Have you heard of intersectionality? Probably, certainly if you are American and follow political developments even slightly, but do you know what it is? Intersectionality was “founded” in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a proponent of the bogus doctrine of critical race theory. Cynics call it the oppression olympics, the idea being that there are strict hierarchies of power in society which are controlled by Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual white men at the very top, who lord it over the rest of Mankind. That idea may sound appealing to a black, working class single mother struggling to make ends meet and keep her offspring on the straight and narrow, but it has no basis in fact.
Intersectionality may be viewed as an offshoot of white privilege, which is less convoluted therefore easier to understand, so we will begin there. Although she was almost certainly not the first person to use the expression, the concept of white privilege can be said to have originated with Crenshaw fellow traveller Peggy McIntosh (pictured above) the previous year.
Her essay WHITE PRIVILEGE AND MALE PRIVILEGE: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies can be found here. A white working class father working two jobs to keep a roof over his family’s head might find it bizarre that a tenured female professor considered him to be privileged.
The following year, the same year Crenshaw published her essay on intersectionality, McIntosh published a slimmed down and better known version of hers. Called White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, it is credited to the July/August 1989 issue of Peace and Freedom. The original contains a list of 26 statements she says identify her white privilege. A slightly later version expands this to 50 statements, a nice round number. Let’s deal with the latter, but first, a few words about Peggy McIntosh.
In an August 2018 article, William Ray ran a skeptical eye over the lady’s life and career, concluding rightly that what she called white privilege was actually Peggy McIntosh privilege, to be more specific, the privilege of a woman who grew up in a town where the median income was more than four times the national average, and Daddy appears to have earned a great deal more even than that. Winthrop Means was a brilliant man who held several patents; he was employed by Bell Laboratories. Unfortunately, his daughter Margaret did not follow him into STEM, but she did marry a doctor, a real one!
On November 23, 1964, page 48 of The New York Times reported:
“Mr. and Mrs. Winthrop Means of Rumson and South Tamworth, N. H., have announced the engagement of their daughter, Miss Margaret Vance Means, to Dr. Kenneth Mcintosh, son of Dr. and Mrs. Rustin Mcintosh of Tyringham, Mass. A spring wedding is planned.
The prospective bridegroom’s father is professor emeritus of pediatrics at Columbia University, and his mother is president emeritus of Barnard College, where she was known as Dr. Millicent C. Mcintosh.
The bride‐to‐be, a graduate of the George School and of Radcliffe College, attended the University of London. She is completing work for a doctorate in English at Harvard University…Her father, at his retirement was head of the electronic ‐ switching ‐ systems equipment department at the Bell Telephone Laboratories.”
In other words, Peggy McIntosh grew up one of the most privileged young women in America or anywhere at any time in history. Now let us look inside her invisible knapsack:
“1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.”
And this is a privilege because…perhaps she doesn’t like hanging out with blacks? Nah, can’t be that. Generally, wealthy people have a wider choice of the people with whom they hang out, but this isn’t necessarily an advantage. Ask Prince Andrew!
“2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.”
This is something we should all of us do, and attempt to do. For example, police officers and judges are not permitted to associate with known criminals, criminals with a capital C. To do so can damage their careers or even result in termination of employment.
“3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.”
What planet is this woman living on? She is saying in effect that all white people are rich and all non-whites are not.
“4. I can be reasonably sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.”
Gated communities tend to be so. Again, what has this to do with race?
“5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, fairly well assured that I will not be followed or harassed by store detectives.”
Kanye West has a different problem; he can’t go shopping without bodyguards to fend off the autograph hunters. It is also a fact is it not that some people are more deserving of the attention of store detectives and police officers than others? A well-dressed, middle-aged black woman carrying an expensive handbag is generally less worthy of such attention than a young white woman dressed in dirty jeans, with tattooed arms, straggling hair, and a ring through her nose.
“6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.”
Ted Bundy was executed months before she wrote those words.
“7. When I am told about our national heritage or about ‘civilization,’ I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.”
That’s called history. Black “civilization” was discussed here in a previous article. Apart from Ben Carson, the black contribution to America appears to be almost exclusively in the arts, but it is an enormous contribution. Perhaps she should have taken the advice proffered by a certain Mr Berry in 1956?
“8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.”
According to the Socialist Workers Party and their fellow travellers, if you believe race exists, you are a racist, Peggy. Care to rephrase that?
“9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.”
This one speaks for itself, sadly. However, thanks to Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and a few dozen other, overwhelmingly white men, anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can now publish a book and maybe even sell it at relatively little cost. Indeed, cyberspace is full of people like Peggy complaining endlessly about white men, using the technology developed by white men and gifted by them to the world. How ironic is that?
To Part 2.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.