If you haven't followed the news, the above comments were seen on social media after Malaysia decided to deny Israeli athletes participation in the World Para Swimming Championship and was promptly stripped off the right to host the event. The social media outrage - and celebration - was swift. Hoards of people congratulated Malaysia for condemning Israel's "occupation" of Palestine. Politics was elevated as more important than sports in this scenario, echoing the days when South Africa was banned from sports events due to Apartheid.
It would be business as usual if it wasn't for one comment that highlighted the strangeness of the position. I mentioned the fact that Palestine criminalizes homosexuality and Malaysia has a long track record of human rights violations. One person asked why I had brought up the "gay card" to the conversation. I was struck by the question as the Intersectionals (the dogma embraced by the left) conflate gay rights with the Free Palestine movement alongside feminism and a hoard of other causes. Why this dissent? After a bit more conversation it became apparent that this was a Jewish question, Israel being a Jewish state. And this led to more awkward questions. Muslims, whose religion Islam is a "protected" religion in Intersectional thought, are known for gender discrimination and homophobia, both rejected by Intersectionalism.
So what gives here?
A couple of years ago I became concerned when I saw what I considered a blatant hijacking of feminism. As a woman I could no longer talk about women's rights, because talking about women (born as women) "erased" trans people; because I didn't properly highlight poc and their experience (and how could I have, knowing little about it); because I have "privilege," whatever that means. When I talked about women in Muslim countries and their need to secure equal rights, I was told I was engaging in Islamophobia. When I talked about women in the church and their struggle to be seen as fully human, I was told the women could leave; they had chosen to be in the church and therefore their experience wasn't important enough to be talked about. Everywhere I went I met a wall of "You can't talk about this/you need to talk about this to be a real feminist."
A real feminist.
A real feminist supports gay rights, trans people's rights, the freeing of Palestine, poc rights, animal rights, veganism, disabled people's rights, environmentalism, immigrant rights, and a number of new causes that crop up at a dizzying pace. But here's the question: if a person has to support all the causes found under the umbrella of feminism to be a real feminist, why is this test not applied to everyone in the same way? Why can people call for the freeing of Palestine while ignoring gay rights? Why can people congratulate Malaysia for denying participation of some athletes (based on religion, ostensibly due to politics), while ignoring their violations of human rights? Why can people support trans people's rights, while ignoring women's rights? Why are some groups allowed to discriminate in the process of advocating for their own rights and why must the rest of us allow them to do so without objection?
All of this points to the elephant that has been in the room for the longest time: no one can advocate for everything at the same time. When we attempt to do so, we find ourselves in a position in which we can no longer advocate for our own rights. We must become "allies" of people who work overtime to keep us from gaining equal rights. It's an untenable position. And this begs the followup question: how did we get here?
The attack from the right in the West caused Islam to become a "protected" religion in the eyes of the left. Christianity doesn't enjoy this position, although Christians experience similar attacks in other countries, because the Intersectional dogma is intensely focused on the US and Europe, and Christianity is majority religion in these regions. Christianity is the villain, because it is linked to white supremacy. Intersectional dogma creates these links and with time they become so entrenched in people's minds that the two can no longer be separated. Since Islam is a "protected" religion, its practices cannot be criticized; the oppressed cannot oppress. This is the reasoning behind critical race theory that posits that black people cannot be racist and all white people are racist from birth to death. The weakness of the argument is obvious to anyone who considers it for a moment: it denies agency from the very people it tries to restore agency to. If black people cannot be racist, they are incapable of a human emotion white people are capable of. It makes hate an emotion only white people can experience, which is patently absurd. Similarly, if we cannot criticize Islam and it's repressive gender discrimination, we are saying we must elevate religion above women's rights, a practice Inersectional dogma claims to free us from. So far Intersectionality hasn't freed us from anything. It has instead created a hierarchy of human worth in which some humans have more worth than others, reducing its claims of inclusivity to a parody, and there is a reason for it.
Morality is about emotions, as Jonathan Haidt so famously observed. The more hurt we are, the greater the temptation to see ourselves as good and other people as evil. When hurt people take this kind of morality and create an ideology out of it, they see all oppressed people as saintly and everyone else as demons. It's a natural reaction, but it doesn't end oppression; it only creates more of it. The perpetual chiding of the "oppressor" doesn't create anything other than resentment that in turn creates more discrimination; it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that keeps on renewing itself in endless cycles. At the same time, the "saintly" oppressed people get away with things they wouldn't otherwise, which creates more hatred in the name of righteousness, something anyone who has ever been part of a religion is familiar with.
To find a way out of this maze we need to stop insisting everyone must advocate for causes they know nothing about. We must all be allowed to advocate for our own causes and we must be allowed to have conversations about subject matters we care about without the vitriolic denunciations that usually follow. In other words, we must return to a time in which diversity of opinion mattered and our value as human beings wasn't tied to our thoughts or beliefs. We all have value regardless of what we believe. Our thoughts may make us less valuable to society, but the needs of society cannot dictate the value of the individual. Either we are all human, or none of us are human. There is no other option.