Saturday, March 16, 2013

three quick thoughts about intersectionality, the personal is political, and power + prejudice

1. intersectionality or disconnectionality?

The identitarian fondness for the invented "intersectionality" instead of words like "interconnectedness" and "interrelatedness" comes from their belief that identity issues are inherently disconnected and only occasionally intersect. If I believed in conspiracies, I would think "intersectionality" was promoted as part of the attempt by the world's rulers to further divide us. But I believe people are shaped by the systems they inhabit, so I think it's only an example of a human tendency to accept superficial explanations.

2. is the personal political?

"The personal is political" is a fine philosophy for opportunists who don't know that "politics" means "of, for, or relating to citizens". If the personal was political, we would all be at odds with our neighbors.

The personal is only personal. The political calls for setting aside personal issues to work on greater ones. The first feminist, the person who coined the word, was a man, Charles Fourier. The driving force behind the 19th century abolition movement in the U.S. was white, William Lloyd Garrison. Fourier and Garrison knew the universal is political.

3. what's so convincing about "power + prejudice"?

The first people to write about "white trash" noted they were poorer than slaves and slaves mocked them, yet Critical Race Theorists believe anyone who is white benefits from "power + prejudice", even if they have no capital in a capitalist nation.

So why does the formula seem so convincing?

• Plosives and consonance: The devices of poetry have power, even where there's no meaning.

• Iconography: That definition is usually written with the plus sign, making it both a definition and a symbol.

• Mystery: The meaning is not immediately understandable, so its advocates enjoy the cultist's satisfaction of being able to enlighten those who accept their teaching and mock those who reject the one true knowledge.