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April 30 2018

Millennial Monday: How is Identity Politics Harmful to Millennials?

by Betsy Pearson

By now, I’m sure we have all heard about how Kanye West “broke the internet” with his tweets in support of President Trump. This started a twitter storm that caught the attention of many other celebrities including a fellow rapper, Chance The Rapper. Though Kanye and Chance both have successful careers in the music industry, they also have other similarities. They are both from Chicago, and they both have publicly denied identity politics.

Chance The Rapper said it simply.

@chancetherapper: Black people don’t have to be democrats.

Following this tweet, the hashtag #donthavetobe started popping up across the social media platform. This is a true testament to the pressures people feel to be Democrats because of their age, gender, or where they’re from.

During the lead up to the 2016 election, I was still on a college campus in Iowa. It was clear to me that the majority of my peers—and even professors—were all Bernie Sanders fans. My political views were assumed just because of my age and the fact I was in college. However, statistically, it would have been a safe bet to assume I supported Bernie’s ‘Democratic Socialist’ policies. In Iowa, he had 84% of the millennial vote. In a study, it was found that over 53% of millennials were in favor of socialism.

To be clear: Millennials don’t have to be socialists, just because of our age. Identity politics dehumanizes people and ignores their own free thought. No one has to vote for a particular political party.

Since the original backlash, Chance has since added, “My statement about black folk not having to be democrats (though true) was a deflection from the real conversation and stemmed from a personal issue with the fact that Chicago has had generations of democratic officials with no investment or regard for black schools, neighborhood or black lives.”

There were a lot of assumptions in the 2016 election; from the projected winner, to where Hillary Clinton decided to campaign and where she assumed she would win. We should not assume anyone’s voting history, and I am glad this conversation has started. I think society assumed Kanye voted for the Democratic party, and now they are shocked and confused. As the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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