I’m a white woman, and I agree…. what is wrong with the rest of you?

I’m a white woman, and I agree…. what is wrong with the rest of you?

Half of white women continue to vote Republican. What’s wrong with them? | Moira Donegan

Some 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election – the real story of white women voters is both more grim and more complex than the figure reveals

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0 Responses to I’m a white woman, and I agree…. what is wrong with the rest of you?

  1. John Bump says:

    Something I learned from reading The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass: he discussed how some slaves realized that by ratting out other slaves, they’d get rewarded and treated better by their masters. When you have an entrenched power structure, the closer to the top you are the less you want it to be disturbed, because you think you have more to lose than gain.

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  2. As the article says… they have bought into the system that oppresses them in the hope that it won’t oppress them as harshly as it oppresses others.

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  3. Cindy Brown says:

    Or kapos in concentration camps…

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  4. Cindy Brown says:

    Also probably some crab bucket effects.

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  5. John Bump says:

    Tall poppy and crabs in a bucket, both.
    With a healthy dose of “well I’m not a man but at least I’m not brown.”

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  6. John Bump says:

    As I’ve said elsehwhere, there’s a reason all the women in that picture are blonde and it isn’t genetics.

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  7. Julia Piatt says:

    John Bump Exactly. Even the ones that should be gray are blonde.

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  8. Bob Lai says:

    Cult thinking. Their reality has been defined by the conservative white male for so long, they’re incapable of questioning it. Even if there’s a voice in the corner of their mind screaming, “No, that’s wrong!”

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  9. The BBC sent some of their heavyweight journos to the US for the midterms and in one interview with a Republican woman in Texas she said that with the Metoo movement she was “worried what might happen to my sons”.
    Go figure – from the tone of his voice, the journalist (I forget which) was flabbergasted and wrapped it pretty quick.

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  10. T Nolan says:

    There is a percentage justifying negativism like this when people suffer from modern information overload, attention bandwidth limits to over arching issues, and have chosen to prioritize the myriad decisions of the day: maintaining their households and social support structures for the next hour, over collapsing from existential exhaustion? A catchphrase saves the effort of communication in this philosophical space, to allow one to ensure communication in this other space that is important right-now.

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  11. Andres Soolo says:

    John Bump: This should not be even surprising. It’s a common human practice to optimise locally. Treating slaves as a unified would-be political entity takes a high level of abstraction. Thermodynamics-wise, slaves cooperating with other slaves against slavemasters has lower entropy than slaves cooperating with their own slavemasters against other slaves and the slavemasters’ enemies du jour. This is also why organising communities is such a hard work, and why right-wingers, who have an inherent belief in hierarchical structures and oftentimes attend to their favourite hierarchical structures several times each week or day, have a considerable advantage in this game.

    In the modern day, dealing with relatively high abstractions and analysing their ramifications in great detail is a popular pastime thanks to the invention of computer games. But the slaves of Douglass’ time did not have that opportunity. In analysing their behaviour, we should also analyse the limitations that contributed to that behaviour.

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  12. Ted Houk says:

    As long as they share the POTUS hair color…

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  13. I think it’s very revealing to look at the difference between married and single women. By pretty much every measure single women are less conservative.

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  14. I think this is because married women at least in some part tie themselves to the status of their husbands. And sons. So there is a material advantage to married white women in the preservation of the patriarchy and the societal advantages of white males.

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  15. Cindy Brown says:

    If they are dependent on a white male, it makes sense to advance the white male’s interest.

    Marriage is also loosely associated with education; less education tends to mean earlier marriage (and more dependence) and so on. There’s your fault line for the 53%. I might opt for educating all of them instead of divorcing all of them 😉

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  16. Andrew Fisk says:

    You ever think that these women have brains and might have looked at the facts and picked a path that was right for them.

    The idea of a free society is that we evaluate many ideas and work to get those ideas implemented, because the idea doesn’t fit your world view makes it an opportunity for discussion, not a reason to belittle the proponent.

    Stockholm syndrome, cult thinking, hair color, their husbands made them, seriously….

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  17. John Bump says:

    Andrew Fisk: I think we covered that. Slaves looked at the facts and picked the path of ratting out their fellows because it was right for them. That doesn’t make it right.

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  18. Yes and the other fault line is that women with more autonomy tend to demand more out of marriage. They are more likely to hold out for an egalitarian partnership in the first place and to divorce if they don’t get one. So again the population of single women self selects toward people less bound to male status.

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  19. Andrew Fisk says:

    John Bump It doesn’t make it right sitting in front of a computer 150 years later, it might have looked very different if you were going to avoid a beating or get enough food to feed your family.

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  20. But if you’re responsible for a whole family that is dependent on your husband’s paycheck then voting your husband’s paycheck can make a lot of sense. Plus being surrounded by a whole social support system that reinforces that choice. I know a lot of women who vote conservative because their church tells them to.

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  21. T Nolan says:

    Donna Buckles balancing what you can do against where you need help…

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  22. And what you know. A lot of the conservativevchurch women I know are deep in a bubble.

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  23. While I could (on an emotional level) ditto everything I’ve read above — I saw a series of interviews the other night with an extremely well-fed, well-turned-out, comfortable bunch of Republican femmes d’un certain age, and (to my ear and eye) they sounded and looked totally in favor of the racism, sadism, and America-first policies of Trump and his cadre, and totally, completely, 100% in possession of themselves in saying so. They were female horrible people. They were female right-wing jihadis-but-please-don’t-muss-my-hair. They were not hollow-eyed victims or Patti Hearst surrogates.

    And they were all educated, if by ‘educated’ you mean they all had a college degree or equivalent finishing from somewhere.

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  24. I wasn’t saying they were hostages.

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  25. peter k says:

    I think it was my Stockholm Syndrome comment.

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  26. Cindy Brown says:

    John Jainschigg And yes, there’s a contingent that absolutely are fine with it… I would just expect that to be roughly 30% or so of women, not 53% though.

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  27. Jay Gischer says:

    I imagine that if I were to look at the social media stream of some of these women, I would not see Dems as “a vision of inclusion, justice, and decency”. I would probably see them as godless and obscene, and vaguely threatening. I would probably see them, perhaps rightly, as wanting to raise taxes and allow more abortions.

    And if I were one of those women, I might well consider Donald Trump not the worst man I’ve had to put up with for the purposes of advancing my own goals.

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  28. John Jainschigg The number of people I’ve met with college degrees in sociology who don’t understand society, or in history who don’t understand history, or in philosophy who don’t know how to think…

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  29. No, no … I sort of discounted “Stockholm Syndrome” as dramatic license. This line of reasoning about women aligning themselves with their oppressors goes back to Andrea Dworkin, I guess (or at least, that’s the earliest reference cited in this thread, and others I’ve read today about this Guardian piece).

    By “educated,” I simply meant that these women have, a goodly number of them, anyway, been schooled as well as coastal liberals have. They may have gotten that schooling at institutions like ASU, with a bit more Western twang than SUNY Purchase or Yale. They may have done some time as kids at Sunday Bible Camp. But I didn’t get the feeling they were Bible-thumpers.

    What they are, I think, is culture warriors. Just like their men, they feel looked-down-on for their backgrounds, choices, geography, lifestyle.

    Unlike their men, too, I think it’s important to remember that women’s cultural job is to do the emotional labor of maintaining and justifying all these complicated choices (e.g., “I’m not a feminist”) and the social networks sustaining them for themselves and their tribe. That’s a big investment, and feeling it being messed-with can turn a person vicious.

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  30. I have always found the theory of a culture war between the coastal liberal elites and the down-home people of the heartland to be utterly unconvincing. Beyond unconvincing. I think its an evasion and a dog whistle.

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  31. Pete Hardie says:

    But they seem to forget to to the math for their daughters – who suffer more under the current system

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  32. Cindy Brown says:

    Well, I present Kellyanne Conway. Clearly educated, clearly did NOT marry early/have children early and yet there she is.

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  33. Born on the East Coast, educated at elite East Coast institutions.

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  34. Also as the article points out, none of this is new. Its not like white women just suddenly started supporting this stuff. There’s always been a large contingent of the demographic that supported Republicans. In fact the trend line is in the other direction, each election there are fewer female Republicans. Its just not moving very fast.

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  35. Bruce Shark says:

    This accompanying pic makes me feel ill…
    Like actually stomach churning ill.

    How do they have this horrifying admiration and fondness for such a deranged horrible shit sack?

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  36. Andres Soolo says:

    John Jainschigg: By repeated surveys, roughly a quarter of Americans are incorrigible right-wing authoritarian followers. I’m not entirely sure, off the top of my head, but my assumption is that it is not significantly gender-dependent, so about a half of half women voting for Drumpf can be explained this way.

    The other half is more interesting, in that it can not be explained quite so easily, and is worth quite some effort trying to convince into better political positions.

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  37. Cindy Brown says:

    Andres Soolo Yes, this is why I was saying I’d expect more like 30% or so to be pro Trump, not the 53% and within that margin I think things like voting for the breadwinner in your family (or having him dictate to your vote), educational levels, etc help bridge that gap.

    Of course, if you have 25% incorrigibles in any group, it makes me wonder about the ways in which the 25% incorrigibles of black women are otherwise showing themselves.

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  38. Andrew Fisk says:

    Cindy Brownyou realise that those women would describe you as part of the 25% incorrigible liberal group 🙂

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  39. Cindy Brown says:

    :D, true, dat 25% is on both ends.

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  40. Andres Soolo says:

    Andrew Fisk: The issue is, studies don’t back that up. Scientists have looked very hard to find “left wing authoritarians”, because, well, intuitively it would make sense that there’s such a symmetry, but study after a study suggests that they don’t quite exist.

    The closest known to current social scientists are right-wing authoritarians from countries where the ideologically conservative position is some form of Communism.

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  41. Isn’t some degree of authoritarianism one of the defining features of many right wing philosophies? Seems to me its kind of baked in. Right wing comes with a general deference to authority which in its extreme form can become authoritarianism. Left wing comes with a critical contrarian attitude to authority which in its extreme form can become anarchic. Looking for the defining characteristics of the right to be exhibited on the left or vice versa doesn’t really make sense, because if they were exhibited on both sides then they wouldn’t be defining characteristics.

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  42. Cindy Brown says:

    NB: I wouldn’t consider the far end 25% to be a liberal authoritarianism; more like a socialist or anarchist (pls do look up these terms) type.

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  43. Andrew Fisk says:

    Andres Soolo I would like to drive my car without wearing a seat belt (I wouldn’t really, but for the sake of argument). To which a left wing authoritarian will point out that the risk to society in term of both medical costs and the cost of my lost production outweighs the minimal loss of liberty and therefore using the power of the state to modify my behavior is justified. The same logic is used over and over until I can drink milk from a cow, can’t smoke the vegetable of my choice, etc, etc.

    If really doesn’t matter if you surrender your liberty a well intentioned nanny state or to a well intentioned theocracy you still finish up doing what someone else wants and if history is any guide that government will devolve to a conservative (as in unwilling to change) authoritarian state.

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  44. peter k says:

    Don’t fall for the authoritarian nonsense.

    Authoritarian usually means “implements rules I don’t like, but I’m just fine with things like contract enforcement, enforced arbitration, policing as can be afforded by those who pay, etcetcetc” = justice for the rich.

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  45. Seems to me that an argument that the “nanny state” is on a slippery slope to infringement of liberty rests on a very broad definition of liberty. More or less as the right to do any damn fool thing I please whenever I feel like it regardless of the consequences. That’s a definition that doesn’t survive any contact with the practicalities of living with other people. So I don’t tend to take it very seriously.

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  46. A serious definition of liberty takes into account things such as the necessity of balancing the liberties of one person against the liberties of another, a consideration of which freedoms are most necessary to a functioning and healthy society and therefore most essential to be protected and etc.

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  47. peter k says:

    John Jainschigg ‘s comments are very victim blaming.

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  48. I haven’t said a word since being corrected, 19 hours ago. So I’m puzzled why you’d invoke me now.

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  49. Andrew Fisk says:

    Donna Buckles Balancing the liberties of one person against the liberties of another is fairly easy, you can’t do stuff that hurts other people.

    It gets much more complicated when you start balancing my liberty against society in general. Some years ago I quit smoking, a good thing you would think unless you are a tobacco farmer or working in a factory making cigarettes.

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  50. peter k says:

    You think this is a synchronous communication?

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  51. peter k says:

    When gay men criticize gay men for being closeted while harming the gay community, I don’t have a problem with that. Because gay men are implicitly providing an alternative to what the harmful closeted gay men are doing. It gets my back up when straight people do criticize closeted gay, because the answer to “why are they working against gay rights?” is “because they are trying to survive”. Gay men understand that in their criticism of closeted gay men they are the living embodiment of an alternative. Again providing an alternative is key. But when straight people do criticize closeted gay men, they don’t understand that they are often demanding that a gay man give up his survival mechanism, without providing another survival mechanism for that gay man.

    What alternative for survival are you offering women, in your critique?

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  52. Andres Soolo says:

    Donna Buckles: Maybe. But, well, there’s also a general late adopter mindset. It’s theoretically possible that, as a late adopter of new-fangled ideas, a person might have a conservative political worldview without necessarily advocating for obeying authorities.

    The issue is complicated by pretty much all traditional ideologies that conservative people might seek to conserve are big on authorities to obey, so it’s hard to untangle how much the people who like such ideologies like authorities for their own sake, and how much because of the traditions of having authorities.

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  53. Andres Soolo says:

    Andrew Fisk: Did you read any of the studies of scientists seeking the elusive Left-Wing Authoritarians?

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  54. Andres Soolo, Azim Shariff at the University of California Irvine has done some interesting work showing that in religions the more strict and punitive versions with a lot of rules and an authoritarian God who punishes violators tend to do two things. One, they do genuinely seem to make their followers behave slightly more lawfully. Two they tend to appear in, correlate with places/times/situations where there are a lot of challenges to the social order, where things are unsafe in some way. Where order is established and working, when things are more safe, then the forgiving, he loves everyone God tends to be more common, but also to provide less effective control of people’s behavior.

    This seems like it might well be relevant. Maybe authoritarianism is a common social response to disorder and confusion. Or the perception thereof. It would also seem to match up with the findings that individual people who are drawn to strong authority tend to have a relatively low tolerance for uncertainty.

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  55. So maybe another of the things at play in women on the right is that they have a particularly high desire for order and predictability and are willing to tolerate a lot of less than ideal things for the sake of getting it. Unfair is better than uncertain.

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  56. Andres Soolo says:

    Donna Buckles: This variability is probably related to why the countries with well-working bureaucracies have roughly clustered around the North Pole, from Finland to Canada. See < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4991276/>.

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  57. Interesting!!

    If the general idea that people swing right when scared or uncertain is true (and it seems like there’s some evidence for it) then othering and eliciting fear of the future are likely not good tactics for the left because they tend to drive people rightward.

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  58. peter k — before they elected Trump, railroaded the United States to the brink of actual fascism, and brought us to a point where the pace of murders is increasing (and where the fact of them being, in some sense, state-sanctioned is less and less in doubt), I’d totally have bought that argument.

    I did buy it. In fact, I thought that’s what we were all doing by slogging forward on progressive fronts, year after decade: promoting alternatives, educating, gradually enabling release of the Right’s paranoia and anger, negotiating release of their intersectional hostages, and navigating us collectively towards a better, more inclusive and progressive future.

    Now, I think the danger these women (and their equally-appalling men, in even larger numbers) pose is too great for me to worry much about their victimhood (a concept they would utterly mock, you’ll admit, along with the fact that we’re imposing it on them), either as a question of moral right or as a sociopolitical strategem.

    This is not to say I question the rightness of intersectionality. I totally buy it. But you’ll admit it has a pretty bad track-record, so far, in cementing reliable coalitions on the Left, or (via the companion idea of kyriarchy) helping us decompose complexes of privilege on the Right. And I doubt it will, so long as the Right is ascendant.

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  59. John Jainschigg I don’t think I will admit that. A bad track record in comparison to what? In comparison to some imagined ideal easy outcome, well perhaps. But in comparison to anything else people have tried? Seems to me the issue is not that intersectionality is a bad strategy for dealing with the problem. Rather that the problem is fairly intransigent so any strategy is going to be hard going.

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  60. I mean what’s your alternative?

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  61. peter k says:

    John Jainschigg So… why focus so much on white women… What about white men? You have way more voice among them.

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  62. peter k says:

    Somehow white women are more an issue than white men?

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  63. peter k says:

    -ism have a very strong track record for derailing coalitions. Intersectionality has improved that situation among many groups.

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  64. Well in this specific case I think the focus on women is because the article that was posted in the OP is about women. Although I agree that in the larger more general case it often feels sort of assumed that of course white men are a lost cause but somehow women are supposed to be better. Which is it’s own brand of odd.

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  65. You know the thing where your parents say to you well of course your brother was going to act up but I expect more of you!

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  66. Well … my desire here isn’t to dump on anybody’s (probably correct) exegesis of white female Republican voters’ victimhood, or make people stop thinking about offering them alternatives. We should probably be reaching out to them directly — I like what the Vote Common Good bus tour group (evangelical Christians driving around the country to convince their brethren to actually follow the teachings of Christ) is doing. And there are probably ways of delivering similar messaging to other groups, or along other channels of influence. People like Beto O’Rourke are palatable proxies.

    But most of our activity should probably be about moving fear of fascism into the for-real mainstream and explaining to that vast mass of Undecideds and non-voting Milennials that if we all don’t hang together, we’ll shortly hang separately. Intersectionality in a nutshell.

    The other large group we should be very worried about is US citizens identifying as Hispanic. We’re still naively treating them as homogeneous. We’re assuming they’re natural fellow travelers with our coalition. And none of this is dependable.

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  67. On the other hand, if fear does indeed move people to the right then the very last thing the left should be doing is “moving fear of fascism (or fear of anything else) into the for-real mainstream” Instead the left should be promoting a shared spirit of determination and confidence and hope for better solutions. Because maybe pushing fear just pushes even more people toward a desire for strongmen. Which is not what we want, eh?

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  68. peter k says:

    “We’re still naively treating them as homogeneous.”

    What ‘we’ is that?

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  69. Which brings us back to intersectionality I think. Since that’s at least part of the point of intersectionality, no group is homogeneous.

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  70. I’m not seeing how intersectionality asserts non-homogeneity of groups. Doesn’t it, rather, state that the patterns of oppression affecting very different groups are self-similar? Politically, the point is to state that common ground exists, and explain oppression as one, complex system.

    Most non-Hispanic, non-deep-urban, non Hispanophone Americans have only the vaguest idea of Hispanic diversity, and many progressives seem functionally blind to Hispanic social and economic conservatism. The ‘we,’ implicitly, is “anybody who thinks it would be nice for all those 47 million people, plus additional progeny, to vote Democrat over the next 20 years.”

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  71. “Doesn’t it, rather, state that the patterns of oppression affecting very different groups are self – similar?” Well no not according to my understanding of the concept it absolutely does not state anything of the sort. Rather it states that different Identities and experiences will intersect and overlap in different ways for different people. The experience of being a black woman is not the same as the experience of being a white woman even though they are both women. Because one of their identities overlaps (gender) but one does not (race). The intersection of various elements of identity and experience; race, class, gender, sexuality, disability create a whole range of different individual experiences, which may share commonalities along some aspects and differences along others. Seems to me the whole point is that you can’t assume that different groups are alike.

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  72. peter k says:

    Intersectionality asserts non-homogeneity on one axis of oppression, but homogeneity on another.

    E.g. homogeneity of women but non-homogeneity by race.

    That is to say the oppression experienced by women is not the same for white women and black women.

    “Doesn’t it, rather, state that the patterns of oppression affecting very different groups are self-similar?”

    Absolutely not.

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  73. peter k says:

    The ‘we,’ implicitly, is “anybody who thinks it would be nice for all those 47 million people, plus additional progeny, to vote Democrat over the next 20 years.”

    Turns out this is not the case, because the experiences along different axes of oppression can be quite different.

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  74. Also I feel like intersectionality says you can’t dice people up. A black woman isn’t black some of the time and a woman some of the time she’s both all of the time. Her experience is the experience of both interacting together – not one or the other depending on the time of day.

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  75. peter k says:

    The union of the experiences of black men and the experiences of white women do not cover all the experiences of black women.

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  76. Identity is not additive?

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  77. Andres Soolo says:

    Donna Buckles: And offering universal healthcare is a good strategy for the left-wingers because it reduces the threats of parasites and infectious diseases, increase people’s general confidence, and thus drive them away from right-wing ideas.

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