Victim status has become a competition, and it's ruining our ability to solve the problems we face together.
Just saying the words 'identity politics' can cause an orchestra of eye rolls, but historically these tribal movements have been a net good for the country, helping to elevate marginalized groups such as African Americans, women in the workforce and LGBTQ people. However, there's an unhealthy trend emerging, says Professor Bill Doherty. You can somehow be in the majority and be a victim of an oppressed minority. "Now we have a culture in which there is competition for victimhood and white men—now many white men are calling themselves victims; victims of affirmative action, victims of the liberal left," says Doherty. Everyone from major religious groups to bankers on Wall Street are competing to be the biggest victims. These warped identity politics don't serve anyone, says Doherty. What they do is make it impossible for groups to work together to solve the common problems we face, like poverty, education, healthcare, and environmental collapse. For the majority, victimhood is a short-term win with long-term costs. Bill Doherty is a senior fellow at Better Angels, a bipartisan nonprofit movement that aims to depolarize the United States. Find out more at better-angels.org.
William J. Doherty is an educator, researcher, therapist, speaker, author, consultant, and community organizer. He is Professor and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Family Social Science, College of Education and Human Development, at the University of Minnesota, where he is also an adjunct Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.
Bill is past president of the National Council on Family Relations, the nation’s oldest interdisciplinary family studies organization. His awards include the Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy Award, the Margaret E. Arcus Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Life Education, and the Outstanding Community Service Award from the University of Minnesota.
Bill Doherty has authored or edited nine books for professionals, numerous articles in professional journals, and five books for lay audiences on the topics of family rituals, confident parenting, marriage, overscheduled kids, and the family dynamics of wedding planning.
A popular speaker to lay and professional audiences, Bill has won several teaching awards in his career and is frequently interviewed by print, radio, and TV media on family issues.
Since 1999, Bill has been developing and leading the Families and Democracy Project and the Citizen Health Care Project, a community organizing approach to working with families and promoting cultural change.
Bill is a licensed marriage and family therapist, psychologist, and Clinical Member, Fellow and Approved Supervisor for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He received his Ph.D. in family studies from the University of Connecticut in 1978 and has served on the faculty of the Department of