I have written a lot about “intersectionality” theory, particularly how it is used to single out Israel by making Israel the nexus of all oppression in the world regardless of the issue:
Every real or perceived problem is either blamed on or connected to Israel.
The concerted effort to turn the Black Lives Matter movement into an anti-Israel movement has at its core the claim that Israel is the root of problems of non-whites in the United States. Thus, if a police chief somewhere attended a one-week anti-terrorism seminar in Israel years ago, every act of brutality by a cop on the beat is blamed on Israel. So too, Students for Justice in Palestine protesters in New York City even blamed high tuition on Zionists, leading to rebukes by administrators against such thinly-veiled anti-Semitism.
The Jew once again is made the source of all evil, the conspiratorial puppet-master controlling all and responsible for all. And Israel alone receives such treatment and is used as the link to connect all injustices in the world.
While Israel and playing upon centuries-old anti-Semitic stereotypes is a prominent manifestation of intersectionality as it plays out on campuses, there is a more general phenomenon.
Intersectionality is the intellectual hammer used to beat every perceived campus heretical nail.
We’re seeing that in the attacks on Evergreen State College Professor Bret Weinstein, as we wrote in The Campus Inquisition at Evergreen State College.
Weinstein explained in an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal how this developed, The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next:
I was not expecting to hold my biology class in a public park last week. But then the chief of our college police department told me she could not protect me on campus. Protestors were searching cars for an unspecified individual—likely me—and her officers had been told to stand down, against her judgment, by the college president.
Racially charged, anarchic protests have engulfed Evergreen State College, a small, public liberal-arts institution where I have taught since 2003. In a widely disseminated video of the first recent protest on May 23, an angry mob of about 50 students disrupted my class, called me a racist, and demanded that I resign. My “racist” offense? I had challenged coercive segregation by race. Specifically, I had objected to a planned “Day of Absence” in which white people were asked to leave campus on April 12.
… Evergreen has slipped into madness. You don’t need the news to tell you that—the protesters’ own videos will do. But those clips reveal neither the path that led to this psychosis, nor the cautionary nature of the tale for other campuses.
Weinstein then explains that what preceded the attacks on him was a plan proposed by the administration to impose a faculty hiring plan that was tantamount to a minority faculty hiring quota system:
It would would shift the college “from a diversity agenda” to an “equity agenda” by, among other things, requiring an “equity justification” for every faculty hire.
The plan and the way it is being forced on the college are both deeply authoritarian, and the attempt to mandate equality of outcome is unwise in the extreme. Equality of outcome is a discredited concept, failing on both logical and historical grounds, as anyone knows who has studied the misery of the 20th century. It wouldn’t have withstood 20 minutes of reasoned discussion.
This presented traditional independent academic minds with a choice: Accept the plan and let the intellectual descendants of Critical Race Theory dictate the bounds of permissible thought to the sciences and the rest of the college, or insist on discussing the plan’s shortcomings and be branded as racists. Most of my colleagues chose the former, and the protesters are in the process of articulating the terms. I dissented and ended up teaching in the park.
That last language is critical, so I’ll repeat it:
Accept the plan and let the intellectual descendants of Critical Race Theory dictate the bounds of permissible thought to the sciences and the rest of the college, or insist on discussing the plan’s shortcomings and be branded as racists.
On Twitter, Prof. Weinstein’s brother Eric termed that dilemma an “Intersectional Shakedown,” defined as a “Protection racket where underrepresented groups sell protection from bigotry charges for apologies/concessions.”
That’s incredibly perceptive, and a way of looking at it that I had not thought of before, at least not in that language.
False accusations of bigotry are a major tool of the intersectional left. We saw that at Cornell, where union student organizers falsely smeared distinguished Chemistry professor David Collum as a “rape apologist,” misogynist, transphobic, and so on, in what appeared to be retribution for Collum speaking out against the unionization effort. The message to other faculty was clear: Submit to progressive demands, or your reputation will be destroyed.
I addressed this issue in my post regarding Prof. Collum, Price for speaking against campus left “might be your reputation”
The Intersectionality Shakedown method is particularly effective because it targets the people who are not what they are accused of being: Eric Weinstein is not a racist, and David Collum is not a rape apologist or any of the other things he was accused of being. So they actually are damaged by and afraid of the accusations, whereas people who actually were those things likely would not care.
In these circumstances, the silence of peers helps the aggressors. Other faculty at Evergreen have acted cowardly in failing publicly to come to the defense of Prof. Weinstein, and I was the only Cornell faculty member (to my knowledge) willing publicly to take on those attacking Prof. Collum.
The Intersectional Shakedown will continue to work so long as it is permitted to isolate its targets, and cut them off from support.DONATE
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