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The Diversity Hustle

There is only one thing more reprehensible than overt racism and that is exploiters who use the pains of marginalized people to advance their own agendas. There is a reason I find myself being more and more repulsed by Democrats, I’ve come to accept the mendacity of Republicans, however the hypocrisy of Democrats and their enablers in mainstream media is something that truly gets under my collar.

A few hours ago, Nancy Pelosi reclaimed the Speaker’s gavel eight years after leading the Democrats to a resounding defeat. Yet again, she used the plight of women as a human shield to at once justify her campaign and intimidate anyone who did not want to support her. Let’s get one thing straight, Pelosi is to the struggles faced by women as Donald Trump is to grace and humility.

Identity politics is nothing but a diversity hustle, For the record, it’s not only Democrats who use this scam to get elected, Republicans deploy the same game of grievance and feigned concern to wield power and dupe their constituents. After all, Trump got elected President by treading on the hopes and frustrations of his supporters the same way that Barack Obama hoodwinked his believers.

Just because they look like us does not mean they are for us. We have to stop falling for the slick marketing schemes used by Democrats and Republicans, one where they parade new faces and personalities to make us believe that we are making progress. A merry-go-round that has different colored and different genders of jackasses and elephants is pure deception, putting new mannequins in window displays and keeping policies intact does everything to perpetuate fraudulence and does nothing to fix the underlying problems.

Sadly, this dubious ruse keeps working every election cycle. The first black president ended up being nothing more than a puppet of banks and Wall Street, the first woman Secretary of State ended up being another warmongering maniac, the first Muslim Congressman did nothing to ameliorate the plight of the poor and oppressed, the first transsexual representative will just fall in line and be another reliable vote of neoliberalism. Establishment voices use identity to hide the insidious policies that are being pushed by both parties, amazingly countless Americans keep falling for this bullshit.

Mary Antoinette was the last queen of France who lived lavishly during the dawn of the French Revolution, did her gender give her any special insight into the burdens of countless millions of Parisian women who were being crushed by hunger and homelessness? Idi Amin was a Ugandan leader, did that mean that he had the interests of tens of millions of Africans in mind just because he shared their complexion? Hitler was part Jewish, did that mean that he should be lauded just because he shared the ethnicity of the millions of Jews he murdered? At what point are we going to judge people by their deeds instead of falling for their identity driven shakedowns?

I don’t care about the successes of the first (insert identity here) if their achievements do not lead to the betterment of the people they supposedly represent. This year is being lauded as the year of women because Congress has the highest number of women Representatives and Senators. Who cares! We can have all 535 positions being held by women or “people of color” but what does it matter if the economic and foreign policies they keep enacting never changes? What does it matter whose face is in power if the masses she/he represents is languishing in abject poverty or pervasive hopelessness?

If we truly want to change the structural issues that gash at humanity and lessen inequalities that permeate throughout society, we must find a way to dismantle the two factions that have monopolized power and commandeered government. Doing so requires that we stop being a cult of personality and that we cease being transfixed on political parties. The people we keep sending to DC to speak on our behalf—most of whom have no idea what are struggles or lives are about—are never more powerful than the institutions that they are signing up to serve. Until we focus on policies instead of being hooked on the narcotic of parties and personalities, we will keep getting diversity hustles and social justice bamboozles and getting the same results no matter who is in power.

2020 promises to reach a crescendo of absurdity when it comes to diversity hustles being unleashed by two faced candidates. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and a slew of “I’m one of you” scam artists will flock to Iowa to push their qualification through the prism of identity. They will promise change, pander and throw out platitudes, each one throwing crumbs to marginalized groups. They will go toe-to-toe with a Donald Trump who has also perfected the swindle of speaking to people’s grievance. If you found yourself getting upset because I included one of your political heroes, just know that is how the diversity hustle works. It’s easy to see when others get jived, a lot harder to understand when you are the one being hustled.

The diversity hustle is a most insidious scam, a way of using oppressed people and underrepresented populations as stepping stones to grab more power.

The diversity hustle is nothing more than emotional manipulation, con artists are ruthlessly targeting specific demographics by changing the makeup of the parties without changing the foundation of the institutions. I used the word demographic for a reason, in marketing, the most vital step is to understand specific audiences based on age, race, gender, orientation and the various ways we are sliced and diced as a society. Politicians are using diversity as a business plan; they don’t care about our concerns, they are just hoping to capture ratings by using our pains as catnip.

It is high time that we stop falling for this bamboozle, just because they share our skin don’t make them our kin and just because they resemble us does not mean they represent our interests.  Keep this in mind the next time some politician or pundit talks about the year of women, gays, blacks, Latinos or whatever other identity they choose to manipulate. They are using our struggles as billboards, it's time to call this scam exactly what it is, racism, sexism and bigotry veiled by paternalism. #DiversityHustle Click To Tweet

Don’t judge people by their looks or rhetoric, judge them only by their actions::

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Lij Teodrose Fikremariam
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Lij Teodrose Fikremariam

Lij Teodrose Fikremariam is the co-founder and former editor of the Ghion Journal. He is currently the chair of Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy. A published author and prolific writer, a once defense consultant was profoundly changed by a two year journey of hardship and struggle. Going from a life of upper-middle class privilege to a time spent with the huddled masses taught Teodrose a valuable lesson in the essence of togetherness and the need to speak against injustice.

Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Lij Teodrose Fikremariam
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