Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stop Caricaturing Intersectionality!

My new post for The Forward's "Sisterhood" blog (and my first time writing for Forward!) focuses on "intersectionality" and how virtually none of its critics understand what it means. It's not about the mythical Oppression Olympics where we race to find the proverbial disabled poor Black lesbian trans woman. It's about understanding the unique experiences that emerge from the confluence of different identities -- that to be (say) a "Jewish woman" is not simply to add the categories of "Jew" and "woman" together. This has much to say about the status of Jews in the modern world -- including the antisemitism we continue to regularly face, which very often intersects with and leverages the other identities we inhabit to devastating effect.

Indeed, if anything the Jewish "problem" with intersectionality shouldn't be that there's too much of it but too little -- all too often, Jewish experience is not included under its ambit (something symptomatic of a larger exclusion within the "identity politics" field). There are exceptions -- I note Marla Brettschneider's recently published Jewish Feminism and Intersectionality, and the column I wrote with Analucia Lopezrevoredo on intersesctionality and Mizrahi Jews -- but there remains much work to be done.

Still unsure if you should click the link? Check out these endorsements in the comments!
  • "I daresay the writer could benefit from a chemical lobotomy." -- Gnarlodious
  • " Intersectional Feminism.... kind of like Nazism but without the open mind." -- Joshua Seidel (Josh is that weird guy who identifies as "Jewish alt-right", so in fairness he would be the expert on open-minded Nazism)
  • "Intersectionality is another loony leftist lie." -- Rob
Tough to argue with that!

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