Nancy Leong coins the term “identity capitalist” to label the powerful insiders who eke out social and economic value from people of color, women, LGBTQ people, the poor, and other outgroups. Leong uncovers the rules that govern a system in which all Americans must survive: the identity marketplace. She contends that the national preoccupation with diversity has, counterintuitively, allowed identity capitalists to infiltrate the legal system, educational institutions, the workplace, and the media. Using examples from law to literature, from politics to pop culture, Leong takes readers on a journey through the hidden agendas and surprising incentives of various ingroup actors. She also uncovers a dire dilemma for outgroup members: do they play along and let their identity be used by others, or do they protest and risk the wrath of the powerful?