the psychological torture of neoliberal intersectionality


Everyone is alienated, no one wins.

The psychological torture of neoliberal intersectionality is this:

  1. It pretends to make progress for specially oppressed groups, while delivering none
  2. Its liberal wing attacks the white working class rhetorically, which is not suffering as much, but is still suffering as workers
  3. It creates a massive race tension (and other tensions) across society by creating a mental framework where no cross-demographic unity or constructive conversation is imaginable

The key of neoliberal intersectionality is to deliver progress for doubly-oppressed groups not in the form of sweeping economic and social reforms which would actually help the vast majority of that oppressed group, but instead to increase the number of political & corporate figureheads of those groups in the media and at the top of the power structure, and to increase the amount of empty rhetoric on behalf of those groups. (Doubly-oppressed groups have their own specific social issues but are also disproportionately working-class and poor.)

Occasionally the system may even emphasize narrow social reforms over broader social or economic reforms (the courts legalizing same-sex marriage at the same time as they destroy unions).  The importance of the social reforms should not be dismissed, but the deception should be clear: LGBT people will suffer from the dismantling of unions because LGBT people are also largely workers, so the courts are giving to us with one hand and taking with the other.

So while the liberal end of the media makes a lot of noise pushing for a multicultural rainbow society (but never truly getting one except for news anchor diversity), the white working class feels completely abandoned – because, in truth, it also is, with white workers dying faster than before.

So we have rhetorical justice for the doubly-oppressed combined with a reality of extreme injustice, and on the other hand rhetorical and structural abandonment for the white working class (except by the conservative media, which caters to such whites, but again in terms of empty rhetoric and not anything that would actually help them).

It should of course be pointed out that in nearly every material/economic metric, the white working class has it better than its other racial counterparts (though its overall wellbeing is also simultaneously declining). And yet, at the same time, whites believe they have it worse. This seems ridiculous, but again can also be explained to an extent by the way media themes are structured into neoliberal multiculturalism.

Because the media narrative is a simplistic game of warring camps (man vs. woman, black vs. white) instead of a constructive unity where we can all advance together as a class while addressing specific oppressions at the same time, white men feel like they are constantly under attack. At least in terms of rhetoric from the liberal and centrist ends of the media, it’s not a mistaken feeling, but actual media practice. Materially, such workers are only under attack as workers, not as whites or males – but given the omnipresent rhetoric, it’s not surprising they’d get confused.

Meanwhile doubly-oppressed groups deal with the extreme frustration of constant rhetoric and imagery of progress, coupled with a brutal reality of continued intense systemic oppression (also of course mixed with hostile rhetoric from the conservative and “moderate” ends of the media).

Everyone is confused. Everyone is attacking the wrong scapegoats. No one wins, except the rich.  And in the meantime, it’s a huge source of tension and psychic pain in the ass for everybody.