On Intersectionality

ferguson palestineIntersectionality is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.

The original theory was solid but its been twisted and corrupted to mean that all oppressions are linked and somehow the same. It is now just an excuse to appropriate real oppressions to support fake ones.

When it was about structures and institutions it had validity, but it has been extrapolated beyond the original valid theory and taken to extremes that not only devalue the idea but make the theory itself into a lie.

Lets just take one quick example.

Gay people are oppressed in the Middle East. They cannot be openly gay or they will either be imprisoned or killed. In Gaza, Hamas actually filmed themselves throwing gays off rooftops to execute them. In the PA, openly gay men are treated horribly and often killed by their own families unless they get asylum in Israel.

Now tell me that the same people who oppress and actually KILL gays are in the same situation when in fact Israel treats the Arabs decently. I have actually travelled there I saw the “checkpoints” and the “wall.” I also saw better living conditions in the PA than I see on Indian reserves in Canada.

Indians are oppressed in North America. We have almost no representation in the government. We receive less than half of the money per capita for services that other North Americans receive, and we actually live in the same countries as the people oppressing us. In Canada we are under a different law in the same country, which is the actual definition of apartheid. We do not conduct violent attacks on other North Americans. In fact, our victimhood rate is much much higher – we are more likely to be victims of crimes than perpetrators.

Tell me how exactly the oppression of Indians who are not adversarial in the main and who have lived quietly and peacefully in North America for almost 200 years, is anywhere near the same as the situation of Arabs in Palestine. It is simply not comparable and it is not “intersectional.” We do not have any representation in the mainstream government and we have no land that we are allowed to settle or build on aside from the “reserves” we were granted from our own stolen land.

Palestinian Arabs have their own government in the PA, they have representation in Israeli government with several MKs, they have BILLIONS of dollars in aid to work with, they have their own UN agency dedicated to them, and they have a huge amount of open available land to settle on LEGALLY. They are an incredibly xenophobic and homophobic society as detailed earlier and they refuse to modernise. They are not indigenous people fighting colonisers, they are in fact descended from colonisers themselves and often act like colonisers when it comes to sacred site access. I am not quite certain how it was determined that they were the oppressed when they act much more like oppressors. There are currently 0% of Jews in Palestinian-controlled areas (think about that), in an area actually called Judea. While in Israel, 18% of the population are either Arab Muslim or other Muslims. That alone suggests that this myth of oppression is ridiculous. Tell me, in what other country does an oppressor allow themselves to be ethnically cleansed let alone from lands that are demonstrably their own ancestral lands?

I am not sure why gay people would allow someone else to marginalize them by making light of their situation in the Middle East through an invalid comparison, but that’s on them. It’s up to them to speak for themselves.

I am an Indian, so I can and do speak up about the Arabs playing mental gymnastics trying to tie their wagon to my people’s cause so that they win the gold medal in the oppression Olympics.

The obvious truth is that if one looks at the facts and numbers the whole “oppression” myth in “Palestine” falls apart. Using their own obviously inflated statistics, less than 50,000 “palestinian” Arab people have died in conflict with Israel in 68 years. That includes three wars, several shooting conflicts and constant terrorism against Israel. More “palestinians” were killed in Black September in one month and almost three times as many were killed in less than three years in Syria. That’s simply looking at numbers. I won’t even go into the fact that there are obesity rates in the PA to match the wealthiest countries in the world. Their population has gone from 650,000 in 1947 to over 3 million in the PA and 6 million worldwide – that’s a hell of a genocide! I’m pretty sure North American Indians would take those numbers every day of the week.

In contrast, my people underwent an actual genocide. Our population dropped hard and we almost disappeared, from an estimated 30 million in North America to less than 2. We are struggling and most reserves are well below third world conditions. We do not have a huge number of millionaires, we received less than 3% of the aid that goes to “Palestinians” and unlike the Arab “palestinians”, we are the indigenous people of our land. We are not the descendants of colonizers/occupiers who tell the world that land we stole is now ours. We are the dispossessed, not the dispossessors.

The only people that I can see who benefit from this intersectionality argument are those who don’t really have to deal with oppression. They can tie their causes to those of us who do, and feel better about not really being oppressed. They get to feel all edgy and rebellious without ever have to actually be oppressed. I can guarantee that they haven’t been attacked for being who they are. They do the attacking; they are the crybullies who hide behind cries of “white privilege” and “safe places and trigger warnings.” If they were really oppressed. they would know that for those of us who deal with actual oppression, there are no safe places and the people oppressing us damn sure don’t give trigger warnings.

This is why they are so offensive to people who pay attention and it’s why some of us realize that the entire co-opting of intersectionality is B.S and actually harms those of us who go through real oppressions.


Ryan Bellerose

A member of the indigenous Metis people, Ryan grew up in the far north of Alberta, Canada with no power nor running water. In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football, reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.

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