Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Misanthrope's Guide to Intersectionality

Intersectionality is an academic term that explains how different types of people can be affected by different types of oppression. For example; a woman might experience sexism, but a black woman might experience sexism and racism and also find that the sexism she experiences is affected by the racism she experiences. If a woman is black and gay, then she might experience sexism, racism, and homophobia; they will intersect and cause a different type of oppression for her. Intersectionality is true in that people can experience different types of oppression and that those types of oppression can intersect.

However, recently, intersectionality has become a buzz word of the current wave of the Civil Rights Movement, in particular in the current wave of feminism. Many women believe that feminism cannot exist without intersectionality. They think that a feminist has less worth if she does not practice or believe in intersectionality.

The problem with intersectionality is that it ignores the subtlety of human existence and the truth that every human experiences the world differently.

The other problem with intersectionality is that it assumes I give a shit about your problems, and the thing is, I just don't.

The biggest thing I seem to read over and over is this Great White Feminist. She is so obtuse. She cares only for herself. She is clueless. She willfully ignores women of a different race or cultural heritage or sexual orientation or gender identity or whatever. The Great White Feminist is not working hard enough to include other women in her feminism. She coopts the experiences of minorities or speaks for them. The Great White Feminists ignore that feminism is racist, has always been racist, and won't stop being racist until Great White Feminists adopt intersectionality.

There are, of course, nuggets of truth in these ideas. Has feminism suffered from racism? Yes, in that, everything has suffered from racism. Are white women to blame for this? No. They were acting within their culture. That's the problem with intersectionality, it demands that people act outside of their culture, even if that culture is homogenous. Intersectionalists ignore that segregation exists, whether natural or forced and that many people don't even have meaningful relationships with someone of a different race or cultural background or sexual orientation, etc., etc., etc.

As I said before, intersectionality demands that I give a shit about someone else's problems. But why would I? What is the benefit for me to go out of my way to include people different from me? Why do I give a shit if I solve someone else's problem? I'm fighting my own fight here and I don't even know you, so take your intersectionality and fuck off.

The thing is, intersectional feminists say that one feminist cannot speak for another. How can I know your problems? If I'm not allowed to speak for you then why should I even help you? If I'm coopting your problems, which I honestly don't even know how I'd do that if I don't actually know what your problems are and can't even understand your problems, then how am I supposed to include your problems in my own fight? And again, I say, why would I want to?

Related : I really don't care if you give a shit about my problems, either. I don't want to explain all of them to you. I'm not sure I believe you could understand my struggles, and I certainly don't want to feel like I'm competing against your problems.

Intersectionality is nice on paper and I suppose if the Civil Rights Movement becomes unionized, then everyone we can possibly think of who might be disenfranchised should be included in representing the union. I think people believe the Civil Rights Movement is more organized than it is, and that the goal is to be inclusive, and that we all should be working together. That's just not true. I mean, there are so many facets of the fight for equality and so many paths to take to get there and so many things that may or may not apply to each individual that it's ridiculous to see intersectionality as a common theme in the Civil Rights Movement and one that anyone needs to adopt in order to truly be fighting for equality. Instead of wasting time bitching about intersectionality, those who feel they aren't represented should get represented. Talk to organizers and lobbyists and politicians and speech makers and get your voice out there and get heard. (I know, hard, right? You have to like, DO something about it.)

Also, at the end of the day, as far as this misanthrope is concerned, I just don't give a shit about your problems. I've got my own fight to fight and no one has been trying to help me out or give me a bigger and louder platform. People have been trying to shut me up and shut me down and tell me that I am wrong and stupid and should change my identity to better suit their idea of how I should fit in the world. I'm so busy fighting that, that I can't even be bothered to figure out how to help some stranger I don't know who wants to call me names and question my own value within the fight for equality. So take your intersectionality and shove it where the sun don't shine.

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