The term “intersectionality” was coined by an African-American academic, Kimberle Crenshaw, in 1989 to denote the circumstance of being the target of more than one bias. Crenshaw saw herself as the potential victim of both anti-black racism and misogyny, thereby living at the intersection of the two bigotries. In recent years, the term has gained prominence on many of the nation’s campuses to signify something else: the supposed shared, “intersecting,” predicaments of racial and ethnic groups — as well as women and sexual minorities — victimized by white male racism and its history of imperialism, colonialism, exploitation and slavery.
While one can fully acknowledge the depredations of European imperialism and its exploitation of non-European populations, one can also debate the extent of its current impact on non-European populations, women and sexual minorities. Except that one cannot debate it: In much of Western, including American, academia today, such debate is not permitted.
Similarly censored from today’s campuses is discussion of another, in various respects competing, intersectionality: That of the shared, intersecting, predicaments of today’s victims of Islamist aggression, including terrorism. Those victims are mainly people of color — black Africans, Arabs, Kurds, Pakistanis, Afghans and east Asians — but also many whites. They are mainly Muslims, but also include Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Druze and people professing no religion.
Why should these two intersectionalities, despite their different focuses on perpetrators and victims, be competing? Because allies of the Islamist assault have played a prominent part in promoting the campus version of intersectionality. Consequently, in the campus version, Israel is assigned a role that is the opposite of the one it actually plays in the world, including with regard to the other intersectionality.