Biblical intersectionality.

Joshua leading the Israelites

I am leaving the links intact because they are worth following, some for their pure confusion and silliness and others which argue with clarity.

From Merrill Perlman, in the Columbia Journalism Review: “Intersectionality” was coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a civil rights activist and legal scholar. In a paper for the University of Chicago Legal Forum, Crenshaw wrote that traditional feminist ideas and antiracist policies exclude black women because they face overlapping discrimination unique to them. “Because the intersectional experience is greater than the sum of racism and sexism, any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner in which Black women are subordinated,” she wrote in the paper. “Intersectionality” quickly caught on and made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015, which calls it a sociological term meaning “The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage; a theoretical approach based on such a premise.” Merriam-Webster’s definition is a little less academic: “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.”

“But as often happens with new jargon or buzzwords, ‘intersectionality’ has been adopted by groups far outside the original targets. Where Crenshaw was discussing the ‘intersection’ of race and gender, others took their own identities and discussed how their pieces overlapped, whether those pieces were physical ability, race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, politics, citizenship, or socioeconomic status. As The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote in 2017, ‘The word has migrated from women’s-studies journals and conference keynotes into everyday conversation, turning what was once highbrow discourse into hashtag chatter.’

“When that happens, everyone claims a piece of it, and fights break out. So ‘intersectionality’ is called “Marxist culture theory” by a columnist arguing that it is not for Christians; a college’s Pride Week activities include a ‘Queer Intersectionality Panel’ with “students discussing their identities on campus and giving advice to attendees on a wide array from topics, from being comfortable with themselves to embodying allyship’; a college group called “Hillelin’ with Melanin” offers Jewish people of color “a space where aspects of members’ intersectionalidentities are supported at once”; and a panel sponsored by The New York Times discusses “The Effect of Intersectionality in the Workplace.

I want to focus on the words “marginalized individuals or groups“, “social categorizations” and “discrimination or disadvantage.” While the definition includes individuals with marginalized groups, those who use the term intersectionality don’t think in terms of individuals, because individuals who feel they are marginalized have the choice to leave the margins, though that’s not to say it won’t be a challenging road. All the social categorizations are about groups, though race is hardly just social. The only thing that ties any of the groups that intersect together is that they are “marginalized”, meaning what? Living on the margins, being pushed to the margins? By whom? The visual such a word brings up is a high school dance, where the cool and popular kids are all together in the center of the room, and the nerds, goths, dorks and unpopular are lingering out in the margins of the room, hoping that one of the cool kids will ask for a dance. In the woke universe, an individual embodying more than one “marginalized” trait—there are so many that it’s easier to list what isn’t marginalized—has more grievance capital than one with fewer of those traits. What, by their definition, is not marginalized: male, white, Christian, wealthy.

According to Erick Erickson, “Intersectionalism comes into play thus: The more you identify with supposedly powerless classes, the more power society must give you. In other words, a one-armed black Muslim homeless lesbian must be given greater standing in society than a one-legged white Southern heterosexual Christian male who lost his leg in Afghanistan because he represents the white male patriarchy. Ultimately, the problem with social justice, the social gospel and intersectionality is that they embrace classes and identity politics where authentic Christianity teaches that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galations 3:28).

What few writing about intersectionality or intersectionalism seem to understand is that it ultimately preaches that there are only two groups in the world: the “marginalized”, and the “marginalizers”, also known as the exploiters, the privileged. The Bible agrees that there are only two groups in the world: the people of God, and the people of satan. The illustration I used for this post is Joshua leading the Israelites into battle. God gave them the promised land conditionally.

”After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses”. – Joshua 1:1-3. The condition was that Israel destroy the inhabitants of the land. Joshua sent out spies to confirm that the Lord had indeed given the inhabitants of the land into his hands. And they said to Joshua, “Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.” – Joshua 2:24.

Many more passages from the Old Testament and the New Testament divide God’s people from satan’s. That’s biblical intersectionality.

Black American reparations, part deux.

Yesterday, I commented on The Case For Reparations, an article in The Atlantic magazine, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. His arguments for reparations are entirely based on group guilt rather than individual guilt. Yet, a significant portion of his essay focuses on individual black Americans who were wronged, and the groups, rather than individuals, who wronged them, with the exception of a specific British loyalist slave holder. If you wonder, “who is Mr. Coates writing too, via The Atlantic,” we would need to know something more about the readership of that magazine.

The Atlantic has, by far, the oldest readership by median age. Pew research classified 7 magazines by median age of readership from 1995 to 2006. In every year starting with 1997, The Atlantic had the oldest, and in every year they were older than the U.S. adult population. Other magazines in the study were Jet, Newsweek, the New Yorker, Time, The Economist. Yes, in 2006, The Atlantic’s readership was even older than that of The Economist. Since there are no figures I could find regarding the racial composition of any magazine’s readership, I am going to assume, by dint of the age and other descriptions of The Atlantic’s readership, that the majority of the readers are white, liberal leaning, tend to want more detail than readers of most magazines.

Regardless, many of the people Mr. Coates was appealing to are white, and by including lots of individual stories and their sad aftermath, he expected the readers to care about them. There’s a contradiction here. You blame “every aspect of American society” for the present day plight of black Americans, you want reparations to help clean up “white guilt”–group guilt arguments–yet your appeal is to individuals, most of whom are likely to be white i.e. guilty (by virtue of group membership), whom you expect to care about the black individuals who were wronged. I am white, I care about the black individuals who were wronged, I support redress in the form of restitution from the individuals (including board members of corporations) who did the wronging to those who were wronged, but according to your central argument, I am guilty by virtue of being white, therefore I have no reason to care or want to redress the wrongs.

Am I missing something here?  He also doesn’t want to focus on details like “who pays”, “how much”, or “to whom.” Since any reparations proposal is going to involve government paying, how will black Americans living now feel about their tax dollars going to other black Americans? Unless, somehow, HR 40 or similar proposals conclude that enforcement officials will have to demand money from only white Americans. No, that won’t divide the country any more than it already is (another of his arguments).