Intersectional Nonsense

An interesting thing about reading that most of us experience pretty early on is that when you learn a new word, all of a sudden you start seeing it, when before it passed by meaninglessly.  As one develops vocabulary this happens less frequently, but thanks to the left, we'll always have neologisms to learn, even if most of them are nonsensical.  Take "intersectionality" for example.

I'd never encountered this term until a few weeks ago reading a book review in the Washington Post about Rachel Dolezal.  Dolezal you'll recall is the white woman who got her fifteen minutes of fame pretending to be black.  I wrote a brief blog piece mocking that review and several others at the incessantly liberal paper. 

Anyway, the reviewer of Dolezal's ghost-written autobiography did not like it, or her.  The reviewer claimed that by pretending to be a black woman while being white, Dolezal asserted her white privilege over black people or some such silliness.   During the course of this "analysis" the reviewer trotted out the following line: "…the complexity of identity involves intersectionality…" to which I muttered, "huh?"  I noted this line in the blog piece and several intrepid commentators actually looked up the word, which I had not bothered to do.  Nor did I pay much attention to the definitions provided.  I figured when am I going to see this lefty nonsense term again?

I got my answer only a few days later when an article appeared in my inbox entitled "The Bigotry of Intersectionality" by Alan Dershowitz.  I had that little bit of excitement you get recognizing your new word friend.  Oh there you are "intersectionality" maybe I should have paid more attention.

Dershowitz's article focuses on the use of "intersectionality" by disparate leftist groups to justify hostility toward Israel.  As Dershowitz's says it is "…the radical academic theory, which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked…" and "…has become a code word for anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bigotry."

In the context of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism leftists use the term to link groups like Black Lives Matter and various radical feminist groups to the anti-Israel agenda.  Why should Black Lives Matter activists give a damn about Israel, especially when by their own hysterical description young African-American men are being deliberately gunned down on the streets by racist American cops?  Well, ostensibly it's because American blacks and Palestinian Arabs share an experience of racist oppression.  In actuality BLM activists don't really have enough domestic repression to protest—since outside of their fevered imaginations there isn't much—and so they need other stuff to justify the money George Soros sends.  Intersectionality is a leftist buzzword that gives provides a pseudo-intellectual patina to integrate leftist agendas across otherwise mutually unrelated groups. 

In the case of Israel, this permits flat out anti-Semitism under leftist rubrics like "ending Jewish privilege." As Dershowitz points out this differs not at all from traditional anti-Semitism which justified persecution on the basis of imagined unfair Jewish advantages and conspiracies to promote the same, which is little different from such anti-Semitic tracts as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or Nazi propaganda.  

One thing Dershowitz doesn't do is fully attack the idiocy of the term itself, as opposed to condemning it for its alleged misuse as a justification for bigotry. 

Does intersectionality really mean anything?  The term was coined by Kimberle Chrenshaw a young African-American law professor nearly thirty years ago, supposedly to explain how black women could "fall through the cracks" of otherwise elaborate anti-discrimination laws, though it is not clear in her own telling how or why this happened or what "intersectionality" means in that context or any other. 

What's Chrenshaw's definition the term?  "Intersectionality is an analytic sensibility, a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power" she advised in a 2015 Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Why intersectionality can't wait."  Let's as they say on the left, deconstruct that sentence.

It's not pretty.  "Analytic sensibility" is a complete non sequitur.  Sensibility according to the dictionary, and common understanding, is the ability to respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences.  "Analytical" means to use logical reasoning to pick something apart.  In the old Star Trek series, Spock's character was analytic but lacked sensibility.  When asked to appreciate emotion or aesthetic quality he could not to that, because the two traits are not intellectually compatible.  They aren't here either with respect to "intersectionality."  

As far as the second clause of the definition goes, it's meaningless.  "…A way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power…"  What way of thinking? "Analytical sensibility" is gibberish, so how are we supposed to think about it?  And what do "identity" and "power" mean anyway?  They are leftist buzzwords.  Broad amorphous terms that that the left likes precisely because they are imprecise. 

Terms like intersectionality are valued by the left because it gives an excuse for otherwise intelligent people to take silly or downright ridiculous positions, like the pro-Palestinian-Arab BLM types. Or much worse, Jews who want to support the BDS movement against Israel because it is fashionable in certain salons.  Or feminists who support Islamists movements for the same reason, even though almost everything reactionary Islam stands for is opposed to feminist goals.  Or trendy lefty Hollywood types who deplore guns while fetishizing them in films and video games.   Or people who live in 10,000 square foot homes that agitate for carbon taxes.    

The problem for sensible polite people is that such jargon is confusing and stifles debate.  Someone introduces "intersectionality" to a discussion, and you either have to attack them for spewing nonsense, at which point they accuse you of making an ad hominin argument, or you are compelled to continue the debate on the leftist's nonsensical terms.  That's why for the left ideas like intersectionality can't wait, although they should, forever. 

An interesting thing about reading that most of us experience pretty early on is that when you learn a new word, all of a sudden you start seeing it, when before it passed by meaninglessly.  As one develops vocabulary this happens less frequently, but thanks to the left, we'll always have neologisms to learn, even if most of them are nonsensical.  Take "intersectionality" for example.

I'd never encountered this term until a few weeks ago reading a book review in the Washington Post about Rachel Dolezal.  Dolezal you'll recall is the white woman who got her fifteen minutes of fame pretending to be black.  I wrote a brief blog piece mocking that review and several others at the incessantly liberal paper. 

Anyway, the reviewer of Dolezal's ghost-written autobiography did not like it, or her.  The reviewer claimed that by pretending to be a black woman while being white, Dolezal asserted her white privilege over black people or some such silliness.   During the course of this "analysis" the reviewer trotted out the following line: "…the complexity of identity involves intersectionality…" to which I muttered, "huh?"  I noted this line in the blog piece and several intrepid commentators actually looked up the word, which I had not bothered to do.  Nor did I pay much attention to the definitions provided.  I figured when am I going to see this lefty nonsense term again?

I got my answer only a few days later when an article appeared in my inbox entitled "The Bigotry of Intersectionality" by Alan Dershowitz.  I had that little bit of excitement you get recognizing your new word friend.  Oh there you are "intersectionality" maybe I should have paid more attention.

Dershowitz's article focuses on the use of "intersectionality" by disparate leftist groups to justify hostility toward Israel.  As Dershowitz's says it is "…the radical academic theory, which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked…" and "…has become a code word for anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bigotry."

In the context of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism leftists use the term to link groups like Black Lives Matter and various radical feminist groups to the anti-Israel agenda.  Why should Black Lives Matter activists give a damn about Israel, especially when by their own hysterical description young African-American men are being deliberately gunned down on the streets by racist American cops?  Well, ostensibly it's because American blacks and Palestinian Arabs share an experience of racist oppression.  In actuality BLM activists don't really have enough domestic repression to protest—since outside of their fevered imaginations there isn't much—and so they need other stuff to justify the money George Soros sends.  Intersectionality is a leftist buzzword that gives provides a pseudo-intellectual patina to integrate leftist agendas across otherwise mutually unrelated groups. 

In the case of Israel, this permits flat out anti-Semitism under leftist rubrics like "ending Jewish privilege." As Dershowitz points out this differs not at all from traditional anti-Semitism which justified persecution on the basis of imagined unfair Jewish advantages and conspiracies to promote the same, which is little different from such anti-Semitic tracts as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or Nazi propaganda.  

One thing Dershowitz doesn't do is fully attack the idiocy of the term itself, as opposed to condemning it for its alleged misuse as a justification for bigotry. 

Does intersectionality really mean anything?  The term was coined by Kimberle Chrenshaw a young African-American law professor nearly thirty years ago, supposedly to explain how black women could "fall through the cracks" of otherwise elaborate anti-discrimination laws, though it is not clear in her own telling how or why this happened or what "intersectionality" means in that context or any other. 

What's Chrenshaw's definition the term?  "Intersectionality is an analytic sensibility, a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power" she advised in a 2015 Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Why intersectionality can't wait."  Let's as they say on the left, deconstruct that sentence.

It's not pretty.  "Analytic sensibility" is a complete non sequitur.  Sensibility according to the dictionary, and common understanding, is the ability to respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences.  "Analytical" means to use logical reasoning to pick something apart.  In the old Star Trek series, Spock's character was analytic but lacked sensibility.  When asked to appreciate emotion or aesthetic quality he could not to that, because the two traits are not intellectually compatible.  They aren't here either with respect to "intersectionality."  

As far as the second clause of the definition goes, it's meaningless.  "…A way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power…"  What way of thinking? "Analytical sensibility" is gibberish, so how are we supposed to think about it?  And what do "identity" and "power" mean anyway?  They are leftist buzzwords.  Broad amorphous terms that that the left likes precisely because they are imprecise. 

Terms like intersectionality are valued by the left because it gives an excuse for otherwise intelligent people to take silly or downright ridiculous positions, like the pro-Palestinian-Arab BLM types. Or much worse, Jews who want to support the BDS movement against Israel because it is fashionable in certain salons.  Or feminists who support Islamists movements for the same reason, even though almost everything reactionary Islam stands for is opposed to feminist goals.  Or trendy lefty Hollywood types who deplore guns while fetishizing them in films and video games.   Or people who live in 10,000 square foot homes that agitate for carbon taxes.    

The problem for sensible polite people is that such jargon is confusing and stifles debate.  Someone introduces "intersectionality" to a discussion, and you either have to attack them for spewing nonsense, at which point they accuse you of making an ad hominin argument, or you are compelled to continue the debate on the leftist's nonsensical terms.  That's why for the left ideas like intersectionality can't wait, although they should, forever. 

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