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The Subversive Copy Editor: From Pro-Life to Pro-Choice: Individual subjectivity is another concern for marginalized groups. Differences can be used as a weapon of self-devaluation by internalizing stereotypical societal views, leading to a form of psychological oppression. The point Collins effectively makes is that having a sense of self-value and a stable self-definition not obtained from outside influences helps to overcome these oppressive societal methods of domination. Intersectionality can be applied to nearly all fields from politics, [35] [36] education [8] [24] [37] healthcare, [38] [39] and employment, to wealth and property.

Additionally, applications with regard to property and wealth can be traced to the American historical narrative that is filled "with tensions and struggles over property—in its various forms. From the removal of Indians and later Japanese Americans from the land, to military conquest of the Mexicans, to the construction of Africans as property, the ability to define, possess, and own property has been a central feature of power in America In the field of social work , proponents of intersectionality hold that unless service providers take intersectionality into account, they will be of less use for various segments of the population, such as those reporting domestic violence or disabled victims of abuse.

According to intersectional theory, the practice of domestic violence counselors in the United States urging all women to report their abusers to police is of little use to women of color due to the history of racially motivated police brutality , and those counselors should adapt their counseling for women of color. Women with disabilities encounter more frequent domestic abuse with a greater number of abusers. Health care workers and personal care attendants perpetrate abuse in these circumstances, and women with disabilities have fewer options for escaping the abusive situation.

According to Rebecca Reilly-Cooper intersectionality relies heavily on standpoint theory , which has its own set of criticisms. Intersectionality posits that an oppressed person is often the best person to judge their experience of oppression; however, this can create paradoxes when people who are similarly oppressed have different interpretations of similar events.

Such paradoxes make it very difficult to synthesize a common actionable cause based on subjective testimony alone. Some commentators have claimed intersectionality can demonstrate a narrative of disadvantage with regards to black women's pay relative to other groups considered statistically to be underprivileged. Intersectional theory sees class as just another intersection, while economic class has a far more complex relationship with other marginalized identities. Marginalized people typically earn less than non-marginalized people, meaning marginalized people are more likely to be economically oppressed as well.

In this sense economic class is a mechanism of oppression, not just another intersection. For this reason, many marginalized groups can find common cause fighting economic oppression. Coatoan said "To say that poor people of color, queers, or immigrants are not interested or not profoundly impacted by the economy, and instead interested only in reaffirming their identities within existing hierarchies of power, is to work within a rigged zero-sum game for the liberation of a particular oppressed identity at the expense of all the others.

Rekia Jibrin and Sara Salem argue that intersectional theory creates a unified idea of anti-oppression politics that requires a lot out of its adherents, often more than can reasonably be expected, creating difficulties achieving praxis.

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They also say that intersectional philosophy encourages a focus on the issues inside the group instead of on society at large, and that intersectionality is "a call to complexity and to abandon over simplification I've given the example of disability, because I think most people would agree that obviously, any public meeting should be accessible to wheelchairs. But what about the deaf? Should a group of feminists starting their own meet-up in a university hall enlist someone proficient in sign-language in case that's needed?

Should they print their leaflets in braille? The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt , in a speech at the Manhattan Institute , criticized the theory by saying:. America is said to be one giant matrix of oppression, and its victims cannot fight their battles separately. They must all come together to fight their common enemy, the group that sits at the top of the pyramid of oppression: This is why a perceived slight against one victim group calls forth protest from all victim groups.

This is why so many campus groups now align against Israel. Intersectionality is like NATO for social-justice activists. Alan Dershowitz derided the theory of intersectionality as the "phoniest academic doctrine I have encountered in 53 years" in academia, during a lecture at Columbia University. Dershowitz sees the concept as an oversimplification of reality that makes LGBT activists stand in solidarity with advocates of Sharia , even though Islamic law denies the rights of the former.

He feels that identity politics does not evaluate ideas or individuals on the basis of the quality of their character. Dershowitz argues that in academia, intersectionality is taught with a large influence from antisemitism. He states that Jews are actually more liberal and supportive of equal rights than many other religious sects. Intersectionality's greatest flaw is in reducing human beings to political abstractions, which is never a tendency that turns out well—in part because it so severely flattens our complex human experience, and therefore fails to adequately describe reality.


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As it turns out, one can be personally successful and still come from a historically oppressed community—or vice versa. The human experience is complex and multifaceted and deeper than the superficial ways in which intersectionalists describe it. They are interested only in the complexity of social inequality Helen Pluckrose argues that intersectional feminism primarily draws on far-left ideologies and ultimately ends up excluding women, working-class people, people of colour, LGBT and disabled people who do not share similar political views.

Pluckrose also states that these groups are politically diverse and that they often have views that are incompatible with intersectional feminism, or alternatively, they express opinions that it is intolerant of, as it violates intersectional stereotypes of these marginalized groups. Pluckrose argues that proponents of intersectional feminism aren't representative of the groups they claim to represent but rather that "It is clearly misguided to assume that by listening to intersectionals, we are listening to women, people of color, LGBTs and the disabled.


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  • Similarly, Davis asserts that intersectionality is ambiguous and open ended, and that its "lack of clear-cut definition or even specific parameters has enabled it to be drawn upon in nearly any context of inquiry". Ruth Wisse argued that intersectionality is a "coalition of self-declared victims" who have very little in common with one another. In her reading, disproportional support for Palestinian nationalism is part of the glue that holds intersectionalists together.

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    This is because focusing on more urgent causes such as the massive civilian casualties in the Syrian Civil War risks dividing internationalists. Intersectionality's premises have been characterized by some libertarian -leaning skeptics as manifested similarly to religious faith. Notably, for example, public intellectual Andrew Sullivan has argued that intersectionality manifests itself "almost as a religion.

    It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained—and through which all speech must be filtered. Its version of original sin is the power of some identity groups over others. To overcome this sin, you need first to confess, i. French also agrees with Sullivan's conclusion, equating intersectionality's proponents to extremist Christian fundamentalists.

    Researchers in psychology have incorporated intersection effects since the s [ example needed ] , long before the work of Patricia Hill Collins. Psychology incorporates these effects via the lenses of biases, heuristics, stereotypes, and judgments. Psychological interaction effects span a range of variables, although person by situation effects are the most examined category. As a result, psychologists do not construe the interaction effect of demographics such as gender and race as either more noteworthy or less noteworthy than any other interaction effect.

    In addition, oppression can be regarded as a subjective construct when viewed as an absolute hierarchy; even if an objective definition of oppression were reached, person-by-situation effects would make it difficult to deem certain persons or categories of persons as uniformly oppressed. For instance, black men are stereotypically perceived as violent, which may be a disadvantage in police interactions, but also as physically attractive, [66] [67] which may be advantageous in romantic situations. Psychological studies have shown that the effect of multiplying "oppressed" identities is not necessarily additive, but rather interactive in complex ways.

    For instance, black gay men may be more positively evaluated than black heterosexual men, because the "feminine" aspects of gay stereotypes temper the hypermasculine and aggressive aspect of black stereotypes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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    Part of a series on Discrimination General forms. The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new article , as appropriate. March Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this section by adding secondary or tertiary sources. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Biases and Heuristics in judgment and decision-making.

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