America has become enraptured with the idea of “victimhood.”
Victimhood is the idea that some people have victim status because they are systemically oppressed. Often, champions of one victim group join in solidarity with another seemingly unrelated or even contradictory group. These groups join due to a concept called intersectionality.
Intersectionality was developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor, in 1989. It is a Neo-Marxist, critical concept that is joined to similar ideas such as critical race theory. Intersectionality is the belief that race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, physical ability, and even physical appearance all intersect to form a person’s experience in society. It is built on the view that each person is defined by their membership in each group and borrows from the Marxist concept that society is made up of oppressor and oppressed groups. In Neo-Marxism, oppressor groups wield power over oppressed groups, while intersectionality takes this concept and applies it to all classifications.
Intersectionality not only says that whites oppress blacks and that men oppress women, but it also says that straight people oppress homosexual people, cisgender people oppress transgender, and so on. It combines a person’s membership in different identity groups to calculate how much of an oppressor or victim each person is.
As Ben Shapiro explains it, intersectionality can be thought of as a pyramid with straight white males on the bottom. Straight white women are above straight white men but below straight black women. A straight black woman is below a lesbian black woman.
Intersectionality purports to be descriptive of a person’s personal experience in society. A straight white male has only experienced privilege and is unable to speak to issues of racial or sexual injustice. A straight white woman can speak about sexism but cannot speak about discrimination against homosexuals. A person’s victim grouping is thus indicative of their moral authority.
Intersectionality is used to unite groups who otherwise would have nothing in common. It is painfully ironic that these groups willingly unite even though their causes are often at odds. Feminists may support transgender rights, even though transgenderism is a monumental threat to feminism and women’s equality.
Perhaps the most ironic intersectional belief is that many adherents to intersectionality view Israel as an oppressor and countries such as Iran and violent Palestinian groups as the oppressed. Proponents decry Israeli “violence” and support measures such as the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) movement. Iran executes homosexuals, yet supporters of each group find themselves as allies in the alleged fight for equality.
As Alan Dershowitz pointed out, intersectionality works against the Jewish people, likely the most oppressed group of people in history. But anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan are welcome in the extreme feminist movement and Black Lives Matter.
Intersectionality ignores reality by viewing people as defined only by their group classification, rather than their unique individual circumstances, virtues, or actions. As Nate Hochman explains in the National Review,
“Intersectionality’s faithful must twist the external world to fit the theory’s framework, which insists, for example, that desperately poor rural white Appalachians are somehow elevated in societal privilege over the likes of Don Lemon, Oprah Winfrey, or Ta-Nehisi Coates. This inevitably leads to a politics not just removed from reality, but callous and tribal in its own right.”
The reason logical inconsistencies are allowed amongst the proponents of intersectionality is because each group has a shared objective: power.
As with all Marxist philosophies, the goal is to seize power from the oppressor group and give it to the oppressed group. Proponents see everything through the lens of power. In discussing Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “How to be an Antiracist,” New York Magazine writer Andrew Sullivan notes, “An activist produces power and policy change, not mental change. All there is is power. You either wield it or are controlled by it. And power is simply the ability to implement racist or antiracist policy.”
Sullivan goes on to explain that Kendi’s goal is, ultimately, political power. Kendi, a professor at American University, wants a constitutional amendment that would “enshrine anti-racist principles” in American life. Here’s how the amendment would work, according to Kendi:
“It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.”
In summation, what Kendi wants is an all-powerful group of unelected people that has the right to strike down any proposed policy and the ability to criminalize any “expressions of racist ideas.”
As Sullivan and other writers point out, intersectionality instills a near-religious devotion in its adherents. Evils such as “white supremacy,” “the patriarchy,” racism, and all other ills must be not only defeated but destroyed. Any person who does not embrace all the aspects of intersectionality should be silenced. As Sullivan wrote,
It operates as a religion in one other critical dimension: If you happen to see the world in a different way, if you’re a liberal or libertarian or even, gasp, a conservative, if you believe that a university is a place where any idea, however loathsome, can be debated and refuted, you are not just wrong, you are immoral. If you think that arguments and ideas can have a life independent of “white supremacy,” you are complicit in evil. And you are not just complicit, your heresy is a direct threat to others, and therefore needs to be extinguished. You can’t reason with heresy. You have to ban it. It will contaminate others’ souls and wound them irreparably.
David French, another writer for National Review, calls intersectionality “the dangerous faith.” In 2018, he wrote:
For the in-group, it’s easy to see the appeal of the philosophy. There’s an animating purpose — fighting injustice, racism, and inequality. There’s the original sin of “privilege.” There’s a conversion experience — becoming “woke.” And much as the Christian church puts a premium on each person’s finding his or her precise role in the body of Christ, intersectionality can provide a person with a specific purpose and role based on individual identity and experience.
Intersectionality has enabled those on the left to form a coalition of unrelated groups to wield immense political power. By vilifying straight white men and other “oppressor” groups and bestowing victim status on “oppressed” groups, it allows these groups to relate to each other and unite against a common enemy.
The framework of intersectionality is another detrimental Marxist philosophy that paints neighbors as enemies and reduces individuals into social groupings. Proponents may claim to fight for the oppressed but are actually fighting for political power over their opponents. Intersectionality will never bring equality, only greater division.
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