I frequently get asked by befuddled non-leftists what certain terms used by leftists mean. The following definitions might be helpful.
• Intersectionality Theory: A secular religion which reveals the oppression of American society, with white heterosexual Christian males at the top of the hierarchy and everybody else on some abused rung below. A successor to failed Marxism -- simply replace the word "proletariat" with "people of color" or "women" or "LGBT" in Marx and Engels and it comes out roughly the same.
Intersectionality theory also draws from various strains of fascism by virtue of its deterministic view of the roles of race and ethnicity and its vilification of "objective" enemies (white Christian males instead of Jews).
• Woke: Similar to a religious conversion, where the light suddenly comes on, false consciousness is penetrated and the assumptions of intersectionality theory are fully embraced. Woke folk thereafter lose their sense of humor as they dedicate their lives to pestering their neighbors and calling strangers nasty names on Twitter ("performative wokeness").
• Virtue Signaling: The way in which we let others know that we're woke. Such signals are intended to provide immunity from attack by the mob for any future unintentional heresies that might be committed. You can, after all, never be woke enough and it's always better to be part of the mob than its quarry.
• Cisgendered: Term that applies to misguided people who think they are boys or girls because that's what their birth certificates say and their parents thought they were. Once known as "normal."
• Toxic Masculinity: Demonstrated by men who think masculinity is a virtue rather than a vice. Alas, toxic males can still be found in places like police forces, the military, and high school football fields. It is especially reviled by the kind of men who always got picked last for dodge-ball in grade school.
• Cultural Appropriation: White folks using their hegemonic power to steal things from other cultures. So please stay in your appropriate ethnic and racial lanes, with no more Taco Tuesdays, Panda buffets, or hanging out in blues clubs or soul-food joints.
• Objectivication: Refers to any depiction of women that might seem stereotypical, for example, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. That many women still try to appear feminine and make themselves attractive to men is evidence that they suffer from false consciousness. A complaint usually filed by women who wouldn't be asked to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
• Mansplaining: Assumes that logic and facts are mechanisms of oppression, and truth merely an interpretation framed by race and gender. A handy way of dismissing any argument made by a man, even if it makes sense, and justifying praise for any argument made by a woman, even if it doesn't.
• Inclusivity: Suggests a desire to include as many views as possible but really means the exclusion of any views that those who are included and woke don't like, i.e., non-left views.
• Racist: Most people think it means treating people differently on account of their race; for leftists it describes anyone who isn't willing to treat people differently on account of race.
• Homophobe: A term that can be applied to anyone who failed to show up for last week's LGBT pride event. Or anyone who ever expressed reservations about gay marriage, like Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, at least until they became woke.
• Migrant: Used to be "illegal alien," but the illegal part sounds bad, so it then became "undocumented person" (which suffered from a certain vagueness; after all, what documents? And where did the darn things get to?), but now simply "migrant" with its innocuous connotation of people, like birds, casually moving from here to there (or, in this case, there to here). By whatever term, the future of the Democratic Party.
• Social Justice: Something that the woke always claim to be fighting for, although it is unclear exactly what it means and how they're doing that. At the least it sounds warm and fuzzy and therefore the kind of thing it might be safer to be for than against.
• Socialism: An economic system that brings heaven to Earth, in contrast to greedy, oppressive capitalism, which creates hell on Earth. Socialism has never failed because it's never actually been tried, except in Scandinavia where it succeeds because it isn't really socialism.
• White Privilege: The benefits that flow to someone because they have white skin. White woke warriors seldom give up such benefits but talk a lot about it so they don't feel guilty.
• Non-Platforming: Preventing the non-woke from expressing ideas that make members of "marginalized" groups feel "unsafe" and therefore constitute a form of violence. Anyone who objects on free-speech grounds is only promoting hate speech and defending the patriarchy.
• Diversity: A magical word that college administrators have to utter at least 31 times a day to ensure career advancement. Usually spoken with a certain righteous urgency, after which all conversation in the room grinds to a halt and heads nod in zombie-like fashion. Think naked emperors.
• Subconscious Racism: A form of unfalsifiable Freudian quackery allowing lefties to claim racism is everywhere, even if no one can see it but them.
Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.Editorial on 08/05/2019
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