The Irony of Intersectionality

April 14, 2021

If you are a college student in the United States, then it is increasingly likely that you have, at some point, heard about intersectionality. If you are a college freshman who entered in 2020, or is scheduled to enter in 2021, you can most likely expect your school’s curriculum to be laced with the teachings of intersectionality, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter.

So, what is intersectionality? According to its proponents, intersectionality is when the struggles of multiple oppressed identity groups intersect. The act of systemically quantifying oppression. 

The underbelly assumption of intersectionality is that all of these identity groups are oppressed by straight white men, as American society was and still is structured to explicitly support their interests, while disregarding the humanity of everyone else. Intersectionality, like most modern left-wing concepts, is predicated upon the belief that American society is just as racist as it was in 1950, or even 1850, and that if only those straight white men lost their iron grip on society, all of the issues within minority communities would magically go away.

Intersectionality, translated into practice, works like this: A straight white man is not oppressed at all, for he enjoys the protection of male privilege and white privilege. Ranking slightly above him, is the straight white woman. She still enjoys the privilege of being white but is put at a disadvantage because she is a woman, and according to modern left-wing doctrine, women are oppressed by men. But her oppression pales in comparison to a black man, who is automatically a victim because he is black. However, a black woman will typically outrank a black man, for she is a member of two oppressed groups: black people and women. A black gay woman would outrank her on the totem pole, and so on.

Intersectionality, according to its proponents, exists to unite all oppressed minorities in the fight to end America’s supposed racial and ethnic hierarchy. However, the horrifying irony of intersectionality lies in the reality that in an effort to fight “inherently racist structures” in America, they have created an intellectual hierarchy based on race, gender, skin color, and sexual orientation. The only difference is that straight white men are now at the bottom as opposed to supposedly previously being at the top. In other words, they have created the very monster they wanted to destroy.

Intersectionality sounds wonderful on paper. A coalition of minority communities working together in a common interest to end their own oppression sounds harmless, and even beneficial on the surface. But when put into practice, intersectionality is revealed for what it really is: A system that requires the classification of various peoples based on their race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or any other identifiable factors that we were originally supposed to do away with. Intersectionality is predicated upon the notion that something as subjective and complex as human identity can be quantified and indexed by using these labels. Valuable information surrounding one’s character, personality, talents, or thought process are all considered secondary, or even disregarded completely in the rigorous pursuit of establishing a group-based hierarchy ranked on how oppressed you are.

This is why the left is particularly hostile towards minorities who choose not to buy into this narrative. The same people who claim to be on the side of elevating minority voices are oftentimes the same people calling Candace Owens an “uncle tom.” The same white liberals who were posting black squares on their Instagram pages just six months ago have no problem telling Owens that she is the white man’s token on Instagram. If we’re going by the logic of the narrative that has been recently shoved down our throats, such racial bigotry should be condemned unequivocally, no matter what side of the political aisle from which it originated. Unfortunately, a liberal or leftist who engages in what is by all rational standards prejudice, discrimination, or racism is far more socially acceptable when it is directed towards a minority who refuses to conform to the groupthink that has been normalized in our modern culture.

This reveals that under the guise of liberating oppressed minorities, intersectionality actually exists to control, and many white liberals, ironically, tend to feel that they are in the driver’s seat. Intersectionality is de-facto racism because it assumes inequality on the basis of such identifiers, and pretends to establish itself on the basis of experience, assuming that all people of a certain race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation have strikingly similar, or even the exact same experiences, neglecting to account for the inherent uniqueness of the individual.

The ‘Us Versus Them’ paradigm cultivated by intersectionality (i.e., oppressed minorities vs. white people) has created a severely warped social fabric in our society where everyone is forced to walk on proverbial eggshells, especially when interacting with someone from another race or ethnicity.

And then people wonder why racial tensions are so high.

Luke Lattanzi 

Image: “Intesectionality is represented as a dialectic of privilege and oppression in this diagram Mary Crawford’s 2006 textbook Transformations: Women, Gender, and Psychology (New York: McGraw-Hill)” 

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