I really do try to understand ideas, especially when I’m politically opposed to them, and I feel like intersectionality is one of the most obvious, and most misused sociological frameworks people are discussing in the modern era.
I think it’s a versatile tool to account for human experience, and helps people appreciate both alternative experiences and their own blind spots, but I also think its misused by hardcore leftists and right wingers to say all x people have y experience.
As a hardcore leftist, I can’t agree. I don’t believe all X people have Y experience, and I don’t think that’s even what intersectionality is about. This interpretation of intersectionality, I’d say, stems from how we do not have an intellectually rigorous media, so concepts like the interlinking of oppressions lose their meaning and get incorrectly injected into the same old bad-faith arguments the Limbaughs and O’Reillies have been making for decades. The shoddy, sensationalist media itself, of course, is an inevitable product of this very same capitalistic system whose presence can be felt in every aspect of oppression. In many ways, I think the simplest way I can conceptualize intersectionality is that it observes and catalogues how disparate oppressions destroy solidarity.
The entire universe of anti-SJW outrage (which includes reactionary white intellectuals coining phrases like “the intersectional shakedown”) hinges on deliberate, repeated, and well-funded mischaracterizations of everything SJWs are actually saying. You see this play out in the discussions of safe spaces, trigger warnings, intersectionality, and even bathrooms.
And, it seems to me, this is all orchestrated so that the idea that privilege exists and is a real thing can be called into question, downplayed, or even denied altogether. Privilege exists, even if X people don’t all have Y experience.
I also think that economic class is often ignored.
Ignored by whom? Class is specifically addressed in the very first formulation of intersectionality (it arose as a critique of feminism through the observation that the problems of white middle-class women are not the same as poor Black women). The irony, of course, is that most of the attacks on intersectionality, even those that say class is ignored, are funded by the usual suspects: white libertarian billionaires such as The Kochs, Rosenkrantz (Heterodox Academy), Murdoch, Peter Thiel, Mercer (Breitbart). These are people whose entire fortunes stem from robbing the working class, and/or inheriting money from parents who robbed the working class, who now invest money into media and politics to solidify and legitimize the robbery.
We’re flawed people, so its unsurprising that people would have a flawed application of an idea, but there’s still a lot of fire in the culture war specifically around intersectionality.
I’m a fan of the culture war. It needs to happen. People need to get exposed for what they are (even if their cultish fans will never relent), and their nonsensical ideas need to be eradicated. The stakes are just too high to allow bigotry and bad ideas to go unchecked, and intersectionality is about trying to understand both the shape and consequences of all forms of bigotry as they operate simultaneously. One consequence is that those aforementioned billionaires keep getting richer as the entire planet’s ecosystem is being annihilated while wedge tactics keep dividing the rest of us.
That just seems too big to let fester in the hopes of finding some centrist middle-ground Shangri-La where archaic Enlightenment ideals will bring us all together and stave off a succession of impending cataclysms those same ideals wrought. So I’m all-in on the culture war.