This thread at Sailer’s has produced some insights, among which is the following comment:
The definition of chutzpah is someone who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy because he is an orphan.
What do you call it when white people import millions of blacks in chains from Africa and then complain that America has too much diversity? On the eve of the Civil War, the population of South Carolina was 58% black. Was that too much salt in the soup and if so, who dumped all that salt in there? America lost its moral standing to exist as a whitopia a long time ago and like virginity, you can’t get it back.
An excellent point. Unlike the more recently arrived Italians, Greeks, and Irish, black Africans were here in America from her very beginning. Part of the founding stock. Only a few hundred thousand blacks were ever imported into America, of course, but that number quickly grew into a “native” African American population. Surely this population has as much a claim on the nation as the relatives of Thomas Jefferson? Isn’t it our national duty to continue working until there is parity between them and White America, whatever HBD issues may stand in the way?
I don’t bring this up as a challenge so much as an opportunity to discuss the totalizing Intersectional Left—not to be confused with the totalitarian Left. Let me explain:
In my most self-critical moments, I find myself agreeing (to an extent) with the critiques of white privilege and black oppression in America. Blacks contributed hard labor to a segment of this country and yet the country was never set up for their benefit. Obviously not! They were slaves. Even if their numbers were large in the south, across America as a whole, they never constituted more than 10-12% of the population. A minority population cannot expect a society to embody its interests and culture. However, at the very least, it can expect to gain some financial reward through its contribution to the larger society. Economically speaking, then, there is a legitimate Black American Grievance because across 200+ years of social contributions (in the form of menial labor), they never saw a financial reward in return.
Now, I would argue, as would most of you, that White America has long since paid that debt in the form of 300,000+ Union war dead, multiple Constitutional amendments, billions spent on civil rights legislation and enforcement, billions more spent on welfare programs. But insofar as these haven’t worked, and insofar as the nation will never accept HBD, I can at times admit that, when talking about Black America, the critical race theorists and social justice warriors have a point and we may as well join hands to try and lift up our black American brothers . . . after all, and as I said, they were here from the beginning, as much a part of America as the Daughters of the American Revolution. There is a certain loyalty that we should admit and act upon.
All this is to say that I can stomach and, for the sake of argument, even agree with certain Leftist points about race and class in the context of Black America. If I imagine that every Leftist/SJW argument were made in the context of Black America—designed to analyze only the plight of black Americans—then I find myself at peace, even in agreement, because I see no reason why we shouldn’t take blacks on as a continuing project, for their betterment, and for ours. They were our slave population, we freed them, now let’s continue the work of integrating them.
The problem of course is that contemporary Leftist arguments are not made only in the context of Black America. The problem is that the Left’s goals are not only to ameliorate the plight of black Americans. The problem is that Leftism is totalizing. It is not about the plight of a specific former slave population but about the imagined plight of everyone who is not a white, heterosexual, cisgendered male. Today, the Left has taken the discourse of oppression (which, again, has a legitimacy and a power when used in the context of Black America) and applied it willy-nilly to every recently arrived immigrant group, to every sexual identity group, to every human without a penis, to everyone who is not a white, heterosexual, cisgendered male . . . that is to say, the Left has applied the discourse of oppression to well nigh 90% of the planet’s population.
This intersectional move would be legitimate if, indeed, 90% of the planet’s population were oppressed by the other 10%, that is, by the white, heterosexual, cisgendered males. If white males met in synod every month to discuss how to rape, to kill, to thieve, and to generally repress the masses, then by all means, applying the discourse of oppression to everyone who is not a white male would make a lot of sense.
If you don’t buy this conspiracy theory, however, then one can only wonder at the underlying motives behind intersectionality. One can only wonder why the Left wants to apply a very specific discourse about a very specific former slave population to Hondurans who just came to America last week. One can only wonder why the Left wants to apply discourse about a former slave population to men who like to dress up in women’s clothes.
Why does the Left totalize its critique in this way?
Power and influence, of course.
To an extent, the discourse of oppression—the Left critique in the context of Black America—has worked for Black America. They got their freedom; they got their civil rights; they get their welfare programs, their EEO law, their constant outpouring of affection from guilty whites. It is no surprise, then, that other groups have decided to latch onto this discourse, to appropriate this critique, in the hopes that they, too, can get some of that power and influence . . . and state money.
If I think blacks have a right to all the welfare and affirmative action in the world, but I don’t think recently arrived Hondurans have the same right . . . . I am not a Leftist.
If I think blacks have a right to all the welfare and affirmative action in the world, but I don’t think homosexuals or transgendered people have the same right . . . I am not a Leftist.
If I think blacks have a right to all the welfare and affirmative action in the world, but I don’t think women have that same right . . . I am not a Leftist.
In short, if I am not intersectional, I am not a Leftist. Certain economically-minded liberals have lately learned this out the hard way.
Intersectionality, I think, will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. The contemporary “Left” is a coalition of utopians who think the entire planet can (and should! and has a right to!) live in post-scarcity luxury and middle-class harmony. But underneath this utopian surface are the divisions and fissures we should expect in a human collective. Intersectionality highlights these divisions. It exacerbates the differences. It forces people to declare their true motives and loyalties. Blacks or women, who’s it gonna be? Women or trannies, who’s it gonna be? Trannies or Muslims, who’s it gonna be? Muslims or Hindus, who’s it gonna be?
Put another way, intersectionality foregrounds the absurdity of the Leftist utopian project itself. For that reason, I celebrate it and welcome it, and would like some more of it, please. Once the factions have devoured one another, maybe we Americans can get back to the business of trying to help out the poor urban blacks as best we can . . .