. The Economist, "What’s left?To win back power, Democrats must do things that make them uncomfortable," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'identity politics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of identity politics

1979, in the meaning defined above

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6 Apr 2019

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The first known use of identity politics was in 1979

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