I’ve blogged before about the fact that identity politics ghettoizes people, depriving them of the ability to see outside the prism of their particular victim status (and identity politics does march hand in hand with victim politics). In other words, to a person immersed in an identity worldview, everything revolves around that person’s self image. A particular apt illustration of this problem occurred in a spat between Kelly Ripa and Rosie O’Donnell. Here’s the story as Mary Katharine Ham describes it:
Today, our friendly host Rosie O’Donnell accused Kelly Ripa of acting like a homophobe on “Regis and Kelly,” when she had Clay Aiken on as a guest-host. What, pray tell, was the act that set Rosie off, making such accusations on national TV justifable?
[There’s a video clip at this point in Ham’s original post that you may want to watch.]
Clay claps his hand over Kelly’s mouth because he felt like he wasn’t getting a word in edgewise. Kelly’s obviously upset by it, and says, among other things, “I don’t know where that hand’s been.”
On “The View,” Rosie and the girls talked about the Clay and Kelly incident, and Rosie, predictably, said Kelly’s comment about where that hand had been was “homophobic.”
“If that had been Mario Lopez doing that, she wouldn’t have said that. As a gay woman, it seems to me, that was a homophobic gesture.”
Kelly promptly called into the show and let Rosie have it, saying her comments were “irresponsible” and “she should know better. Not everything is homophobic.” Kelly said she was concerned about germs because it’s cold-and-flu season, and miffed that her guest-host had made a pretty rude, condescending gesture toward her.
Kelly’s story sounds a lot more believable than Rosie’s take on the situation. Rather than engage in a long analysis, I’m going to end this post with an old, and rather mean, joke.
Two men meet on the street. The first knows that the second was job hunting. “So,” he asked, “did you get that job as a radio DJ?” “N-n-n-o,” replied the second. “Th-th-they were n-n-n-othing b-b-b-ut a b-b-b-unch of d-d-d-amned a-a-anti S-s-semites.”
I’ll just add what a wise person told me in high school: “It’s not always about you.” Or, if it’s about you, it may not be about you in the way that you think it is.