Is “Intersectionality” a Thing?

Of course, it’s natural for the outraged and oppressed to be fierce in their accusations. Of course, they are going to be angry and use strong language. 

On the internet, dissidents from oppressive regimes can be outspoken with a greater chance of avoiding persecution, and we, in quieter countries, can copy their style, recast our vitriol as courage, our abuse as “speaking truth to power”, thus demonstrating our pious loyalty to the liberal principles that underpin the platforms we use. Sincerity is the only truth, online, and is defined by articulacy and passion, by strength of expression.

Unfortunately, online words, cast adrift from referents, are highly weaponised. So much so that gangs of irresponsible little gremlins, often boy-band fandoms, have adopted the language of the culture wars, and are roaming the internet firing scurrilous and wholly unfounded accusations at each other, of racism, white privilege, cultural appropriation, homophobia, transphobia. They are like bands of leaderless child soldiers in a war zone who’ve scavenged weapons from the battlefield and are blazing away at anything that moves, and at each other, just for fun[1]

Perhaps these war-bands recognise an infantile quality to even the most serious of online disagreements. There’s a childish glee to the roastings that has nothing to do with subject under debate. Discussions of putative “intersectionality” are often little more than games of playground one-upmanship (“You think you’ve got it bad? Well, I’m not only a woman, I’m a BLACK woman!”) – a sort of Under-Privilege Top-Trumps.


[1] Jo’s cousin was kidnapped, while working for the UN in East Africa, by a group of leaderless child soldiers who had taken against people on bicycles and white pigs. Literally pigs, Sus scrofa domesticus, not a derogatory term for policemen or people of European descent. I guess it was just an excuse for shooting at something. Luckily, the cousin was neither of these things and was released. 

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