This article is worth reading, maybe more than once.
Intersectionality in India: Caste-Based Identity Politics
“caste-based identitarianism is in complete contradiction to the aim of abolishing caste…
This is the teleological and practical end of the politics of intersectionality that now dominate the political conversation in the United States. The idea that one’s politics must be based on one’s position within a “matrix of domination” has been put into practice in India for over seven decades now, with few positive results, and little progress…
The politics of intersectionality makes it exceptionally vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous political elites—because it is usually accompanied by a postmodern rejection of universal values, reason and even objective truth; and because it reduces social justice to struggles over identity. The result, as Professor Martha Nussbaum puts it, referring to the relativism of the postmodernist Judith Butler, is this: “For every friend of Butler, eager to engage in subversive performances that proclaim the repressiveness of heterosexual gender norms, there are dozens who would like to engage in subversive performances that flout the norms of tax compliance, of non-discrimination, of decent treatment of one’s fellow students.””
India cast off colonialism 73 years ago and has been experimenting in the effects on Democracy of identity group politics since. US politicians have been at it longer, and now this same experiment is being urged upon us – as policy – by BLM, deconstructionist academics, and race-baiting politicians: Race/ethnic/gender identitarianism is caste identitarianism.
The struggle in the US is over figuring out a ranking system to accommodate the invention of thousands of cross-pollinating victimhood classifications. Indians had theirs set in stone long before democracy reared its head.
Postmodernists tell us the sum total of culture, philosophy, and politics is power. And that rationality merely confuses this ‘truth.’ Social justice theory is not about preventing the social construction of hierarchies, and it does not care whether any given hierarchy is tyrannical. It’s simply that its proponents propose to be the tyrants they project.
Last year, I proposed a rudimentary spreadsheet for scoring what I called the “victimhood competence hierarchy.” I am considering whether “matrix of domination” is a better term, but my initial reaction is that VCH more accurately describes the US situation than MoD. We’re still learning, from BLM and Antifa, how a tyrannical mega-hierarchy might be constructed in a nearly 250 year old Republic.
We’re still building our default cultural spreadsheet. Something the Indians haven’t needed, for perhaps a thousand years, to track the 3,000 caste hierarchy already established. It is embedded in their culture.
Isn’t it cultural appropriation to institute the idea here?