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

Recent Examples on the Web Uribe created costumes for the U.S. premiere of , the duo’s 2017 dance performance piece, an exploration of identity politics against the backdrop of Trump’s America. Kristin Anderson, Vogue, "Forget NYFW—Gypsy Sport’s Rio Uribe Costumes a Politicized Pole Dance at Frieze LA," 18 Feb. 2020 London Latinx are also coming together during a time strongly informed by evolutions in U.S. identity politics that didn’t exist 60 years ago. Washington Post, "A Latinx New Yorker feels at home in a Latinx community searching for its identity in London," 7 Feb. 2020 Not long ago, Lind’s restrictionist stance on unskilled immigration and his egalitarian critique of identity politics had a natural home in the labor wing of the Democratic party. Samuel Hammond, National Review, "The Return of Class Conflict," 6 Feb. 2020 With little fanfare, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union on Friday, entering into the deep unknown after three years of opposing identity politics over Brexit and tense negotiations. Fox News, "Brexit is official: UK leaves European Union," 1 Feb. 2020 Last week, Hostin affirmed her support for identity politics while her fellow co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Meghan McCain disagreed. John Gage, Washington Examiner, "The View co-host: Trump team used 'racist dog whistle' during impeachment defense," 28 Jan. 2020 But Americans can and should look past shallow identity politics. WSJ, "Can a Woman Win in 2020?," 21 Jan. 2020 If Christopher Caldwell’s new book is any indicator, the movement is only headed deeper into gloom, resentment and white identity politics. Jonathan Rauch, New York Times, "Did the Civil Rights Movement Go Wrong?," 17 Jan. 2020 Warren’s closing message seems risky for two reasons: One, her decision to effectively abandon Medicare for All in favor of identity politics could allow Sanders to consolidate support among very liberal voters who care more about policy. John Mccormack, National Review, "Bernie Sanders’s Youth Movement," 17 Jan. 2020

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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The first known use of identity politics was in 1979

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Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Identity politics.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/identity%20politics. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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