Identity politics argued that real diversity, real democracy, was only possible when everyone had a seat at the table. Feminists argued that girls had to see women in positions of authority and decision-making; Civil rights advocates pushed for the same goals ,except that they wanted children of color to see black and brown people in positions of authority and decision-making. All wanted real-life role models for the next generations to inspire possibility and achievement. We established women’s studies and African American studies at universities , followed closely by Latino studies and gay and gender studies. The explicit goal was to transform and integrate the curriculum across all disciplines. Corporations put women and minorities on their boards, at least in token numbers. Then something bad happened.
On campuses across the country, these programs became ghettoized;instead of mandating a universal transformation of curriculum, departments created one or two specialized courses while programs like women’s studies engaged in department building; companies made sure that the old guard stayed in the majority. Municipal jurisdictions went from all white to all black; few were able to really integrate and work together. It was a zero sum game. You owned it all or you owned nothing.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign tried to motivate young women to vote for her because she was a woman—the total denial of the idea that gender should not matter, but credentials and abilities should be the deciding factors. Trump appealed to white supremacists to maintain his power base. The international community cannot even come together to solve Covid-19 or Climate Change.
It is critical, essential, crucial, and vital that we model for the next generations by whites and people of color working together and sharing power;,women and men acknowledging their similarities and celebrating their differences, and people of all religions not just tolerating but embracing the other.
Never mind the next few generations because, at this rate, we won’t make it to the 22nd century.