An Incomplete Analysis

Intersectionality seems a very big word for the idea that people cannot be reduced to a single component part and need to be treated as an approximation of a whole. And the sort of thing that would only arise from initially treating people as being reducible to certain significant features: for example, that because I am a man, it automatically follows that I think such and such, do so and so, and have these other features. It’s the sort of error caused by over-classification, segmentation, and assumptions. One might also call this error stereotypical prejudice. Intersectionality attempts to correct the error, by adding other factors to the analysis.

Analysis, the breaking down of a thing to its component parts in order to understand it, is a useful diagnostic tool. Presuming from that analysis to predict and then control is a severely flawed presumption. Synthesis, the re-assemblage of those parts, does not always result in the original plaything.

And what significant categories would I be parsed into? White, middle-aged, college graduate, male. How many do you need to predict my buying patterns at Target or who I voted for in 1989?

But intersectionality still does not see a whole; the underlying error of fragmentation remains. Though a useful corrective, intersectionality, as now popularly applied, reinforces the error because it prevents knowing people as themselves. We combine multiple assumptions in our illusions. What results is some kind of Frankenstein’s monster assembled from leftover bits and pieces. One must ask if there’s a soul.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.