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Does intersectionality define ones oppression?

By Staff 2 months ago

Intersectionality, which was first named by the civil rights activist Kimberlé Crenshaw, is the theory that people are uniquely disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression: their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and other identity markers.”

Defined this way, intersectionality is, at least trivially, true. Most people don’t possess the most socially advantageous combination of attributes, and thus contend with multiple limiting factors in their environment. Moreover, if you’re in an environment that oppresses, say, black people, women, and the poor, if you’re in all three categories, you’re more likely to face more oppression.

However, it doesn’t follow that, given a person’s identity markers and no other information, you can reliably establish the degree to which they’re oppressed.

Suppose you have the choice between being born as a lower-class black or a lower-class white female, and you’re making the choice based exclusively on economic outcomes. Given that information alone, choosing to be white is reasonable: the US Census Bureau says that, on average, in 2017, white women earned $10,000 more than black women.

But what if we complicate the choice somewhat? Let’s stipulate that, if you choose to be white, you’re born in Qulin, Missouri, a town of 456 that’s 96% white. Undoubtedly, it would be good to be in the racial majority there, but you’d have to contend with rampant opioid use and you’d also have to assume that you’d earn the average per capita income, $17315. Meanwhile, if you choose to be black, in this updated version, you’re born in New York, where, to be sure, there are impediments to your progress, but there are also nonprofits devoted to giving your identity group free computer science education. This might cause you to reconsider.

Geography is just one compounding factor we could add to the equation, among attractiveness, parentage, and many others. But even one such addition illustrates that a few identity categories alone are insufficient indicators of a total level of fortune.

Additionally, differences in fortune between groups don’t necessarily indicate oppression as we commonly recognize it. For example, anthropologist John Ogbu, in his book-length study of black students in Stockton California, Black American Students in An Affluent Suburb, concluded that a major factor in lower educational achievement in the black cohort was that “parents did not monitor adequately television watching [and] they did not monitor their children’s friendships.” In other words, intersectional identity wasn’t the differentiating factor in school achievement, as would be predicted by a simple application of intersectional doctrine. It was parenting style.

It could be argued that this factor does fall under a richer definition of “oppression” than the common one, in which we include maladaptive differences in, for example, local cultural norms and parenting styles. Such a granular, sophisticated cataloguing of limiting factors in an individual’s life would most likely do a better job of predicting their outcomes than a simple reading of their identity group.

It would also undercut a broad, unsophisticated application of the concept of intersectionality.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website or its members.

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7 comments

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It seems that anyone who starts from a position of believing themselves “oppressed” are already well behind the pack.

Very few things in the social milieu cannot be made better in some way, apart from age. Studying hard won’t make you younger.

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I'm #racist, so I don't really care. I agree.

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A tool on how to be more racist and more ways hate others

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Intersectionality defines ones intelligence. 1914wizard OUT

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Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

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1

Peterson and others have talked about the concepts around intersectionality and how as a theory on anything its pretty poorly thought out. For example if we identify as black we are oppressed, but if we are black and gay then we can align our victim status with all gays as well and therefor we now have a broader range of victimhood, so what if we are black, female, gay and short, then our intersectional connections are better and our victim status more substantial. So what if we are black, female, gay, short and handicapped? Black, female, gay short handicapped and wear glasses? and so on. The point being that as we seek to improve our status as victims by identifying more and more categories of intersectionality at some point we become individuals since we have parsed out so many categories we are unique. then bingo you have America!

The goal of the left is to make us as weak as they can. Give the weak members of the society power and de-evolution will occur. IT is already happening here . ie. Soy Boys. Weak people are vicious people and will turn more vicious as they want more and more of what you have earned and they want to steal and claim more non-existent rights _ _In effect. Socialism.

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How about if you live in Southeast Asia in a bamboo shack, have 8 brothers and sisters, a family with little or no income subsisting mostly on rice and only a a few dry fish. No shoes, few clothes that you wear over and over until they are rags. No transportation. Then you come to America and make it. Intersectionality my patootie.

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