In a society where American liberals try to assuage their white guilt through hiring Black people to tell them they’re racist over dinner, 1 identity has come to occupy a strange position. But why are those hired and have access to these Beverly Hills dinner parties taken to represent their broader group? In his book Elite Capture, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò explores the phenomenon of how identity politics strayed from its original use of ending material oppression to commoditized identity-based movements. This essay uses his concept to explore the dilemma of meaning that Elite Capture makes salient and how it becomes amplified online.
Elite capture, as used by Táíwò, is utilized both to diagnose identity politics as preventing the equality it aims to seek and advocate for a better way forward. In Táíwò’s words:
Elite capture happens when the advantaged few steer resources and institutions that could serve the many toward their own narrower interests and aims. 2