The Witches’ Cauldron of Intersectionality
If you’re not an American millennial or university professor, you might be confused by the concept of “intersectionality.” First coined in 1989 by race theorist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, it has become a left-wing buzzword to define the lumping together of all self-described “oppressed” groups under a single umbrella.
According to proponents of this radical fad — which amounts to an elimination of independent critical thought — not only must a person toe a particular ideological line, but he may never slip, even accidentally, into the realm of nuance or distinction. Someone who supports gay marriage, for example, has to oppose Israeli policy, advocate for government-funded abortions and believe that the free market is evil and climate change is man-made.
Though intersectionality has been around since long before anyone other than a handful of academics had heard of it, it has gradually been infecting political discourse in the United States for decades. Given a huge boost during the Obama years, it moved from obscurity to fame – particularly on campus – to such an extent that it is bandied around by students who would be hard put to spell it. Spending more time on the quad waving placards than in the classroom will do that. And it gives new meaning to the adage, taken from Thomas Gray’s 1742 “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” that ignorance is bliss.
On Wednesday this week, both intersectionality and blissful ignorance were on full display ahead of and during the International Women’s Strike. Ostensibly a cross-country happening for females to show the men who share their bedrooms and boardrooms what a day would be like in the absence of their (our) enormous contributions, the event was actually a mass whine-fest, organized by a Palestinian terrorist and a handful of other extremist feminists, whose real goal was to attack the new US president and the state of Israel.
Judging by the lack of aerial photographs illustrating the kind of crowds that had gathered after inauguration day, the public statement fell flat. Most women were too busy earning an honest living and tending to their children to to waste a day on a demonstration that has no meaning in a country like America, where women are at liberty to do as they choose and please.
The truly oppressed women of the world would have been raped, stoned, tortured or executed for daring to whisper what their counterparts in the United States shout from the rooftops of Washington and New York. Indeed, had convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh or Palestinian-American, pro-Sharia Law and polygamy apologist Linda Sarsour – organizers of this week’s event – genuinely cared about their sisters, they would have been calling out the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, for its human-rights violations and abuse of women.
But facts are of little interest to the intersectionalists; what matters to them is ideology – the kind they are able to express, promote and legislate in the land of the free and the brave that they love to denounce.
This is not to say that intersectionality enables smooth sailing for its adherents who – as my son says – long ago saw political correctness in their rear-view mirrors. On the contrary, they regularly run into snags, when two or more of the ingredients in their witches’ cauldron clash.
For instance, a Wellesly College transgender student was blocked in 2014 from becoming a “class diversity officer” because he, who was born female, had become a white male. Though the self-defined “masculine-of-center genderqueer” – according to a New York Times article and National Review blog – was embraced socially on campus, his peers thought it inappropriate for him to fill such a role, now that he was no longer a girl. Apparently, Timothy, as he called himself, had become too “privileged” by virtue of his new identity to be culturally diverse.
Examples of this ludicrousy abound, and not only on campus. But they are usually not highlighted in the press, for obvious reasons. As a result, many liberals have not yet grasped how out of hand things have gotten.
In an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday, “Bustle” politics editor Emily Shire bemoaned the fact that her “identity as a Zionist places [her] in conflict with the feminist movement of 2017.”
Shire said she sees “no reason [she] should have to sacrifice [her] Zionism for the sake of [her] feminism.” Yeah, she should try telling that to the likes of Odeh and Sarsour. Or to a bunch of Wellesley women.
In the meantime, she ought to brush up on intersectionality if she harbors any illusions of remaining on their side of any argument.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.