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Cornell Professor: Identity Determinism Is A Form Of Oppression

Professor Laurent Dubreuil joins the Federalist Radio Hour to discuss identity politics, social media, and new version of racism in American society.


On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Cornell University Professor Laurent Dubreuil joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss the takeover of American society by identity politics, and how it’s fueled by social media and our algorithm overlords.

According to Dubreuil, the rise of identity politics in the U.S. has created a new version of racism that is already posing a danger to many.

“[Identity politics] is a way of narrowing down the experience to such an extent that racism, of course, will be reinforced. Not the same kind of Old South racism that we knew,  but another kind of polished and kind of superficial, but deep racism that will not show its true colors,” he said. 

Part of the problem with this new phenomenon, Dubreuil believes, is the strong technological presence of algorithms in our society today.

“It’s really tied to the way social media works. It’s not a coincidence. It’s really tied to the way we have written algorithms and software that animate and move the whole structure of social media, to sell you the right pair of boots, or the right car that you need that is in line with what your supposed identity is,” he said. “Those technical technological tools are not neutral at all.”

In his essay “Nonconforming: against the erosion of academic freedom by identity politics,” Dubreuil argues that the solution to ensuring the cessation of this identity-politics takeover is to speak up and promote free thinking.

“As soon as we believe that social circumstances are absolute determinations, or worse, ‘what we are,’ we condemn ourselves to the endless repetition of the past, and to the methodical destruction of new possibilities,” Dubreuil wrote. 

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