As The Puritan Fathers Used To Say: “Every Time A Spliff I Light, I Thank The Lord Who Made Me White.”
The blatant racism of policies like this is enough to make your head explode. The idea that anyone could ignore decades of medical, social-scientific, and psychological research and still believe in the concept of “gateway drug” is genuinely incredible to me. No wonder the NYPD doesn’t have enough manpower to investigate violent crime like rape and the disappearance of sex workers - they’re too busy keeping people from accidentally enjoying themselves.
More importantly from a philosophical perspective, this article neatly illustrates the difference between “identity politics,” which are concerned primarily with recognition and self-identity, and, on the other hand, genuine social oppression, which is first and foremost a function of action and privation. In other words, I consider a social group oppressed if for any reason, systemic, ideological, legal, or other, they are denied access to or else suffer different consequences as a result of a particular action. I use “privation” here in the Spinozan sense to mean the conceptual absence of something elsewhere recognized as a positive entity (in this case, the right to walk down the street smoking a joint without being arrested).
A while back I wrote this post discussing Nietzsche’s critique of Hegel’s Master-Slave Dialectic, which basically boils down to the fact that only a slave would consider freedom to equal recognition from a master; “identity politics” is thus basically a form of slave mentality, concerned as it is with representation. This is exactly the reason that I consider gay marriage a genuine political issue, while at the same time considering groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign to be self-serving, reactionary douche-fests: because oppression consists in the privation or limitation of action, not in the representational politics of Glee.