This thought-provoking piece👏🏾 you have written Whitney has me thinking that respectability politics is also firmly rooted in this obsessive need to control the marginal or oppressed in our society, whether it be by gender, class, or race.
These methods by which they exert this control is through false justifications, the sacrosanctity of terrible laws, and, or through ill-conceived cultural norms that basically act as false or fundamental attribution errors.
However, respectability politics has its intersectional complexities that interdependently increases the survival rate in an otherwise oppressively violent society, all while dismantling stereotypes, and rejecting monolithic tropes about the Black diaspora or the engendered female. Some might even venture to opine that it can be a form of self-control as well.
“the politics of respectability has occasionally inflicted deep wounds on the black community” — Randall Kennedy
Today, respectability politics seem anachronistic to earlier periods of assimilation and nation building ideologies. This has evidently scarred us all and has repercussive connotations that laden future generations with this cognitive dissonance about the cultural norms that preceded them.
Your articulated arguments against respectability politics are powerfully true and resonate with me in these politically discordant times in our lives. The manner to which it has been practiced inhibited us from expereinced equality and freedom.
But freedom is two-fold.
My only angst and apprehension with wholly refuting respectability politics is in some of its misapplications, of which we are seeing as a counteroffensive from privileged and majoritarian groups, noticeably from wayward whiteness and the patriarchy in the form of anti-political correctness. In its exaggeration or oversensitivity it cannot be wholly discarded as purely bad or wrong. This is the same BS that Trump has based his campaign on and won to our chagrin.
“these misapplications of respectability politics should not obscure an essential fact: any marginalized group should be attentive to how it is perceived.” — Randall Kennedy
In essence, you have rightfully posited how bad or wrong respectability politics has been on the psyche for these instances you have brought up. It is surely worth expounding upon.