In 2017, a white supremacist rally at the University of Virginia forced many to consider how much progress had been made in a country that, nine years prior, had elected its first Black president. Beyond these racial flashpoints, the increasingly polarized nature of US politics has reignited debates around the meaning of identity, citizenship, and acceptance in America today.
In this pioneering book, Khalilah L. Brown-Dean moves beyond the headlines to examine how contemporary controversies emanate from longstanding struggles over power, access, and belonging. Using intersectionality as an organizing framework, she draws on current tensions such as voter suppression, the Me Too movement, the Standing Rock protests, marriage equality, military service, the rise of the Religious Right, protests by professional athletes, and battles over immigration to show how conflicts over group identity are an inescapable feature of American political development. Brown-Dean explores issues of citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, and religion to argue that democracy in the United States is built upon the battle of ideas related to how we see ourselves, how we see others, and the mechanisms available to reinforce those distinctions. Identity Politics in the United States will be an essential resource for students and engaged citizens who want to understand the link between historical context, contemporary political challenges, and paths to move toward a stronger democracy.