Wow, I honestly did not expect this response. Thank you.
I don’t know if I can single-handedly answer your questions in a way that you will feel comfortable changing from one mode of thought to another, but I may be able to provide some illumination on why I think the way I do. So, I don’t expect you to change your opinions on any matters by the end of this post, but if it opens you up to seeing things from my perspective, maybe not even right now but someday, I’m happy with that.
First, I know you believe in meritocracy, and in social justice discourse that word gets crapped on all the time. The way I see it, we’re all fighting for a meritocracy. Honestly, it sounds pretty great. I think the main reason it gets backlash is because the people who tend to use it also tend to believe that we’re already there. I can say that in my experience, as a woman, it really doesn’t feel like a meritocracy, and from what I’m hearing from black folks (especially black women), disabled folks, immigrants, indigenous people, people of colour, LGBTQ folks, it doesn’t sound like most of them are living in a meritocracy either. It does, however, sound like white and white-passing men are living in a meritocracy, and that’s why it’s so difficult to have these conversations with them. But I don’t even think most white men are living in a meritocracy. Even one of the most commonly cited books on meritocracy was meant as satire. In fact if you get a chance I’d highly recommend reading the introduction to the transaction edition.
So, no one is disagreeing with you on the idea of a meritocracy, it sounds absolutely fantastic. Where the disagreement comes in is that many of us are saying we’re not there yet. If the world you experience is a meritocracy, then that’s great for you. I know that my experience of the world has been so closely tied to how I’ve been treated as a woman, and as a white woman, that I cannot consider myself an individual separate from those two identities. All of my knowledge, experience, interests and everything that makes me has been shaped and influenced by the fact that people see me as a woman and see me as white.
Before I explain intersectional theory further than that, because I’ve barely begun to scrape the surface of it, I wanted to check in and see how you’re feeling about this. Do you think it’s possible that the world we’re living in is not a meritocracy? Why/why not?