June 10, 2013

The term for when one person’s oppression collides with another’s is intersectionality. It was allegedly coined by a black female lawyer named Kimberlé Crenshaw, and the way she spells “Kimberly” is really all you need to know about her. The general concept supposedly arose in the 1970s when black feminists started bitching about white feminists over who was more oppressed. In other words, it was the fruit of infighting among leftist identity groups, the result of cannibalism among the oppressed.

People who buy into this notion that they suffer from multiple forms of oppression”€”rather than the more likely explanation, which is that they suffer from multiple personalities”€”tend to explain intersectionality in ways either histrionically angry or academically tortured.

A shining example of the histrionically angry school is a screed called “MY FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT!” written by a “Latina” who claims she screams so much, it sometimes scares her cat.

Intersectionality, because it is by definition an insane if unfalsifiable notion, has gained traction in the so-called social sciences. In Sweden (of course), you can get a master’s degree in it. Never have so few used so many words to say so little. Intersectionality’s proponents prattle on about standpoint epistemology and interlocking matrices of oppression, about how intercategorical approaches are needed to determine how essentialist identities foster stereotyping, about how power carries gendered connotations and has androcentric biases that promote racialized belonging, and about how straight white males suck.

This is one of the reasons I sort of hope for a wholesale economic collapse”€”because people who talk like this will not have jobs.

The concept of intersectionality is also related to the “progressive stack,” which assumes that white males at all times bear noxious degrees of unearned power, which is why they have to get to the back of the line and let all the legless black lesbians speak first.

So much for transcending labels and viewing one another as individuals. These people want to institutionalize such labels. They balk at the concept of “assigned identity,” yet they also seem unable to live without it. So many of these multitudinous oppressed “identities” seem like nothing more than cheap cloaks to mask nakedly annoying personalities. People with bad personalities seem to have a built-in defense mechanism that makes them believe you actually hate them for any other possible reason besides their bad personalities. With all the banter about oppression, it’s hard to think of anything that stifles free speech and free expression more than such strident humorlessness.

As an unapologetic white male and therefore a designated cultural pariah, I take a sort of emperor’s glee in the gladiatorial spectacle of these special-interest ninnies eating each other. But it’s different from lions eating Christians. It’s more like Christians eating Christians.

Personally, I found these people far more likable when they were disenfranchised.



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