The color being white, but if Bill Clinton was our first black president despite being white, and if Barack Obama is our first Jewish, Hispanic, Asian, and gay president despite being none of those, then why can’t Liz Warren be Fordham’s first white woman of color? Who are you to judge?
Elizabeth Warren has pushed back hard on questions about a Harvard Crimson piece in 1996 that described her as Native American, saying she had no idea the school where she taught law was billing her that way and saying it never came up during her hiring a year earlier, which others have backed up.
But a 1997 Fordham Law Review piece described her as Harvard Law School’s “first woman of color,” based, according to the notes at the bottom of the story, on a “telephone interview with Michael Chmura, News Director, Harvard Law (Aug. 6, 1996).”
The mention was in the middle of a lengthy and heavily-annotated Fordham piece on diversity and affirmative action and women. The title of the piece, by Laura Padilla, was “Intersectionality and positionality: Situating women of color in the affirmative action dialogue.”
Two questions: Where did the Harvard guy get the idea that Warren is a “woman of color,” if not from Warren herself?
Second question: Who on earth would ever read something titled “Intersectionality and positionality: Situating women of color in the affirmative action dialogue”? How can any sane person get past the title? Two of the three words in its opening clause are not, in point of fact, real words. They are hybrids made up to sound smart. They sound like poison gas to anyone not initiated in radical feminism. Which is what they are.
According to the noble scholars at Wikipedia, “intersectionality” is “a methodology of studying “the relationships among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relationships and subject formations” (McCall 2005). The theory suggests—and seeks to examine how—various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality. Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and religion-based bigotry, do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination.”
Got that? In layman’s terms, it’s a fancy feminist way of saying that if you don’t agree with them, then you suck. If you’re male, you probably suck to such an extent that you will have to be re-educated.
“Positionality” is not, as it may sound, a scientific study of the qualitative differences between attacking and defending midfielders across Europe’s soccer leagues. It is the idea “in which people are defined not in terms of fixed identities, but by their location within shifting networks of relationships, which can be analyzed and changed.” For those who teach for social justice, the “and changed” part is crucial: understanding positionality means understanding where you stand with respect to power, an essential skill for social change agents. From this understanding, we have a standpoint from which to challenge power and change ourselves.”
Translation: Since we feminists have established that you suck, we’ll force you to suck less. For your own good, and so we’ll feel better about ourselves. So get to sensitivity training already.
I’ve been out of the academic setting for a while now, I’ll admit, and when I was last in that setting the going concerns around me were hunting black holes, fixing an age to the universe, finding new ways to squeeze information out of a flying telescope that was getting up in the years, and so forth.This sort of multi-syllabic nonsense never came up. We had our own multi-syllabic nonsense.
People like Liz Warren have established their own religion with its own dogma and catechism. They have doctrines and doctrinaires and their own notion of sin. Which makes calling her out for shadily profiting off her peculiar faith more entertaining than I’d expected. Fauxcahontas Warren has sinned and fallen short of the glory of radical identity politics.
Which makes me laugh.