Racism, Sexism, and Intersectional Social Justice

Between sessions of the 2020 Pirate Congress, I made some statements about intersectional social justice being racist/sexist as hell. It was then later suggested that I had to have done some major mental gymnastics to reach such a conclusion. I’ve been meaning to make a thread like this for a while anyway, so here… we… go.

Racism is prejudice or discrimination based upon race. Similarly, sexism is prejudice or discrimination based upon sex.

I fully expect that some people will disagree with such definitions, but we will get back to that.

A definition for intersectional social justice is a little harder to pin down, as often websites devoted to such will skip right over that and just go on about how they’re devoted to fighting racism, sexism, and other injustices. But nonetheless, sources can be found.

Intersectionality is a framework for analysing the world based upon identity groups, such as race and sex, and how those groups interact to form discrimination and privilege. Intersectional social justice is using that analysis to favour and punish people to try and correct the perceived discrimination and privilege.

The following quote from that last link from Investopedia is quite telling:

In modern practice, social justice revolves around favoring or punishing different groups of the population, regardless of any given individual’s choices or actions, based on value judgements regarding historical events, current conditions, and group relations.

Some of you may already see how the ideology is inherently racist and sexist, as its very basis involves discriminating and being prejudicial about race and sex. But some others are probably going to respond that I’m interpreting things in the worst possible light. So let’s go over some concrete examples:

  • This is an article about racial discrimination in Harvard University’s admissions process, done in the name of increasing diversity.
  • This is an article about a blatantly racist job advertisement for the BBC, also done in the name of diversity.
  • This is a video by Tim Pool, a youtube journalist and centrist political commentator on USA politics. In the video he goes over several cases of social justice activists implementing and defending racial segregation.
  • Here is an article about a Melbourne restaurant that explicitly charged more to male patrons because they were male, in the name of feminism and social justice. I have questions about how this was even legal under Australian law, but they’ve apparently since gone out of business so those concerns may be moot.
  • Recently, as in June 2020 recently, the state legislature of California passed ACA-5 which, if it passes the general election ballot in November, will repeal Proposition 209. Prop 209 was a constitutional amendment that prohibited the California state government from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, or ethnicity in employment, contracting, and education. The response to this attempted repeal of 209 from those who support social justice has been resounding approval.
  • Then, there is this… thing going on in Seattle. I have trouble finding appropriate words for this, so I’ll just let that link speak for itself.

Closer to home, there are the occasional casually racist/sexist comments that pop up on here. Always either dismissing what someone else has to say on the basis of race/sex, or suggesting that we need more of some particular race/sex as members as if that somehow matters or makes a difference as to the quality of discussion. And always by those who buy into intersectional social justice.

Now getting back to those definitions. The reason why I expect some people to disagree with the supplied definition of racism is because a lot of social justice activists like to define it so that it’s impossible to be racist towards white people, as detailed in this article. It can be summarised as the idea that “racism = power + privilege”. That idea can apparently be traced back to some activists in the 1970s through 1990s who essentially were in denial about their own racism and wanted to make everything about race. PSA Sitch has a pair of videos (here and here) that cover that in detail. I do NOT expect people to actually watch those, as they are quite lengthly, but I include them for the sake of completeness if anyone is interested.

These are by no means the only huge issues with intersectional social justice as a movement. Although not at the same core level, it also appears to be anti-free-speech, anti-privacy, anti-evidence, anti-objectivity, anti-representative-democracy, pro-political-violence, and anti-presumption-of-innocence. It is complete anathema to what is usually considered as Pirate politics.

The meaning of ‘intersectionality’ is simple and easy to find. It stems from the field of sociology and feminism.

Basically, society is analyzed by looking at demographics of race, gender, disability, class, sexuality, etc. Intersectionality rightly points out that nobody belongs to just one demographic, but there are multiple demographics anybody belongs to, i.e. the groups intersect. Intersectional feminism therefore aims to acknowledge women’s different experiences and identities.

Further, when you look at systems of oppression, intersectionality stipulates that when someone is a member of multiple oppressed groups, this can make a substantial difference to how that person is discriminated against. The classic example being, the differences between the experience of oppression of black and white US women.

Now, I’m not saying that I agree with everybody who jumped on the bandwagon of this 3rd wave of feminism. A lot of powerful factions are instrumentalising this line of thinking to screw over the poor just a little more again. It’s a theoretical framework which has its limits like any other. Not to mention the culture of debate has been slowly chipped away at by those who won’t realise that people aren’t bad, ideas are.

Let’s remember also the origin of the phrase Identity Politics:

My point being, if people in power actually cared about (women of colour’s) lives, the ‘Democratic’ Party would have long since ended all the US’ imperial wars.

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This is true, it’s a talking point that comes up every single national congress and more and it’s not just exhausting, it seems to almost erase the diversity of our member base, both active members and those purely on the books.

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The problem is that intersectionality wrongly claims that differences between group circumstances implies anything about any of the individuals in those groups. It does not. Everyone in a group can be treated entirely fairly, no discrimination in sight, and yet the aggregate result can still be different than another group. To use your own terminology, suggesting otherwise erases each individual’s actions and choices.

Furthermore, intersectionality then goes on to redefine various bits of language to disguise how it is essentially teaching how to think like a racist and a sexist, along with emphasising feelings over facts and all sorts of other nonsense.

And then people go out and start acting on it. Bigotry naturally follows.

Intersectional feminism aims to teach women how to be sexist. Or did that restaurant in Melbourne get its ideas from some other ideology?

It is frankly alarming how often I keep finding outright anti-Enlightenment ideas underlying all this crap. Often when I’m not even looking for it. It’s in that Seattle abomination, it’s in the origin of “racism = power + privilege”, it’s even in an old news article that came up ages ago when discussing an Aboriginal treaty that directly implied that democracy was a white man thing. I should probably go trawling to dig that back up, actually.

Can I interest you in looking at some post-meritocracy lunacy in the meantime?

My point is that the diversity of our member base is completely irrelevant. Ideas stand or fall on their own, after all, without having anything to do with the race or sex of the people talking about them. Objective evidence is not about lived experience.