Ifill makes it plain

IFILL MAKES IT PLAIN…. Gwen Ifill made a good point this morning on ABC’s “This Week” that we don’t often see on major network news shows.

“I’ve spent the last year talking to a lot of people who got elected — black elected officials — for a book, and all of them talked about ‘identity politics,'” Ifill explained. “They defined it as being part of what you are, but not all of what you are. And I think that’s what the defenders of Sonia Sotomayor are trying to say. Which is that her point was, yes, what she is, and what we all are, shapes us. But it’s not all that shapes you.

“I always try to take arguments like this and turn them on their heads. And I never hear people say that for a white male that it’s identity politics if he is shaped by his white maleness, and by the things that affected his life, and whether privilege affected his life. That’s never considered to be a negative.

“It’s only considered to be a negative when ethnicity is involved, or race is involved, or gender is involved.”

Good for Ifill. Somehow, this is a point that seems to go largely ignored, if not completely ignored, at major news outlets.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.