An amusing look at why intersectionality is a good thing

Progressive pyramid of victimhood status, or identity politics pyramid of value

Andrew Sullivan has written an amusing article at nymag.com that includes a section where he explains why identity politics is a good thing. Quote.

[…] I was invited to the Heritage Foundation this week for a panel on political correctness (You can watch it here. I speak at 1:04). The invite was quite a surprise. I’ve been a nonperson in Washington conservative circles ever since I objected to the spending explosion, torture, and shambolic Iraq War in the Bush administration, around 15 years ago. Of course I wasn’t invited to criticize conservatism — just to excoriate the social-justice movement for inverting the principles of liberalism. Nonetheless, I included in my remarks an attack on the Trump movement for providing so much ammunition for the hard left with its race-baiting, and even got one dude to walk out. But what surprised me was the positive response to a single, minor point I made about intersectionality.

In some ways, I argued, the intersectional move on the hard left is a good thing — because it complicates things. It’s no longer enough just to consider race, for example, as a signifier of oppression without also considering gender or orientation or gender identity, national origin, immigrant status, etc. When society is made up entirely of various intersecting oppressions, as the social-justice left believes, it’s vital not to leave any potential grievance out.

By the same token, of course, an oppressor can also be identified in multiple, intersectional ways. I spend my days oppressing marginalized people and women, because, according to social-justice ideology, I am not just male, but also white and cisgendered. My sin — like the virtue of the oppressed — is multifaceted. So multifaceted, in fact, that being gay must surely be included. Also: HIV-positive. Come to think of it: immigrant. And an English Catholic — which makes me a victim in my childhood and adolescence. Suddenly, I’m a little more complicated, aren’t I? But wait! As a Catholic, I am also an oppressive enabler of a misogynist institution, and at the same time, as a gay Catholic, I’m a marginalized member of an oppressed “LGBTQ” community, as well as sustaining an institution that oppresses other gays.

It can get very complicated very fast. I remain confident that I remain an oppressor because my sex, gender, and race — let alone my belief in liberal constitutionalism and limited government — probably trump all my victim points. But that is a pretty arbitrary line, is it not? Think of the recent leftist discourse around white women. One minute, they are the vanguard of the fight against patriarchy; the next minute, they are quislings devoted to white supremacy and saturated with false consciousness.

And that’s why I favor more intersectionality, not less. Let’s push this to its logical conclusion. Let’s pile on identity after identity for any individual person; place her in multiple, overlapping oppression dynamics, victim and victimizer, oppressor and oppressed; map her class, race, region, religion, marital status, politics, nationality, language, disability, attractiveness, body weight, and any other form of identity you can. After a while, with any individual’s multifaceted past, present, and future, you will end up in this multicultural world with countless unique combinations of endless identities in a near-infinite loop of victim and victimizer. You will, in fact, end up with … an individual human being!

In the end, all totalizing ideologies disappear up their own assholes. With intersectionality, we have now entered the lower colon. […] end quote.

Clearly, Andrew Sullivan is being satirical. He is not the only one refusing to take seriously the whole divisive mess that is intersectionality. Some Kiwi joker has created an Intersectionality Score Calculator!

Answer the questions and find out what your intersectionality score is. How oppressed are you? Are you more oppressed than me? I scored 55 which means that 90% of others are more privileged than me.


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