On the Corner: Intersectionality is Not Feminist

By which I mean that it is not inherently or always feminist. Unlike other posts, I think I can keep this point short:

If intersectionality is an examination of how two experiences/identities interact, then when neither of those experiences/identities is woman and/or female, it is difficult to see how one might guarantee that the examination is feminist in any meaningful way. Remembering that intersectionality is not only the examination of marginalized experiences and identities, we could read a meaningful examination of any of the following without encountering feminism per se:

Black and Christian

Jewish and immigrant

Disabled and heterosexual

Asexual and queer

As I have explained elsewhere, intersectionality was born of Critical Legal Theory, which discipline has its origins in anti-racism, not feminism. Although the originator of the term, metaphor, and theory (Kimberlé Crenshaw) did so while examining legal cases of specific import to Black women and thus is as feminist in its birth as it is anti-racist, still intersectionality is something else. It could not be intersectionality if it was only about gender and sex, nor could it be intersectionality as we’ve come to understand that term if it was always inclusive of gender and sex.

The essence of intersectional thought is looking at how membership in one category affects one’s experience of belong to (or existing within) another category. It is liminal thought, as Gloria Anzaldúa might say. Too often we speak of intersectionality as a theory that “belongs” to feminism, but this notion both relies on a simplified, frequently erroneous history as well as a drastic limitation of intersectionality’s scope and potential.

How to Critique Infantilism, Special Snowflakes, Manospherians, and the larger Alt-Right in 140 Characters or Less

David Futrelle has been listing tweets he finds interesting, amusing or, in a few cases, actually important. I won’t repeat all of them here, but I have posted one or two before, and this one seems particularly relevant for the FtB crowds (can’t find the original tweet, posting the text). It is from author/artist Scott Westerfeld, the creator of a few graphic novels that I’ve not yet read:

Scott Westerfeld
@ScottWesterfeld

Common Excuses for Fascism
Germany: Bread costs wheelbarrows of cash
Japan: Obeying emperor god-king
USA: A feminist critiqued my video game

1:37 PM – Aug 18, 2017

yeah, gonna have to try out some of his novels now.

 

For Your Enjoyment: Netflix’s Countdown Clock is running

So, I’m always busy with something, and though I may consume too much mindless entertainment given the great needs of my family, friends, and communities, I clearly did not consume enough mindless entertainment to notice that Marvel’s The Defenders is almost here.

I did notice when I had an hour this afternoon and sat down with my kid to watch an episode of the Worst Witch (an engaging if not-too-original story about a girl who didn’t know she was a witch until her tweens when suddenly she finds herself flying to Witch School on a broom.

But when I logged in, I was met with a countdown timer to The Defenders’ release at midnight tonight. Ooh, I can’t wait. Trailers below if you’ve not yet seen them:

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What Fascist Policing Looks Like: Harris County Edition

As I have said before (a number of times) in this series, a principle component of fascist policing is an environment where police misconduct routinely goes unpunished. This is not to say that such misconduct never goes unpunished, but that even egregious misconduct is not guaranteed to be punished when brought to light.

Harris County, Texas gives us yet another example of cops going unpunished despite egregious behavior. The fascist cops in this case are Ronaldine Pierre and William Strong. Yet I want to question the extent to which a fascist policing mentality is exclusively to blame.

All the trigger warnings, should you choose to continue.

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Breaking News: Trump Is Kind of an Asshole

I won’t provide you with a tedium of links because if you’re following along at home with US politics and you’re doing so at least partly through mass media, you’ll have already encountered this multiple times, but I do wish to comment on Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Kat Timpf, Nicole Wallace, and so many others in the media who are acting surprised at Trump’s behavior.

Trump is a horrible excuse for a human being. He didn’t pander to the White Supremacists in the election or this past weekend, he fucking is a White Supremacist (capital letters intended). To see the media simply oozing concern that Trump would issue a classic bothsiderism talking point instead of saying something simple, like “it’s kinda bad when racists kill anti-racists where and when they openly gathered to speak out against racism” (so that there could be no doubt he was killing anti-racists in the act of countering racism).

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Jeffrey Lord, Sacked: AKA Correcting Someone’s Spelling Is Genocide

For those who don’t know, CNN has terminated their contract with commentator Jeffrey Lord. CNN itself describes the termination as directly in response to Lord tweeting “Sieg Heil” at a progressive who asked that Lord’s recent American Spectator article mentioning him be revised to spell his name correctly.

Media Matters, not a disinterested party (though neither is CNN) described the run-up to the tweet this way:

On August 10, the American Spectator published an attack piece by Jeffrey Lord against Media Matters. The screed lashed out at what Lord describes as “Media Matters Fascists.” Lord then tweeted the article to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. When Carusone pointed out that his name was misspelled in the headline of the piece, Lord responded with the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil!”

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Anti-Vaxxers and The Best Popular Science Writing Ever

I suppose I should qualify that by adding “short form category” to the end, but really, this article at New Atlas is among the best I’ve ever seen from any popular magazine or website. It begins by explaining a finding reached over a decade ago by one researcher each from UMich and Georgia State University. Their conference paper took several years to make it into print in the academic journal, Political Behavior. For reasons that will become clear later, I’ve checked the Dartmouth website that houses the original conference paper and the journal Political Behavior. They appear to be on the up-and-up.

Quoting from the first version, the authors Nyhan and Reifler state:

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Every Other Trans Person Is Wrong

I’ve struggled over the last four weeks with a post bashing around inside my skull. It seems unable to escape but also unable to calm down. I’ve wanted to write a rather lengthy post about language and the problems that I see with certain tendencies in trans* advocacy these days around language. But every time I go long-form, there’s so much that I can’t find a place to stop. So then I tried to go short-form, but that didn’t convey the real difficulty of the topic I wanted to engage. So now I’m going in a completely different direction, with a seemingly unrelated introduction and then, probably, a short-form take on the topic itself, allowing you all to take from it what you will, given the context provided by the introduction/preface.

So a good, long time ago, the internationally celebrated center of learning that is UMM ran into a spot of difficulty: apparently some right wing jerks were being right wing jerks. Whodathunkit. Usernames are Smart, a longtime commenter whose work and thoughts I remember as generally respectable and valuable*1, disagreed with PZ Myers suggestion that Morris residents treat as trash any scattered copies of the Young Republican rag “The North Star”. (Yes, they deliberately stole the name from the abolitionist newspaper of Frederick Douglas, which famously included one of the only ads promoting the Seneca Falls “convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman” to run outside of the State of New York).

I disagreed with Usernames’ disagreement, and said so. The crux was that while I agree that white people should be accountable to people of color when attempting to address racism in the US, I disagreed that suggesting actions (like trashing any “scattered” copies of The North Star that weren’t in their designated paper-piles) was the same as telling people from other groups what experiences define their groups. I also disagreed that waiting for people of color to plan a response is the right course of action when a white person is confronted with racism in that person’s presence. This doesn’t mean that white folk should be praise for anything they do, just for taking action. No, this is merely the natural consequence of refusing to put people of color on the spot, to make people of color responsible for ending racism.

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On The Corner: Intersectionality and Existence of Privilege

Siggy, over at A Trivial Knot, has a new post up with some interesting things to say about Privilege Theory and its successes and limitations as a lens through which to examine certain social dynamics.

One line in particular resonated with me, not for how I view Privilege Theory, but for how I view Intersectionality. It starts when Siggy asks how to evaluate a theoretical framework like privilege or intersectionality:

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For Your Enjoyment: Nature Is Amazing

I was entirely unfamiliar with Nature Is Amazing (a Twitter channel that bears some small resemblance to WTF, Evolution, though NIA focuses more on behavior than on bodies) until a few minutes ago I was reading a post on the latest in DudeBro culture written by David Futrelle over at WeHuntedTheMammoth. There I learned the important lesson that whether or not dudebro behavior is natural or nurtured, some dudbro behavior isn’t all bad:

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