From a recent New Criterion piece comes this nice primer on the term ‘intesectionality’:
That’s where the pseudo-idea of “intersectionality” comes in. The term, first popularized in the 1980s, originated among black feminists. The idea was to proliferate the categories of recognized victims of a supposedly exploitative white, male, “capitalist” majority. Black men might claim to be oppressed by whites, women by men, but black women scored a twofer on account of being able to check two boxes. Black women who also happened to be lesbian scored even higher on account of their “marginalized” sexual orientation, and that was only the beginning. Soon there was a furious race to enhance one’s status as a victim, as obese or disabled or transgendered candidates presented themselves in the Great Victimology Sweepstakes. Demands for others to “check their privilege” spiraled out of control as contestants competed to demonstrate their lack of privilege compared with their putative, not to say their imaginary, oppressors.