Intersectionality—A Review

A review of Intersectionality by Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge. Flatiron Books (April 2016) 260 pages.

With Intersectionality, Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge have provided a handy explanation of the theory’s foundational concepts. In accessible language they sketch the history of intersectional thought, provide helpful definitions of its concepts, explain the main debates within intersectionality to outsiders, and competently elucidate the topics with which intersectional theorists are preoccupied. So, as primer on a currently fashionable branch of academic theory, Intersectionality is quite useful.

But if their book is pedagogically valuable, it is substantively objectionable. Perhaps the most striking aspect of intersectional theory is the extent to which it has become a totalizing ideology. Many commentators—critics and sympathizers alike—have often failed to appreciate this. Intersectionality is not just a branch of feminism, a means by which to advance women’s interests, or an analysis of matters of social concern. It is an all-encompassing philosophy that advances a unique politics, metaphysics, aesthetics, and epistemology, as well as its own (rather bizarre) interpretation of history. It is effectively a secular religion.1

The entirety of intersectional theory as explained by Collins and Bilge cannot be easily summarized, even in a long review. But some of its main tenets can be explored and, I hope, refuted. While intersectionality is philosophically incoherent, sociologically mistaken, historically illiterate, and (as I have argued elsewhere) politically dangerous, it nonetheless makes what appear to be strong arguments and offers a superficially plausible analysis of existing social problems. It therefore deserves a fair representation as much as a careful rebuttal.

Intersectionality as Critical Inquiry and Critical Praxis

Collins and Bilge begin with the following working definition: “Intersectionality is a way of understanding and analyzing the complexity in the world, in people, and in human experiences.” The authors, however, are concerned with just one manifestation of human complexity. They care not for the sort of complexity that is the subject of literature—war, family, and other imponderables of the human condition. They are interested only in the complexity of social inequality, because “people’s lives and the organizations of power in a given society are better understood as being shaped not by a single axis of social division, be it race or gender or class, but by many axes that work together and influence each other.”2 To understand the human social experience, they argue, it is necessary to understand the multiple ways by which people are oppressed and discriminated against.3 (And as examples of oppressed groups, Collins and Bilge provide the following list: “homeless/landless people, women, poor people, black people, sexual minorities, indigenous people, undocumented immigrants, disabled people, and the young.”) 4

Intersectionality, then, is a theoretical and practical response to oppression. It functions both as a form of critical inquiry—that is, as a way to understand how oppression operates—and as a form of critical praxis—that is, as a way to challenge and eventually overturn the status quo.5 The word ‘critical’ is central to these intersectional definitions, as Collins and Bilge do not employ the term under its ordinary definition. “As used in this book,” they write, “the term ‘critical’ means criticizing, rejecting and/or trying to fix the social problems that emerge in situations of social injustice.”

Intersectional theorists are also critical of what they perceive to be the underlying assumptions of social existence. In their view, the status quo is unjust and overwhelmingly oppressive, so it would be wrong to take its suppositions for granted. Intersectionality therefore critiques all ideas, statements, actions, structures, and institutions that reproduce our society’s unequal and repressive systems of domination. Here we find intersectionality’s most obvious debt to Marx, whose project was, in part, an attempt to discredit and overturn the underlying assumptions of the classical economists; for Marx, any analysis of capitalism that did not challenge or undermine it only served to further bourgeois interests. Later Marxist theorists developed the critiques of ‘ideology,’ defined by Terry Eagleton and other Marxist thinkers as the set of ideas that help legitimate and thus perpetuate the domination of the ruling class.6

In Intersectionality, the authors provide their own critique of ideology (in the Marxist sense)—specifically of racist, sexist, and classist ideology. Of course, any such critique necessarily raises the fundamental question of epistemology: What can we know, and how can we come to know it?

Intersectionality and Epistemology

Collins and Bilge do not spend much time on intersectional epistemology, so we are left to infer what they believe from passages scattered throughout their book. It isn’t that they find epistemology unimportant; they just presuppose a certain set of beliefs about it, probably in the interest of brevity. Nonetheless, the question of how intersectional theorists understand the acquisition of knowledge and the pursuit of truth explains much of what they assert elsewhere, so teasing out the authors’ epistemology is an important task. Much of it can be accomplished by a close reading of the third chapter, in which Collins and Bilge examine the history of intersectional theory itself.

“The histories that most people learn in school,” they write, “typically agree upon points of origin, key figures who played important roles, and noteworthy events that fostered some important outcome. Students take exams that test them on the so-called facts and write term papers on their meaning.”7 (Notice the appearance of that sinister phrase “so-called facts.”) They continue: “These authoritative versions of history may be widely accepted, yet these straight-line renditions of history typically include some groups at the expense of others and emphasize certain experiences over others.” Collins and Bilge note that, for most of American history, the “narratives” of “propertied white men” were privileged at the expense of everybody else’s.

Much of what follows in this chapter is uninteresting: A series of quotes from intersectional scholars calling out other intersectional scholars for failing to include this-or-that marginalized group of people in their “discourses.” More important to bear in mind is that, for Collins and Bilge, “All discourses come from a particular standpoint.” In their formulation, the words or thoughts of particular individuals are simply products of their group-identity’s narrative, whether it be their gender, race, sexual orientation, et cetera.

Here one might raise all the usual philosophical objections to relativism. If all knowledge is just the subjective product of an author’s race/class/gender, then why should we listen to any one person over another? Wouldn’t the narrative of a white male be just as useful—or just as useless—as that of a black female? How does one square intersectional relativism with intersectionality’s absolutist rhetoric of social justice? Why is social justice preferable to social injustice? And, if there is no capital-T Truth, independent of personal identity and ‘lived experience,’ then upon what basis does intersectionality purport to offer an accurate analysis of the world?

As best as I can discern, Collins and Bilge would reply that the dominant ‘narratives’ in our society are those of straight, white, wealthy, able-bodied, cis-gendered men, and that social equality can only be achieved by democratizing our sources of knowledge production. “[The discourses] of black women are often obscured,” they explain, so it is incumbent upon activists to emphasize them. For Collins and Bilge, feminist standpoint epistemology is a precondition for social justice. Implicit in their politics, therefore, is a rejection of the objective truth that the Enlightenment philosophers endeavored to uncover and describe—a truth, in other words, which is attainable through reason and intelligible to everyone. 

Intersectionality and Politics 

Departing from more abstract philosophical insights, the authors arrive at intersectionality’s political project: Radical egalitarianism. Throughout their book, Collins and Bilge aver that intersectionality is designed to abolish all systems of oppression, which must be accomplished by a thoroughgoing equalization of society. Their goal is to attain equality of social, political, and economic outcomes for every marginalized group.

Such a project, they explain, is incompatible with ‘neoliberalism,’ given the inequality of outcomes that capitalism necessarily produces. For Collins and Bilge, neoliberalism is a veritably wretched system. They fault it for enabling a long list of crimes, from facilitating sexual violence against female garment workers in the Third World, 8 to the “coercive turn” that many “democratic states have taken” that has increasingly led them to “use force to compel their citizens to obey.”9 Neoliberal politics must be overthrown; to replace it, the authors advocate a form of “participatory democracy,” which is never clearly defined, but which we might reasonably infer means redistributionist economic policies combined with anti-racism and anti-sexism. They do not bother to acknowledge, still less to respond to, the most common argument marshaled in defense of capitalism—namely, that free markets have nearly succeeded in eradicating extreme poverty worldwide.

In fact, Collins and Bilge spill very little ink responding to critics of intersectional politics generally. This was probably a wise decision, because when they do make the effort it is embarrassing to behold. For instance, during a discussion of the socialist critics of intersectionality—many of whom argue that intersectionality is an intellectual toy for privileged professors and a distraction from the urgency of class struggle—Collins and Bilge scornfully note that such qualms are disproportionately voiced by “white feminists.” They go on to write that, “…the resistance, even downright hostility, which some white feminists express toward intersectionality in the name of populism or socialism indicates a tricky interaction wherein racism masquerades as class politics.”10 Passages like this one should dispel the notion that intersectionality is compatible with a healthy, open discourse in our universities.11 It isn’t only campus activists who deride critics of intersectionality—including leftist critics—as bigots and racists. Even the intellectual titans of the movement surrender to such tactics.

In Intersectionality, then, one encounters everything that conservatives, centrists, moderate progressives, and classical liberals find most objectionable about the radical identitarian Left: Vehement opposition to capitalism, a rejection of objective truth, a dogmatic commitment to the politics of identity, the replacement of religion with an all-embracing political theory, a subtle (and at times not so subtle) hatred of groups perceived to be dominant, an inability to disagree with others in good faith, and a willingness to dismiss opponents as racists and sexists.

Out of Intersectionality

If intersectional theory is unable to provide a plausible interpretation of the world, it does at least offer a point of departure for further discussion. An intersectional analysis could, for instance, lead us to ask why it is that one finds similar demographic trends across many Western societies, where the very poor are often black or brown, the very rich are often white, and the rulers are usually male.

However, raising important and interesting questions is not the same as offering convincing answers. Intersectional theory ultimately fails to provide a compelling account of all the causes of human inequality, whether among individuals or between groups. It assumes a unidirectional exercise of oppression wherein inequality is created capriciously from above and imposed cruelly on those below. Such a framework falls apart when we analyze the groups that shatter this analytical lens: Young women are outpacing young men in educational achievement;12 Asian-Americans are out-earning white Americans; black immigrants are out-earning native whites in the United States;13 and so forth.

Despite Collins and Bilge’s claim to be identifying the complexity of human social relations, intersectionality views inequality in simple-minded terms, invariably attributing all inequality to a conspiracy of systemic oppression. Nowhere in Intersectionality’s 200-plus pages is any mention made of the internal causes of inequality. Cultural differences among races and nations are elided; so too are differences in interests and desires between men and women.

If intersectionality is to be replaced, its critics must offer a more compelling theory of inequality. Fortunately, such a theory is readily available: It is expressed in the empirically based work of scholars like Christina Hoff Sommers, Glenn Loury, Steven Pinker, and others who understand the multi-causal nuances of inequality, far better than intersectional theorists.

It is clear that the intersectional dismissal of internal explanations for inequality comes from a stubborn insistence on the ‘Blank Slate’ theory of human nature.14 To intersectional theorists, it is axiomatic that in the absence of discrimination all groups would attain perfectly equal outcomes—a belief for which evidence is never provided, and which was long ago shredded by the research of economist Thomas Sowell.15 The fact is that groups won’t ever be the same in the absence of discrimination because they remain different in innumerable other ways.

More fundamentally, the thought of Collins and Bilge rests on a utopian desire to abolish all inequalities that leaves no room for the pursuit of a better world or positive-sum reform. These are endeavors in which we must all be involved, as co-operative agents with a broadly shared understanding of what constitutes human well-being. Instead, intersectional theorists strive to create a perfect world on the basis of a jaundiced zero-sum view of human relations—a project that all people acquainted with the relevant evidence should reject.


Christian Alejandro Gonzalez was raised in Miami, Florida, and now studies political science at Columbia University. His work has appeared in National Review, The American Conservative, and Heterodox Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @xchrisgonz and email him at

References and Notes:

1 This observation is not lost on all critics. See: John McWhorter “Anti-racism, Our Flawed New Religion.”
2 Intersectionality p. 2
3 Ibid. p. 3
4 Ibid. p. 160-1
5 Ibid. p. 32-3
6 For more on the Marxist critique of ideology, see Terry Eagleton’s Marxism and Literary Criticism and Roger Scruton’s essay “Clown Prince of the Revolution.”
7 Intersectionality p. 63
8 Ibid. p. 145
9 Ibid. p. 138
10 Ibid. p. 112
11 Conor Friedersdorf, Ian Storey, and Chris Martin have made arguments to this effect. I responded in a previous Quillette piece, “The Illiberal Logic of Intersectionality.”
12 See: “Young women are getting richer, as young men get poorer
13 See Coleman Hughes’ “Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap
14 You can see the Blank Slate theory stated rather plainly in Intersectionality p. 177. Of course, the definitive rebuttal to Blank Slatism appears in Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
15 See especially: Wealth, Poverty, and Politics by Thomas Sowell


  1. ga gamba says

    Longer comment to be left later. Now just wondering what Columbia is serving at the undergraduate dining hall that we get such great contributions from Messrs Gonzalez and Hughes. Get a few more mates of yours involved and in a few years time people may talk of the exploits of the Columbia Crew.

    Those of you who haven’t viewed Hughes’s talk with Glenn Loury ought to do so.

    • They are both no doubt in the extreme minority, udeas wise…as Hughes mentions in the Loury podcast how socially ostracised he is/would be articulating his ideas in the halls of Columbia. And Loury def is an army of one at Brown….all the ivys are bastions for festering BS in the Humanities. Thats why these ppl are speaking out…it will take generations to make right.

  2. I take issue with the way the author deals with Marx. Marx was not a relativist, his political theory flowed from his economic theory, his economic theory was rooted in classical economics, and its pretty clear that Marx regarded his economic theory as true, his political theory as following logically from his economics, and thus socialism was a scientific endeavor.

    Not to say he was right about economics or politics (but perhaps more right than the neo-classical economists). Further, Marx was coming out of Hegel’s dialectical understanding, and his discussion of capitalist ideology fit into his Hegelian framework, in that Socialism was the new and final stage of human understanding, and capitalism was the old understanding of an immature stage of human development.

    In contrast, our blank slate radical equalists are complete relativists. Further, they never really deal with how to resolve conflicts. What is good for Black males isn’t per se good for females isn’t per se good for the deaf community. How do you go about assigning intersectional pokemon points to different groups? Further, how do you avoid creating another hierarchy of inequality where those with the least amount of intersectional pokemon points are ruled by those with the most intersectional pokemon points?

    It is a rather odd political theology, in that it presupposes a hierarchical caste system (held in place how?) but then seeks to replace it with an inverted hierarchical caste system which it calls “equality”.

    • Alistair says

      Partly agreed. The modern radical egalitarians are complete relativists, and are epistemological opposites of Marx even though they are in thrall to his ethics and the historical dialectic.

      I believe the term “lumpen Marxists” were coined to refer to such people: Marxists without the economics and empiricism which it was based on. They arouse mostly from the 60’s onwards, when it was abundantly clear to all of good faith that the economics of Marxism were broken and its predictions laughably false.

      Yet rather than abandon Marx, they just dropped the embarrassing economics bit (to be honest; the maths was a bit deep for them and they never liked the potential falsifiability) and decided to invent new categories of oppression; race, gender, sexuality, etc to replace economic class relations (the working class had “failed” them anyway; what with its false consciousness and everything – they would have to turn elsewhere for their revolutionaries….).

      Their resulting complete ontological and epistemological incoherence never bothered them a bit. Marx, who wished to have a science, would have been appalled by them.

      • The other piece here is that the power of Marx was that he was able to innovate from classical economic theory and construct an economic and a political theory which became communism. The power of Marxism to persuade lay its ability to provide a philosophically coherent and empirically based framework for understanding the world.

        We can shoot down Marx today, over a century later, but only because of subsequent developments in economics and experiments with state socialism. At the time, Marx was cutting edge and extremely influential.

        In contrast, intersectionality is characterized by its complete lack of explanatory power for anything, and is only useful to provide an excuse to reject out-of-hand empirical evidence or traditional schools of thought. Its essence is really based on power, the power of the Emperor to walk around naked and demand the subjects compliment his new clothes, or be subjected to social and professional ostracism.

        It is much closer to the Maoist Red Guard cult than Marxism.

      • Oporto says

        A science, by definition, (if we accept the Kantian / Popperian definition) is descriptive of some kind of natural phenomena. An applied science, or technique, instead uses the knowledge acquired by the (pure) sciences to produce something (and consequently to change/improve a situation).

        Marx, had in mind a descriptive materialistic vision of history, with a lot of implications such as the dictatorship of the proletariat that he considered inevitable once the poor would have become aware of their alienation and would have rebelled, by igniting the fire of the proletarian armed revolution.

        Committing what some decades later would have been called “naturalistic fallacy”, Marx, however, accepted the dictatorship of the proletariat as preferable and worked to spread his “good news”: it was not only necessary to accept the inevitability of the implications of his theory, but to do everything in order to accelerate them. In this sense marxism was certainly not a science, in the strong sense, but an applied science.

        He said it clearly: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it”.

        The fact that marxism then turned out to be a pure pseudoscience (with practically all the implications to be unasifiable, as Popper himself noted) does not change things… almost all the pseudo-predictions imagined (but never clearly demonstrated) by Marx have proved wrong, starting from the one that said that in the long term the capitalist systems would have brought, according to him, to enrich only capitalists and to increase the number of poorer and poorer proletarians. On the contrary, in the long term, the material benefits of free market have proven to led the rich to become richer but even the poor to become (moderately) richer. And this effect has accumulated from generation to generation. Marx was wrong.

        • I think you are missing some things here.

          Marxism was never “Popperian” science because Popper lived after him, and the falsifiability/logical positivism debates were early-mid 20th Century.

          Nor in practice were Marxists ever very scientific, and the Lysenkoist Left lives on and thrives as we speak, hiding behind intersectionality and post-structuralist accounts of “patiarchical hegemony” that makes people think that engineers are better at building bridges than African witch doctors.

          However, Marx recognized the specific value of capitalism that you cite, and expected the Communist Revolution to occur in the most advanced industrial economies like England and Germany. He never anticipated the Russian or the Chinese communist experiments.

          The point is, while flawed, he was a real thinker who wrestled with some hard questions, and took things farther than they were before he got started.

          This is in abject contrast to the mental cotton candy marketing itself as “intersectionality”–one is at a higher risk of learning something useful from deep study of astrology. At least people will still be paying for horoscopes after the regime change.

      • David Hynes says

        Actually, they aren’t Marxists at all. Marx derived the class structure from the commodity form, and the relations of production that are caused by it. Things are made and sold for profit. Those with property get to set the terms, and those without are forced to sell their labour, thereby generating the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The mechanism that causes the division is the playing out of the commodity form through markets.

        The intersectional people start with the division of people into groups, of increasingly arbitrary nature, and work back from there. The precise causes of the oppression remain unspecified. When you ask them for a cause, the answer is so broad as to be meaningless: the structure of society, patriarchy, neoliberalism, white privilege, etc., none of which amounts to a mechanism.

        Besides, Marx was a white heterosexual male, so what could he know?

    • puddleg58 says

      There’s another aspect of Marx that’s more important to intersectionality than his economics – the sado-masochistic linguistics that Edmund Wilson highlighted in To The Finland Station (1940).
      This vocabulary fetishes victimhood and violence, but to explain the lasting appeal and memetic metastasis of that combination we’ll probably need to rehabilitate Freud and Kraft-Ebbing.

    • C Young says

      > Marx was not a relativist

      Quite right. He wasn’t himself a relativist, but he sowed the seeds that grew into postmodern relativism.

      ‘False consciousness’ and the idea that the base determines the superstructure became progressively more important to Marxists post 1945, as it became clear that the workers weren’t going recognize ‘their class interest’ and participate in revolution. What explained their mass delusions?

      The notion that *some* ideas were the product of *economic* relations gradually extended into the notion that *all* ideas were the product of *power* relations. It grew from a factual or scientific position, into a sceptical philosophical position.

      Add in a racial/gender/ability account of ‘power’ and you have modern intersectionality relativism.

      • Joseph says

        Marx was not relativist. It seems clear to me. In fact, on the contrary, Marx was a fundamentalist. A very dogmatic fundamentalist actually! And not only him. Here in Europe it’s a truism that, for a lot of communists, Das Kapital or The Communist Manifesto were doctrinal texts, just like the Bible… in fact, as in all radical political ideologies, there is a lot of dogmatism in the middle of Marxism.

        Even in today’s campuses… they are not true relativists, because true relativism is a utopia: we all, as human beings, have purposes, interests, values ​​and if we act in one way and not in another it’s because some preferences are intrinsic. So “embodied” relativism is not achievable. Just the fact that we act implies that we are not relativists (from a psychological-cognitive perspective). At most, as a weak surrogate, one can be an intellectual relativist who thinks he cannot have any objective knowledge of the world, or who claims he cannot have strong moral arguments to justify some behavior or to condemn others.

        These academic “neo-postmoderns” instead use the intellectual relativistic impetus of the doctrines of the original postmodernism, only to justify their political vision, their leftist fundamentalist ideology. Some might argue that doing so seems pretty inconsistent… because you can not start from relativistic premises to justify an ideological/political/moral/ethical axiomatisation of any kind… it’s just logically incoherent. And indeed it is, even if these ideologues still don’t notice it.

        If they were softer and less dogmatic/doctrinal as they say they are (and in fact they speak of tolerance/diversity/equity) they would not censor those who think differently. Intellectual relativists can not carry on censorship, because for them censorship itself would not make sense (they could not justify it): in fact, why should we censor only something and not other things, if all the narratives are equally false in the same way?

  3. dirk says

    An ideology cannot be refuted, maybe that’s not so by definition, but in practice , it mostly is.

  4. Joseph says

    This radical left ideology has become a religion, with principles that can never be questioned, otherwise you are an apostate who must be silenced and censored.

    • peanut gallery says

      Tangentially related, this sort of thing is why I think Sam Harris/Dawkins have a hopeless quest. Humans don’t need a religion to partake in religious thinking. So if humans can’t be completely separated from faith-based thought, at least encourage those thoughts that are useful. Telling people to “act/think rationally” is a non-starter. Good luck! Even the best of us don’t get that right all the time and the worst are completely beholden to some idea or another. “You don’t have your ideas, they have you.”

      • Don’t think I know who Sam Harris is, but I’m a bit familiar with Professor Dawkins’ position. His fundamental problem is that he hasn’t a clue about religion. If he’s on a “quest”, it’s to tear down something of which he has not the slightest understanding. He seems quite certain that his individual take on the Old Testament – the Hebrew Bible – outweighs centuries of scholarship by minds at least equal to his own.

        The man’s a professor, for heaven’s sake. How can he think it appropriate to so vitriolically denounce a vast field of human interest, engaging more than half the population of the world, without taking the trouble to read the literature? He’s no more worthy of consideration in this sphere than a creationist fundamentalist in the sphere of science.

  5. Hool says

    About ten years ago things like these were called “conspiracy theories” … now students at the University are indoctrinated with such things…

    • Todd W. Clark says

      Strange how that has occurred, isnt it? Does anyone think this happened by accident?

  6. Structurally speaking, any system of philosophical idealism either rests in some transcendental source (the One of Neo-Platonism for example) or must be grounded in a concrete regime (‘the End of History”) by which other social ideals are compared and contrasted.

    Post-structuralism takes/presupposes Kantian idealism but discards either the God concept or the End of History concept (which actually tends to merge into some kind of Millennialism escatology anyways), leaving pure relativism–incommensurable ideas that can’t be compared or contrasted.

    From the standpoint of rationality, it is neither coherent or consistent, as anything “real” is not “intelligible” and everything “intelligible” (e.g. subject to the white supremacist, heteronormative, cisgendered, misogynistic paradigm) is not “real”. There is just the naked will to power of the winners of the oppression Olympics, charged with imposing their will on the chaos and defeating the forces of darkness.

    From the standpoint of obscurantism, it is a total coup. The persistent ad hominem fallacy is a feature, not a bug. Since language bears no relationship to a real world, there is no point in examining the substance of language or its logically coherence. In a world divested of coherence, principles of logical reasoning, and repeatable, scientific laws (all reflecting bad think), there can only be the ad hominem fallacy.

    • Brian Garvey says

      “There is just the naked will to power of the winners of the oppression Olympics, charged with imposing their will on the chaos and defeating the forces of darkness.” A more perfect, concise synopsis of this phenomenon I have never seen. Thank you! We need to shout this from the mountain tops.

  7. ga gamba says

    A little background on it. Intersectionality arose from a lawsuit that claimed sexual and racial discrimination. The black women who were plaintiffs petitioned the court to view their aspects of oppression as additive and create a new class of oppressed group. Following this logic, we may add other identity aspects that further fractionate to create other classes of protected groups. At some point in the equation the biracial, pansexual, exceptionally tall, benefits receiving, university-educated, rural-dwelling, female who looks like Lurch, uses their pronoun, and suffers from IBS and chronic halitosis is an identity group by theirself. Outside the cyclone of victimhood politics we call this person an individual. It’s been observed the historical delimiter of socio-economic class often goes unmentioned, perhaps because wealth is less easily observed at a glance, though the intersectional game players are often academics of similar socio-economic class. You can see why a lawyer concocted this; imagine all the revenue streams it opens from civil rights lawsuits.

    Today, adherence to the idea of aspects being cumulative has fallen by the wayside and practitioners are free to choose the aspects played to seize the stage and spotlight. If amongst a group of whites then race suffices. When amongst a group of one’s own race then characteristics such as colourism, passability, educational status, immigration status, accent, disability, and weight are employed. Which trumps what I’m at a loss to explain; I suppose it’s the force of one’s personality, charisma, and how many allies are present that wins the day. The gambit is to seize the moral high ground by accusing others of marginalising whatever aspects the accuser finds useful to browbeat others into submission. Attempting to be inclusive, when the cowed focus on the main reason for the marginaliseds’ marginalisation then the more marginalised bits of their marginalisation end up being more marginalised still. The resulting unhappiness is then fodder for one-sided accounts to be tweeted to one’s followers to gain therapeutic consolation and instigate a twitter mob. Play it right and you may parlay your woes into a Go Fund Me appeal. An irony of intersectionality is that it both condemns the targeted power group for ignoring the issues of the differently whatevered whilst at the same time telling them they have no right to discuss them because they don’t understand them. For movements built on discourse there’s the perplexing phenomenon of telling particular member groups to simply shut up; it’s likely to keep the headache-inducing incoherence under wraps.

    I’m not an admirer of socialism, but I’ll give credit to labour-movement socialists of Western Europe and North America of days long ago; they believed that everyone was the same and equal, and these socialists behaved accordingly. The diversity intersectionalists play an altogether different game by establishing the pecking order of endless bickering and bitching, often about white women’s perceived privilege in terms of hair texture and body shape though black women of lighter skin shades and narrower noses get it nowadays too. Recently intersectional conferences organised forbid participation by whites entirely – a new variant of the TERF’s no-man-on-the-land game. For reasons that ought to be more closely examined, intersectionalism tends to be a woman’s plaything, yet the former men who are now women play it exceedingly well too, so perhaps there’s hope for men yet; nonetheless, it’s Mean Girls acted out in real life by highly educated 25 to 45-year-old women.

    For a movement obsessed with erasure, namely the avoidance of it, it’s proved itself skilled in removing writers from canons, art from walls, books from shelves, music from playlists, and actresses from roles. The purpose appears to be deprivation. It’s unleashed the dodgiest trend of our time: the policing of culture by a new set of self-styled moral guardians and busybodies. All that I can see it creating is ever more administrators whose metric of success is the increased number of complaints lodged and investigations launched. “We’re creating awareness.”

    Now, you may think: OK, Ah Choo, what does this have to do with me? Within the academe there’s a move afoot to require both employees and students to complete a curriculum called cultural competence, which is about respecting and being inclusive of intersectionality, diversity, and difference, and addressing inequities created historically, politically, and socially. Not only does one have to understand what this barmy idea is, you had better respect it too and prove this by supporting equity actions. Fail this and you won’t be awarded your degree. From the universities this programme will spring forth to intrude the companies’ HR departments and governments’ hiring panels.

    • peanut gallery says

      Hah! ‘We’re creating awareness.’ Yeah, they’re making everyone aware that progressive ideologues are assholes.

  8. D.B. Cooper says

    And as examples of oppressed groups, Collins and Bilge provide the following list: ‘homeless/landless people, women, poor people, black people, sexual minorities, indigenous people, undocumented immigrants, disabled people, and the young.’”

    Is this exhaustive? What about height, weight, athletic, talent, intelligence, left-handed, etc.? Is there a finite number of oppressed groups? If so, who – theoretically, actually, or otherwise – determines this limit and by what warrant (determining factors)? If, however, there is a potentially limitless number of oppressed groups, assuming future generations continue the proliferation of marginalized groups for white males to… well… marginalize; then wouldn’t the ‘status quo’ simply devolve into an infinite regress of social injustice by one marginalized group, followed by another, and then another, so on and so forth ad nauseum?

    Put succinctly, given enough degrees of freedom, would not an indefinite number of uniquely marginalized groups approximate to a more insufferable way of saying relentless individualism? Collins and Bilge appear to have unwittingly enacted an insufferable tautology upon themselves. Theirs is a Sisyphean task, to be sure.

    Intersectional theorists are also critical of what they perceive to be the underlying assumptions of social existence. In their view, the status quo is unjust and overwhelmingly oppressive, so it would be wrong to take its suppositions for granted. Intersectionality therefore critiques all ideas, statements, actions, structures, and institutions that reproduce our society’s unequal and repressive systems of domination.

    Forgive me for asking the obvious, but I can’t help myself. If intersectional theorists reject the underlying assumptions of social existence, then how can they ‘know’ this oppression exists; since, what they reject is the very thing claim exists: the entire status quo social paradigm (all ideas, statements, actions, structures, and institutions) from which this oppression occurs. For example, one can hardly believe Ariel was ‘actually’ oppressed by the patriarchy (King Triton) or that Sebastian (crab) ‘actually’ culturally appropriated Jamaican culture without also believing in ‘actual’ mermaids/mermen and ‘actual’ talking crabs (who have Jamaican accents).

    When Collins and Bilge say that “[The discourses] of black women are often obscured,” and therefore; it is incumbent upon activists to emphasize them – on what grounds are they basing their claim, and why is it incumbent upon activists to emphasize discourses of black women? Truth by assertion is one thing, but the moral profanity of unctuously employing epistemological privileges that you’ve magically granted to yourself, while simultaneously denying any/all challengers the theoretical utility of postulating dissenting claims smacks of authoritarianism.

    Unless and until intersectionality theorists provide arguments for their assertions that the status quo is either illegitimate or inherently repressive their conclusions will not, but more importantly, cannot follow from their premises; since, they seem to reject the very socially constructed premises upon which their assertion is based.

    If I had to guess, their theoretical and practical response to oppression – whether they are consciously aware of it or not, I cannot say – is primarily an argument against the contemporary standards of merit more so than any collective oppressor/oppressed narrative; since, merit standards provide a social framework for the emergence of competence hierarchies, which are themselves almost always oppressive by their very nature. Then, again, I could be completely wrong about everything I’ve said. In truth, their reasoning is so bat-shit crazy, I’m tempted to think I may have misunderstood intersectionality altogether.

    • ga gamba says

      If so, who – theoretically, actually, or otherwise – determines this limit and by what warrant (determining factors)?

      This is one of the tapestry of diversity’s many frays, so let’s tug it, shall we? Some may ask: “Why? Isn’t intersectionality simply a call to hear those who’ve been unheard?” The answer is because intersectionality is an equity movement where outcomes, i.e. remedies, are dispersed based on one’s (accumulated) oppressed group membership(s). Further, these game players created the progressive stack, a construct that defines the level where one exists in the oppressive hierarchy of reversed oppression, so we might as well hold them to it.

      I think some of the more clever ones recognised the complexity of this because the stacks generally constructed have a person with two or three variables, such as female and black or white, male, and gay. Often white and male are taken to be so omnipotent that gay doesn’t weaken it, therefore female and black is awarded the remedy. Further, the example stack usually stacks up everyone else against white and male because it’s a no brainer; white and male always lose.

      But life is more complex than that of two people, one of whom is white and male, right? How about a round of female and black versus female and indigenous versus female and Muslim. Who gets the remedy? “Everyone!” If only life were filled with unlimited resources to dispense. Our game players then add other aspects to their claims of oppression. I think most people can see where this is going.

      Progressives have several contradictory rules. One is that you get to define yourself and also control the definition of isms and phobias that afflict you. “You don’t get to define what racism is,” snarled at a white fella who cited the dictionary definition. This comes into conflict with the rule stating non-white others (who are not of your group) need to recognise that your claimed oppression is genuinely oppression. This not only undermines the customary rule of what is asserted is true, it contradicts one’s right of self-definition and defining the oppressions that oppress. Often this is used to weaken the claim by people of colours other than black who are declared to have mitigating aspects such as passing privilege. Yes, we affirm you are not as powerful as whites, but you are not as oppressed as you claim and therefore the demand for remedy is not as strong as those deemed more oppressed. It seems to me this part of the gameplay is a shift from using group to empower a person to focus on a person’s individuality to weaken or reject their claim. Ultimately, there is a veto held by some group to be wielded against others. Who holds the veto is likely determined in some way by how many supporters are present as well as one’s ability to throw a conniption. Bullying probably counts too. Remember, civility and decorum have no place here.

      Note, some may say these are not rules, but at the very least they are enforced guidelines or practices. But for intersectionality to be used in law, then it must be codified. I suspect this doesn’t bother intersectionalists too much because imprecise and vague laws allow for more wiggle room such as use of context, appeals to long-ago history, and other special pleadings. They also want to replace the judicial system with community-controlled restorative justice, but that’s another story.

      In truth, their reasoning is so bat-shit crazy, I’m tempted to think I may have misunderstood intersectionality altogether.

      If you understand it as the child’s game of I’m rubber and you’re glue where assertions equal truth and the winner’s takings is give me whatever I demand, then you’ll understand quite well. The complexity comes when there are inter-community squabbles amongst the people of oppression. It is for this reason that often Asians, Hispanics, and others are cajoled and bullied into compliance under the appeal of solidarity against whites, and when a group defects, such as Asians legitimately complaining about university admissions, they are ridiculed and condemned. There are some claims of oppression that are too intolerable to bear.

  9. dirk says

    There was a discussion on Q. whether the enlightenment was Christian or not. One also can ask oneself, whether intersectionalism is a typical off shoot of the christian faith. I think so!. Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. Turning the other cheeck. The Kindom of Heavens for the downtrodden and persecuted.
    In other religions, there is no such thing, that I can think of. Nietzsche warned for it. Spinoza, the early humanist, also, and Peterson , of all people, of course.

  10. “Perhaps the most striking aspect of intersectional theory is the extent to which it has become a totalizing ideology.”

    This sentence might be one of the most spot-on encapsulations of how intersectionality as a concept is currently being used in our public discourse. Gonzalez and I seem quite different politically – I’m a political Leftist who used to subscribe to intersectionality as a totalizing political economy but have since sought out Leftist alternatives. The moment I started truly questioning occurred when I saw a Hillary Clinton surrogate insinuate that Senator Bernie Sanders was a “white supremacist.”

    I want commenters and readers on Quillete to know that people on the Left are also disillusioned with how intersectionality, “anti-racism” and the like are being employed as tools of division. Writers like Walter Benn Michaels and Adolph Reed, Jr. are writing back against these perspectives and argue that they have hindered the development of an egalitarian political Left.

    Reed specifically argues that intersectionality and anti-racism are not part of a true political Left but are a “neoliberal alternative to a Left.” Here’s a link to one of Reed’s recent academic articles:

    As I write this, I feel pangs of guilt for even daring to question intersectionality and for commenting on Quillette because of how it is characterized as being “center”/”center right” in orientation. But there are very few places to have honest discussions like this any more. In other forums, I guarantee you that this article and most of the comments here would be characterized as “white supremacist,” “misogynist,” et cetera for simply daring to critique intersectionality. If it’s impossible to critique a particular concept without risking an attack on one’s character, we do seem dangerously close to a religious ideology.

    • Intersectionality is a counter-revolutionary, reactionary politics which is more than happy to have monopoly capitalism, neoliberalism, and an economy based on financial schemes rather than production, provided a certain percentage of the cut is skimmed off to support the intersectional clerics in the style to which they have grown accustom.

      They are little different from the medieval Catholic Church, content with fuedalism so long as they have a cushy life and cut of the economic surplus.

      However, the best way to counter this malarkey is to declare yourself to be far right, and articulate a class-conscious strategy to create a voice for the “forgotten man”, and talk about transforming the GOP into a “worker’s party”. Oh wait, that’s what Steve Bannon is doing. . . can’t do that its “racist”.

    • ga gamba says


      I presume you’re new here, so welcome to the site. No reason to feel pangs of guilt. It’s kind of weird that writing as a free person induces that, imo. How often are you made to feel ill at ease and suppress yourself? Hope to see more comments from you. A sane left is OK is my book. It’s keeps us on the right honest and attuned to what’s going on amongst the group who is being overshadowed. Thanks for the link. I’ll repay the favour, If you haven’t heard of Julie Burchill – she’s a UK Socialist – you ought to check her out. Oddly, she writes more often for the Spectator than elsewhere because most of the left (running publications) is shunning her. Brendan O’Neill of Spiked-Online, who is a Marxist, though I reckon that’s fallen by the wayside, is a good commentator too.

      • @ga gamba,

        I’ve commented on a few other pieces on Quillette. I was particularly struck by Remi Adekoya’s “The Fear of White Power” that appeared a few weeks ago. Iona Italia at Areo Magazine has also published some interesting pieces about racism and race baiting in the current discourse.

        I’m not sure when I started feeling ill at ease. I never felt this way in the early years of the Obama administration. But I definitely went through a phase from around 2010-13 in which I had immersed myself into the thinking of intersectionality and unquestioningly accepted it. This included enrolling in a Master of Arts in Gender Studies at Queen’s University in Ontario from 2011-12 but leaving after completing the course work but not finishing the thesis. I subsequently got involved in LGBT advocacy in South Carolina, worked for a time with Planned Parenthood in North Carolina, and then transitioned into HIV-focused work in New York City from 2015 up until earlier this month when I moved back to the Carolinas to work in HIV care coordination.

        I think feeling ill at ease and feeling suppressed has been the back drop of the last five or so years. There have been unqualified negative comments about “white gays” or “white queers” made in front of me or just about “white people” in general. Or maybe sometimes they are qualified but most of the time not. I used to join in on them because I believed in “signaling my allegiance to the social justice Left.” But around 2016, I privately began to feel that this brand of politics is toxic, corrosive, and antithetical to an egalitarian Leftist and a social justice oriented agenda.

        Reading people like Adolph Reed, Jr. and others (including Iona Italia and Remi Adekoya) has been so incredibly validating for me because the brand of politics espoused by a lot of the neo-liberal identitarian Left was harming my mental health. I deleted all of my social media accounts because I believe those platforms are exacerbating the toxicity and polarization. I even said out loud to certain friends and family members that I was beginning to believe that the best thing for white people to do was to commit mass suicide. In my worst phases of mental illness, I believed that simply being in public as a white person was harming people of color. I still have not quite figured out how to address this profound shame and guilt. Reed’s writing helps, but at the same time, I cannot un-read and un-see some of things I was exposed to over the last half decade.

        I have heard of Brendan O’Neill but I will definitely check out Julie Burchill. And I appreciate your openness to dialogue across the ideological spectrum. I don’t have much interaction with people to the Center or Right of the ideological spectrum, probably because my association with intersectionality encouraged me to dismiss them. I honestly feel a bit politically homeless because, while I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, I haven’t much identified with the Democratic Party since 2012. I was very enamored of President Obama but then had an awakening to how the Democrats have to do very little work to be the “less bad” of the choices in US politics and how they do nothing to address economic inequality in the United States.

        Sorry for the long and rambling response.

        • I’m a writer who’s in contact with Remi Adekoya and I’ve shared your comment with him. It’s a shame and extremely troubling that you feel this way.

          If it’s any consolation, there are many people of colour (like Remi and I) who don’t think your existence is subservient to ours because of things that happened in a world none of us inhabited. Considering you’ve been in a bubble all this time, you might not realise just how many people think like us (we might even be in a “quiet” majority).

          Please free yourself from this existential prison—you are far more than your race (as are all people). In fact, your physical characteristics are the least meaningful ingredients comprising the being that you are.

          • @Timi

            I appreciate your response to my comment. You are absolutely right…I was existing in a bubble. But I certainly realize(d) that people of color have a variety of viewpoints and that many do not conform narrowly to the ideology around intersectionality, critical race theory, et cetera. I think there are other elements to my personal biography that made me vulnerable to this mode of thinking.

            I worry because I know that this paradigm is excessive, toxic, corrosive, and counterproductive. But the reality of the incidents in Charlottesville and the way that the current US presidential administration emboldens racism and white supremacy create an environment in which it is easy to slip back into those modes of thinking.

            I believe Dr. John McWhorter is on to something when he talks about how this brand of politics closely resembles a religion –
            As much as I consider myself an atheist, metaphors around “original sin” and “perversion” and “evil” still resonate with me as a person who grew up gay in the US South in conservative religious spaces. It runs very deep within me.

        • Paul Ellis says

          “I even said out loud to certain friends and family members that I was beginning to believe that the best thing for white people to do was to commit mass suicide. In my worst phases of mental illness, I believed that simply being in public as a white person was harming people of color. I still have not quite figured out how to address this profound shame and guilt”

          I saw you asking in comments to another article whether you should kill yourself. That would solve, for you, the problem of your existence, but it would simultaneously create myriad serious and lasting problems for others around you. Negative sum and highly irresponsible.

          Get a practical job. Seriously. A friend, a virtuoso guitarist, was becoming deranged and suicidal in his attempts to master the guitar. Another friend ran a tiny building and decorating firm and needed some help with a job. My guitarist friend joined, and his mental health rapidly improved.

          The work provided simple and comprehensible goals; the goals were realistic and achievable; quality of work was readily apparent and could be judged fairly and objectively; it was clear to all when a job was actually finished; unlike the running-to-stand-still of instrumental practice, when done, the job stayed finished. He could be properly pleased with and tired by his day’s work, enjoy his sense of achievement, and then quit work entirely and leave it behind until the following day.

          The job was also a public service in that for whatever reason, their customers were never going to to the work themselves. Their living environments improved; the builders were adequately paid. This was a win-win transactional relationship, the basis of all successful and sustainable trade.

          Don’t start a fight you can’t win. On the other hand, *do* start a fight you *can* win. You can never win with your SJW activities because ‘winning’ is not clearly defined, the goalposts constantly move, and anyway you’ll eventually be denounced as a Quisling. An activity in which you create clear, simple, environmental improvements indisputably obvious to everyone will sort you out, be genuinely helpful, and is likely to result in positive change in unexpected areas.

          Second piece of free advice: quit paranoiacally projecting the problems consequent on the circumstances of your upbringing onto society at large. It doesn’t want them, and you’re experiencing blowback. Make a plan for tackling your demons. Proper pychotheraply, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, very often works.

  11. O. R. Ange says

    I cannot wrestle with the book itself as I have no read it and my experience with intersectionality is mainly outside of academia it is beginning to spread to places that one would not expect.

    I have seen at length both Fullbright Scholars and Peace Corps Volunteers speak about intersectionality a great deal to audiences abroad. Most of the time the audiences in Asia and Eastern Europe do not have the language or the context to understand what is being said but I’d like to provide a few examples. The first came when a volunteer a young black woman gave a graduate-level talk to a foreign audience about intersectionality. She spoke about how Caribbean food and African-American music was being appropriated by powerful patriarchal cultures. This led into a discussion about the American Salad Bowl, which was the first time I heard the metaphor. It struck me as strange because of how divisive the image seemed. Segregation opposed to assimilation. The presentation was a disaster but I see this becoming a theme.

    In front of various foreign audiences I listened to volunteers say that sombreros and mustaches are tacky and insulting when speaking about Cinco de Mayo, but that a history of the Battle of Puebla is appropriate. Then hours later listen to how this same volunteer identified as white before she ‘found herself’ and now is a Latina.

    And in university departments that are majority women there have been Fullbright Scholars who mandate with joy a fifty-fifty gender quota for inclusiveness and diversity between men and women…often in countries where women are exponentially succeeding in higher education and men (white, black, etc.,) are falling into waste.

    It just seems more and more that there is a growing divide and that those in the academy and in the media community want to enhance. It seems like for the first time that it is easy for a professor or journalist to become an icon in the media and to become a zealot for an idea that enjoys very vocal backing in journalist and academic circles.

    I checked to see if there was a Fourth-Wave Feminism on wikipedia today and wasn’t surprised to find it and also see that one of the criticisms thrown is that the feminist groups in existence tend to eat themselves. Now with a recent black-eye in the form of the feminist professor sexually harassing her male student we can see if there will be any fallout.

    • Karamo says

      Exactly, the concept of cultural appropriation is what we would banally call assimilation of traditions from different cultures… instead, what they are advocating for is a sort of cultural/ethnic segregation… it seems scary to me, it’s really racist in its excesses. But, no… far-left ideologues can not be racist according to the common narrative…

      The feminists of the fourth wave are simply SJW you see on Twitter… they are even worse than the postmodern feminists of the third wave, that at least didn’t have any social media to show their pseudo-intellectual trash…

      • @Karamo

        I agree with you regarding the excesses of the cultural appropriation critique. What we are arguably striving for in the United States and other western cultures are true multiculturalism and integration. I like the term “integration” rather than “assimilation” because, to me, assimilation somewhat implies that people have to give something up in order to “assimilate.”

        But I do agree that these types of arguments about “cultural appropriation” put us on a slippery slope toward racial and ethnic segregation, which is the polar opposite of what we want.

  12. Bill says

    Isn’t this all just the evolution of a society where scores are not kept and everyone gets a participation trophy? As a result, the whole concept of competition and winners/losers was THOUGHT to be a thing of the past but it runs counter to American culture. We’re an individualistic culture (it’s in the academic literature on culture) which means we seek to differentiate ourselves from each other — competitively. Intersectionality, and definiting your intersection of victimhood, is the logical extension of this individualistic behavior in a society where you are no longer to compete to show you’re better but instead must now compete to show you are worse-off (better victim).

    • dirk says

      @Bill: I came with it before on Q, but repeat: this competition for worse off started (for me) in the Oprah Winfrey shows of some 15 yrs ago. I remember, and was flabbergated. There, the audience applauded for a victim (too fat, not loved or respected, miserable life, beaten up, etc), the more victim the better it looked like. No more need to shame for or to overcome, but to be proud of. Of course, also Oprah was not the first one to show off with it, but she was the influential one. I think, it is very American, though also in Europe, it is still virulent (because,everything from US jumps over to us).

      • dirk says

        We don’t even have a dutch word for it, and just call it intersectionaliteit (there seems to be a translation, but almost nobody has ever heard of it). The US, the Paradise of system criticism and activism of suppression related affairs.
        BTW, also the term -white supremacy- we just leave it like that, no translation needed.

  13. Daniel says

    I wonder if this is an inevitable consequence of the proliferation and popularization of free speech. (Before you jump all over me, know that I consider free speech to be incredibly important, and it may be the way out of this atrocious bog.) But a society that has 50+ years of people saying the most outrageous things that came to mind is going to feel the effect. If those outrageous things are defended as somehow noble because they are a manifestation of free speech, they are therefore given credibility.
    Somehow we stopped differentiating between free speech meaning the free criticism of government and public officials, and free speech meaning the adamant insistence on the most ridiculously illogical, destructive BS imaginable.
    Humanities professors that push intersectionality have LESS place in the academy as science professors who push flat earth — they might, however, have an equivalent place as a flat-earther who is actively trying to silence dissenting scientists
    I believe it was George MacDonald who said: “There is a thought that stops all thought. And that is just the sort of thought that ought to be stopped.”
    Philosophies that silence dissent are not doing anybody any favors. Those are the thoughts that stop thought.

  14. AC Harper says

    My prediction is that in the (unlikely) event that equality of outcome was instituted then within 5 years a new hierarchy would form, entirely due to human nature. Now it might be a collection of people ‘at the top’ with different characteristics to those ‘at the top’ today. It might be a collection of people ‘at the bottom’ with different characteristics to those ‘at the bottom’ today, but I suspect there might be more of an overlap.

    Roll on Intersectionality II. Read the academic paper ‘Intersectionality Rides Again’. And around we go.

    • What a wonderful utopia! Half of masons and oil workers will be female and half of nursery teachers and nurses will be male! And let’s not forget any homosexual/transexual/bisexual/pansexual quota anywhere (if there will be enough… but there will be because gender is a social construct that will be deconstructed!)

  15. elly says

    I think intersectionality and feminism are a lot more connected than the author does. I can see how intersectionality seems to have taken on a life of its own. But it is rooted in feminist ideology. Some ‘second wave’ feminists are resistant to intersectionality as they always and only value ‘women’s rights’ over anyone else’s – usually white middle class women. But they started this way of looking at the world as unfair to specific identity groups and they have a lot to answer for.

  16. Mark Beal says

    How many times does the word “oppression” occur? Is it ever defined stringently enough for the reader to understand exactly what the authors mean by it (beyond being roughly synonymous with “inequality” or “unfairness”)? Do they suggest an objective measure of “oppression”?

    If not, one wonders how the authors achieved their present ranks within academia.

  17. Cassandra says

    Is one of the authors really called Bilge? Or has she/ he/ they assumed this name as a reason to feel insulted?

    It seems to good to be true, really

    • Noblesse Obilge says

      I was thinking the same. Bit of a gift, isn’t it? And have you seen photographs of her? She doesn’t look a happy bunny. Boy Named Sue syndrome?

  18. Oliver says

    It seems to me that intersectionality is practical application of the ideas of postmodernism. In fact, this very article describes ideas strikingly similar to the ones attributed to French postmodernist philosophers of 1960’s:

    Here is something I can’t wrap my mind around: the entire purpose of intersectionality seems to be pursuit of social justice, and justice is a value. However, in postmodernism values are seen as completely relative and specific to cultures, identity groups, and discourses. So how did ALL postmodernists and SJW’s agree to perceive justice as an absolute value that needs to be upheld and promoted at the expense of anything else (including basic decency and civility)?

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