Intersectionality is the Enemy of Progress and True Dialogue
Quick! What is the better soda? Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Before you even registered the question, your brain already produced an answer. An answer that is by definition subjective, but you know, deep down in the most foundational places of your soul, that there is a correct answer to this question.* However, the only way to truly know the real answer is by doing a blind test taste. Otherwise, if you see the Coke or Pepsi can, you will be biased in your answer. But wrap a blindfold around your eyes, have a friend pour the sodas into paper cups, and then try. You will have your answer. AKA the Pepsi Challange. That is your objective answer to a subjective question. Without any preconditions altering your final answer, you can then honestly give your opinion on the subject. So what does the Pepsi challenge have to do with intersectionality? Well, intersectionality is a magic trick; it can provide an answer to the Pepsi challenge without ever tasting the soda. All intersectionality needs is to look at the cans to know the correct answer.
Intersectionality believers hold that society can be best understood as a dichotomous power struggle between different factions. One section of society has more power than another, and so on and so forth with the more powerful oppressing and marginalizing the less powerful. In other words, men oppress women, and someone who is Jewish is less oppressed than someone who is Black. Each stratum of society is either somewhere above or below another and society can be broken down and understood through these different parts, i.e., they all intersect, hence intersectionality.
However, intersectionality, as it is understood today, flies in the face of the traditional American value system; they believe the more oppressed you are in society, the more righteous you and your arguments are. Therefore it is your identity as a member of a perceived collective that becomes tantamount to righteousness, not the individual ideas in your head. You are literally defined by your membership in these groups. Moreover, you can assume the stances and belief system of a particular member of a group by looking at what group he or she belongs to and nothing more. So somebody like Thomas Sowell is not “world-renowned economist and social theorist” Thomas Sowell, but rather, a member of the Black community. Yes, Thomas Sowell is black, but to boil down all of who he is and all of his social theories to a mere physical description would be to assume things of Thomas Sowell that are not true.
In application, this leads to a completely racist view of the world and a perspective that grants weight not to the argument somebody is making, but rather, only lends credence to the person making the argument. One of the more interesting articles of the past year was produced by an undergraduate Philosophy major at Columbia University by the name of Coleman Hughes. The article in question is called, “Black American Culture and the Racial Wage Gap.” It is a heavy read, but one that is well worth your time as it is a great dive into the wealth gap disparities between races and their causes. Whether or not you agree with the conclusion of the author is irrelevant. It is a well resourced and nuanced article that cites liberally from Sowell books and other accredited sources. You can do many things after reading this article: argue the merits of Sowell and the other sources, disagree with the premise, or most obviously, the conclusions drawn by the author.
Intellectual honesty requires anybody discussing the article to argue the contents of the article itself. The author makes his arguments clear by the words he has chosen and the sources he selects; whatever his argument is can be found by reading his words. His biography is completely irrelevant to the argument in question. His skin color, his religion, nor his sexual preference have an impact on the weight of his words. The only question to an intellectually honest reader is, “is his argument sound or is it flawed? And why?” Intersectionality begs the reader to not just bring up the author’s biography, but to actually put more weight into his biography than the content of his argument. That is appalling and is an overturned tractor-trailer of a roadblock on the highway of progress.
Intersectionality inverts the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; it wants you to look at skin color, religion, and sexual preference as more important than somebody’s character. The derivative of this is saying it is acceptable to dismiss dialogue from somebody by mere dint of their biographical and biological makeup. Collective identity supersedes the individual spark of divinity in the argument for intersectionality. Intersectionality destroys dialogue and progress. Why bother researching an article and substantiating claims and statements when a reader can accept or reject a contention by merely looking at the “About Author” page?
There are few things worse in a discussion than when somebody does not take your argument or perspective seriously. It is even more hurtful when those viewpoints are never listened to and brushed aside because somebody believes “you do not have the right to make those arguments.” Everybody has a right to make any and all arguments. Jews can fight for Muslim causes, Muslims for the rights of Australian Aborigines, and Aborigines for the economic prosperity of American Blacks… IF their arguments are well thought and can be substantiated. The what should always be more important than the who. Intersectionality would have you believe the opposite and is therefore evil because it is by definition racist. Intersectionality wants you to ask what race is Coleman Hughes? Is Hughes White or Black? American or British? I have a better question and the one everyone should ask when reading his article or hearing any argument anywhere; who the hell cares?
*(At the risk of angering some readers, I am a Pepsi man, but there is no better tasting thing than a cold Coke in an old-school tinted green glass bottle on a warm summer’s day. I will fight on my father’s grave defending the old-school Coke answer… then again, that man swore by Moxie—carbonated cough syrup–so take that for what it is worth.)