I was looking for a way to encapsulate an idea I named the ‘Victimhood Competency Hierarchy’ in a 2019 post. I suggested development of a spreadsheet to clarify who has the biggest claim to victimhood, and therefore power, in such a hierarchy. This is important to white, heterosexual, males who need to know how hard to tug on the forelock.
For a few seconds, I thought I’d coined a word to describe the politico-cultural regime being urged upon us by the Axis of Woke. But a search revealed one example from 2013. Oh well. Is there a participation prize?.
This came to mind because a very good Areo article I noted last Friday used the term ‘Matrix of Domination.’ A way of rank ordering oppressors and victims. I like the term, but it clearly grants too much agency to oppressors. In practice, the dominators could remove victims from power by simply oppressing some other group more than the incumbents.
That’s hardly the only problem in establishing the Thýmarchy, though. I pointed out many difficult to define variables for the Grid of Grievance in the post on VCH.
Today, I found David Bernstein examining a few of them in an article at Reason, using Kamala Harris as an example.
He notes that we have a government here to help – with some official guidance for developing the VCH into something that can replace the Electoral College.
The guidance only helps with race classification, however, and not all of those.
And for scoring we would still have to depend on BLM, Antifa, the SPLC, LBGQT activists, AOC, Big Bird… et. al..
In 2000, OMB [Office of Management and Budget] provided guidance for civil rights monitoring enforcement regarding individuals who check off more than one racial category as follows:
• Responses that combine one minority race and white are allocated to the minority race.
• Responses that include two or more minority races are allocated as follows:
• If the enforcement action is in response to a complaint, allocate to the race that the complainant alleges the discrimination was based on.
• If the enforcement action requires assessing disparate impact or discriminatory patterns, analyze the patterns based on alternative allocations to each of the minority groups.
I’ve misplaced the citation, but I recall that other federal guidelines state that if a person checks black/African American and another box, she is deemed African American for statistical purposes.
In short, under American law, no one could deny Harris’s right to assert that she is half-Indian and less-than-half of African ancestry, but so long as she considers herself, and is considered by others, to be African American, for legal purposes she is black. The major exception would be if she filed a discrimination complaint based on her Asian ancestry. In that case, she would be considered considered legally Asian for purposes of resolving the complain [sic]. What, at least at this point, she cannot be is legally Indian, legally mixed-race, or legally no race at all.
That’s the government ‘helping’ to employ more government workers.
“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?
“The physics professor who argued “white empiricism” somehow creates a “barrier” to black women trying to enter the sciences field recently went on a Twitter rant about the recent antisemitic attacks in New York City.
Ultimately, those attacks are the fault of white gentiles, the University of New Hampshire’s Chanda Prescod-Weinstein claimed.”
According to Campus Reform, on her now-protected Twitter account (archived version is here) Prescod-Weinstein wrote on New Year’s Eve that antisemitism in the US historically has been “a white Christian problem,” and anti-Jewish feelings expressed by blacks are due to the “influence of white gentiles.”
Further, the prof wrote that people demanding black leaders speak out against antisemitism are “probably a garden variety racist[s].”
“White Jews adopted whiteness as a social praxis and harmed Black people in the process,” Prescod-Weinstein said. “Some Black people have problematically blamed Jewishness for it.”
Let’s see if I get this: “White Jews” culturally appropriated antisemitism from “White Gentiles” so as to deny agency to blacks. Some blacks, then, can be racist? I’ve been assured by many Professors sharing Prescod-Weinstein’s sense of things that that isn’t possible.
Speaking of speaking out and garden variety anti-semites, Al “Crown Heights riot” Sharpton, Louis “Satanic Jews” Farrakhan, Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson, Ilhan “Benjamins” Omar, and Linda “Stop humanizing Jews” Sarsour go unmentioned. Maybe toning down their agency – i.e., just refrain from fomenting antisemitism – would be enough? Did these leaders-of-color also witlessly absorb their antisemitism from white gentiles? Even so, do they have some responsibility for spreading it?
Professor Prescod-Weinstein is very well qualified to speak her epistemological conclusions to racial, ethnic, religious, sex, and gender intersectionality questions:
I proudly hail from the east Los Angeles neighborhood of El Sereno. The 63rd Black American woman* to earn a Ph.D. in physics, I am a descendant of Afro-Caribbean and Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. [link]
I am a proudly out and was a founding member of the American Astronomical Society Committee for Sexual-Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA), where I served as an executive member for six years. [link]
The power to tax is the power to destroy. Beta O’Rourke just invoked that taxation power to threaten every church, college, or charity – any institution – which does not toe what should be now be known as the KGBT Line.
“K” is close enough to “L” for government work.
That’s the work which should be governed by the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
But Progressivism is a religion. It’s being established in order to suppress freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. The press is complicit.
The College Board’s adversity score will give students a boost for coming from a high-crime, high-poverty school and neighborhood, according to the Wall Street Journal. Being raised by a single parent will also be a plus factor. Such a scheme penalizes the bourgeois values that make for individual and community success.
In my defense, the Board’s attempt isn’t nearly as comprehensive as my proposal, though it suffers the same difficulties even for the subset of the victim/oppressor ratio it purports to capture by shifting racial preferences to a large set of highly correlated demographic, economic, and other cherry-picked factors that retain the ‘advantage’ of disadvantaging East Asians:
College Board’s new tool seeks to provide environmental context behind students’ test scores by measuring adversity in their neighborhoods, families and schools.
High school environment
Free lunch rate
Source: College Board.
I do wonder about the inclusion of “Adversity score” in the calculation of Adversity score. If it’s the same thing both cases it’s a formula Excel would refuse to calculate as a ‘circular reference.’ Using the result of your calculation as input to your calculation is… well, interesting. It does give the College Board a chance to to iterate the calculation until a specific numeric condition is met.
“Adversity scoring” is a good example of a problem I pointed out in my victims’ hierarchy post: Just as a prejudicial firmament gets well established – race based preferences for college admissions, for example – someone comes along and adds more grievance factors you neglected to consider. That’s a feature to the SocJus folks, not a bug. It lets them make up rules to fit the currently fashionable oppression narrative.
I think Heather Mac Donald’s phrase “Grievance Proxies” is catchier than my “Victim competence hierarchies,” though it does not capture the amusing proliferation of victim-group supremacy competitions.
“Tyrannical pathological hierarchies are based on power…”
Dr. Peterson sometimes refers to our traditional hierarchies as hierarchies of competence, since they arise organically out of our necessity to act in the world. To do something is to want to improve the way you do it. Some people will become better than others in some given action. Some people achieve higher ability to cook, some become more proficient in math, others in music, or sports. There are infinite hierarchies in which you may compete. You can even create your own, like Paul Durand-Ruel, Steve Jobs, or Lee Felsenstein, Efrem Lipkin, Ken Colstad, Jude Milhon, and Mark Szpakowski, and enable millions of others to invent new hierarchies.
While any hierarchy is subject to corruption, they are inevitable, biologically ancient, and not by necessity pathological or tyrannical. Though those based on power usually are. It’s sort of the point.
Social Justice practitioners are telling us all hierarchies are entirely socially constructed, unfair, and oppressive – excepting theirs – which they don’t admit to having. But what else is the jockeying for power in the identity group/victimhood sweepstakes about?
We haven’t yet seen a merger of the many contenders trying to prove they are the biggest victims and the smallest oppressors. The hierarchy of victim hierarchies is yet to be settled science. The Intersectionalist Progressive Social Justice Cartel is having some nasty fights trying to sort out their pathological hierarchy:
Given what they insist all the rest of us must believe, I think tyrannical also applies.` And we don’t even have the comprehensive doublethink manual yet, since they’re fighting over it.
To advance their cause with less embarrassment they need is a kinder, simpler way than Twitter fights to sort it out, preferably based on objective analysis of the victim/oppressor ratio. Because nobody is a perfect victim.
If they did find the perfect victim, they’d have to make him/her/it/zir/xe/Mr. Mxyzptlk the Dear Leader of the world utopia. You might think of it as the ultimate inverse hierarchy, because actual competence in any real thing is a Western, white, colonialist, patriarchal concept. To be avoided.
I surely don’t understand the intersectional nuances that would allow me to compare a black gay male who hires a fake hate crime attack on himself, with a brown cis-gender (and why do I have to use a made up term now to indicate ‘normal’?) female who spouts anti-semitic drivel in the US House of Representatives. An objective assessment may well be impossible.
Each individual objecting to someone else’s existence will have their own criteria. We could ask them all their opinion of everybody else and average the results (sort of like Facebook); Throwing out those rated below some arbitrary score – by other voters whose ratio was in the top 1% on the victim/oppressor ratio scale (sort of like Twitter).
Running, especially enforcing, that system would be the prize for winning the victim/oppressor ratio sweepstakes.
Still, if we were to attempt objectivity, even to arrive at an informed individual opinion, a complex spreadsheet to calculate power rankings might serve. We’re after a way to model other people’s thoughts. We need to place the technology into individual hands, since it is obvious we can’t depend on the SPLC anymore.
Let’s consider the complexities via example. Rate a black, homosexual male, wealthy actor; vs. a white, trans-female, wealthy former Pentathlon champion; vs. a brown, female, anti-semitic, Islamist congressional member; vs. a white, 1/1024th Amerind, biological female, wealthy United States Senator. It’s not easy, and those are only a few of the factors. The enterprise seems very difficult.
This is the type of analysis intersectionalists demand as a principle of governance. And, that’s just a poor preliminary attempt to begin to capture the variables currently driving the SJW power struggle. It doesn’t include anywhere near the required profile information. I tried filling it in for a couple of people I thought would help refine scoring. Maybe you can guess who they are.
Complicating this further, just when you might think you have a workable algorithm someone gets offended by something you did not expect. For example, here’s an example of a lesbian, trans, Leftist, female academic in the Humanities you’d expect to score moderately well even if you’re white: A concrete example against which to test our calculation of the victim/oppressor ratio.
That controversial prof is Camille Paglia. You might think this means race trumps homosexuality as a factor on the victim/oppressor scale. I don’t think we can depend on that. From the complainers:
“In recent interviews she has blatantly mocked survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and in classes and interviews has mocked and degraded transgender individuals. She believes that most transgender people are merely participating in a fashion trend (“I question whether the transgender choice is genuine in every single case”), and that universities should not consider any sexual assault cases reported more than six months after the incident, because she thinks those cases just consist of women who regret having sex and falsely see themselves as victims.”
Aha! The problem is Paglia’s opinions and outspokenness, which one could at least imagine being held by a “queer person of color.” It isn’t about color.
The entire identity politics internecine war is about thinking the right thing. Thinking correctly is hard to define, though. It depends on the thought processes of the person thinking about someone else’s thoughts. See: Red Guards.
Full circle we have come. When objectivity is thrown out the postmodernist window, objective rankings are simply impossible. And that’s intentional, since any reference to a set of rules could inhibit the exercise of power.
So, it’s back to imagined victimhood points minus perceived privilege points times influencer points divided by the reciprocal of Twitter followers. The factors for race, sexual orientation, biological sex, wealth, income, religion, political affiliation, etc. are left to the student. If you are intersectionally woke the answer just pops into your head. Of course, that may not be the same answer another woke intersectional arrives at…
Clarity of thought, rational arguments, philosophical consistency are irrelevant. We don’t need no freaking spreadsheet to identify thoughtcrime. Besides, Excel itself is oppressive because it uses numbers, and its very name is a violent affront to nihilistic mediocrities cowering in their safe spaces everywhere.
It’s not so bad though, those of us not caught up in the victim-identity Olympic trials can eat lots of popcorn while we watch.