Why Intersectionality Destroys Everything it Touches
April 18, 2017
I often enjoy having engaging in polite political discussions with my coworker. I'm a conservative-leaning libertarian. He's a radical anarcho-communist. Our mutual suspicion of political institutions and interest in history, geopolitics, culture, philosophy, and linguistics has provided for endless delightful conversations and debates on an variety of topics.
Anyway, I was talking to him about how I recently had the opportunity to hang out and chat with Mike Cernovich, the prominent journalist and blogger of the New Right, at a casual get-together with other right-wing contrarians. It was a relaxed, enjoyable, and positive occasion spent conversing with a diverse array of similar-minded individuals from all walks of life.
After jogging his memory by explaining who he was, my coworker grimly revealed to me that he had been plotting with his local Antifa chapter to raid that very get-together, but they had been unable to rally enough people on such short notice.
Having never been at the receiving end of an altercation of that nature, I was quite surprised, and later mentioned it in passing to an old friend – a black nationalist and revolutionary socialist I often have heated debates with on economic and political matters due to mutual sympathies about black improvement, but deep disagreements with respect to the means. If it is not readily apparent by now, I enjoy arguing with people almost as much as life itself.
He was, to say the least, less than pleased with who I had been rubbing elbows with. The conversation quickly descended from attempts to explain that it was not a congregation of fascists to perhaps the worst bidirectional mudflinging I have partaken in.
A black man like myself, not raised in an impoverished community, is not qualified to talk about issues pertaining to black Americans.
I was accused of being an apologist for white nationalism, out of touch with the struggles of black people due to my privileged socioeconomic upbringing, a bourgeoisie parasite upon the underclass, and had an assortment of strawman attacks leveled against a gross mischaracterization of my beliefs.
Not a saint myself, I eventually abandoned my attempts at a level headed defense and attacked his seeming incapacity to entertain conceptual frameworks independent of his own, the inconsistency between his simultaneous advocacy for racially preferential economics and state-enforced welfare for single mothers of all races, and the hypocrisy of his “privilege attacks” despite past boasting about breaks as fair skinned black man.
As the mudflinging subsided and I attempted to inject reason back into the discussion, it hit a bizarre point of contention that he refused to back down from: that a black man like myself, not raised in an impoverished community, is not qualified to talk about issues pertaining to black Americans.
That is to say, empiricism, study, cross-referential analysis, drawing from the breadth of lessons and experiences of family, and perspective derived from life experience are somehow invalidated completely by not growing up in a ghetto. I am, without a doubt, less than qualified to talk authoritatively about the nuances of living in a ghetto, and yet here was the suggestion that I am not qualified to talk about black people. Period.
However, this was not the first time I stumbled across a suggestion of this nature. It is the hallmark of intersectional identity politics. Initially perhaps intended to explore and address the situations of individuals with more specific adversities in their lives and help give them a voice, it has seemingly been weaponized by certain leftist circles in order to stigmatize and thus silence free discussion and debate between ever-narrowing subsets of society that could otherwise help lead to more mutual understandings where they are desperately needed.
The breakdown of communication that weaponized intersectionality is creating drives rifts between groups, frustrated by their inability to frankly communicate each other.
Within this now distorted paradigm, only those who claim sufficient levels of adversity (especially “oppression”) are entitled to an opinion on anything that remotely affects them, regardless of the merit of the arguments put forth by others. The poor are given precedence when discussing economics, poverty, and their contributing factors. Women are given precedence over men when discussing state benefits as disproportionate beneficiaries of such services. People that are not black are not permitted to ask unflattering questions about the state of black culture – and nor are black people whose backgrounds do not fit the mold of what what the “black experience” should be, it seems.
This comes at a cost: the breakdown of communication between groups, and the monopoly of select groups on the discussion of matters that often impact everyone.
A shining example of this is Black Lives Matter, which has had a tendency to focus on black deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Seizing the spotlight in 2013, a grand opportunity to build a formidable grassroots coalition and bring nationwide attention to ever-increasing militarization, corrupt excesses, and constitutionally questionable conduct of law enforcement was squandered – in their name, and in their deeds – in order to promote intersectional identity politics and drum up animosity against the likes of law enforcement officers and white people.
With an ensuing wave of violence against law enforcement officers after issues became framed by the media around the clock as a hysterical onslaught on black people, a cultural backlash occurred, accountability in law enforcement became a wedge issue, and meaningful bipartisan discussion on law enforcement reform has become nigh impossible.
Furthermore, the breakdown of communication that weaponized intersectionality is creating drives rifts between groups, frustrated by their inability to frankly communicate each other for fear of asking questions or making assertions deemed “racist” or otherwise politically incorrect, and thus running the risk of being ostracized by society. All the while, the constant proliferation of oppression narratives are heightening animosity between groups, loose cannons from each committing hate crimes against others to rectify – or at least get even about – perceived injustices being spoon-fed to them by their information source of choice.
The only endgame for this dynamic is Balkanization: the breakdown of national identity along every possible line, and thus society's descent into ethnic, cultural, religious, intersexual, and class-based strife. The scale and magnitude of chaos that would affect every group imaginable within this country in this scenario would be far worse than the potentially uncomfortable dialogue between groups that it prevented earlier on.
The conversation is fundamentally incomplete if a significant swath of the population is rejected.
To revisit the question of black improvement, it may then be concluded that if there is not room for all black Americans – let alone genuinely constructive input from people who are not black Americans – in the ongoing discussion regarding the black condition, regardless of background or perspective, then any ideal of black American unity or collective betterment is unobtainable. The conversation is fundamentally incomplete if a significant swath of the population is rejected, and the whole is thus fractured. All parties have their own valuable insight to offer, which when embraced has empowered many to increased pragmatism and socioeconomic mobility without losing touch with their cultural and historical heritage or community.
The seeming cultural tendency to shun those who do not conform to what is conventional in manner, thought, or action regardless of practical value is and has been a divisive force that discourages more cooperation between the classes. Many who have the means to make a meaningful difference refrain from doing so, and it's not surprising why: contribution without understanding or reciprocal consideration is a bad investment.
But I suppose I'm not qualified to comment on this.
m is a computer scientist that is passionate about people keeping off his lawn.