SocraticGadfly: Brief thoughts: Critical race theory and gender critical radical feminism

May 19, 2021

Brief thoughts: Critical race theory and gender critical radical feminism

More and more nuttery is being spit out of one half, or now both, of the Pink Dome as the Texas Legislature races to bill-voting finish line.

We have one big one, per the first half of the header, and one that's NOT so nutty, despite attacks by some activists, per the second half of the header.

Let's dig in.

Schools can't teach critical race theory, but that was amended with window-dressing inclusion of speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. (of course) and Frederick Douglass (himself somewhat a racist toward American Indians and yes really). Rep. Mary González is right; the wingnuts don't even know what they're trying to semi-ban, but what else is new?

My personal take? I've actually read Eddie Glaude's Democracy in Black, who is on the edges of the movement, and Derrick Bell, a founder of the theory, whose Silent Covenants was a good introduction. 
I've also read many other books about how the concept of race was developed.
As for critical race theory itself? Beyond looking at the sociological development of race, I think they're half-right or more on how the law has in part been constructed to support the idea of race and support the elevation of White race-ness above other race-ness. Yes, that's an ugly phrasing, or rather, an ugly-looking hyphenated word, but it does the work I see it needs to do.
Whether the prescriptions of critical race theory are always right is a different issue, as is some of the methodology its proponents use to reach its prescriptions, or to reach its analysis with all current issues in race-oriented segments of law.

Update, June 20. While not every CRT touter may support these things mentioned in the tweet, the most ardent do. I remember years ago when resegregation first started raising its head to a great degree.
There you go. I retweeted it, but did not comment to it, as the tweeter appears to be a wingnut, or at least a wingnut fellow traveler.

One other thing I reject from CRT is that only White people can be racist. I've seen racism by members of all sociological race groups. The "top" group, Whites in the US, are the most likely to be so, is possible and even likely, as is the fact that their racism will generally be both the most pernicious and that with the strongest effects.

I also reject the corollary that by default, White people are racist. Now, there IS to some degree still a form of structural or institutional racism in America, and that supports White "privilege," or put more accurately to avoid SJW words, an accumulated White group socioeconomic power balance. That doesn't make all Whites today racist. It doesn't make all of them responsible for that power balance still tilting their way. It does, though, mean they still benefit from it.
That said, there is such a thing as individual racism as well. And, Blacks, American Indians, Asian Americans, Whites, can all be racist against people of other "races." I've personally witnessed individual representatives of every group but Asians doing this.
And, to the degree that critical race theory, or some of its more extreme proponents claim only Whites can be racist? That's the degree I reject CRT.
Also open for debate is the intersection of race and class, an intersection that "interestingly" is generally omitted from discussions by proponents of intersectionality. I personally reject the likes of Adolph Reed and Doug Henwood that issues of race almost always reduce to issues of class. That said, that's a semi-Marxist reductionism, which is wrong not only in being wrong, as I've told Henwood before, but also wrong in, per Dan Dennett, being an example of greedy reductionism in general.
At the same time, the likes of Reed and Henwood aren't fully wrong, either. Sometimes what looks like an issue of race is at least partially a class issue of not an issue of class more than race. Beyond that, then, there's the issue of class within each individual racial grouping. 

Now, on to the second half of the header, as it also relates to the Texas Legislature, with the Senate still pushing for restrictions on sex (sic) transition intervention for minors.

First, I see parallels between CRT and gender-critical radical feminism. Both have things to teach, and have taught me. At the same time, I don't agree with everything in either, and at the same time, sex and race are different things. Sex is more than skin-deep physiological markers. At the same time, contra some Greens battling the "trans activitists," I reject anything that approaches sex essentialism just like race essentialism. That said, to the degree that gender roles arise out of biological sex, sociological understandings and expressions of race are probably about 50 percent parallel. I wouldn't go further.

Speaking of, the Texas House's bill to ban medical interventions for transgender children is dead. The Senate has a similar version; we'll see.

My take? The bill was somewhat too far but NOT that much too far. Instead of a ban, put it age 16 for puberty blockers, require parental consent (this is FAR more than an abortion, so yes, parental CONSENT), and, only allow puberty blocker drugs when STRICTLY following the guidelines established by the Mayo Clinic and elsewhere, which I've noted before. And, speaking of books related to subjects, that includes selections from my review of Alice Dreger's Galileo's Middle Finger.
I know that to some regular readers, even some fellow leftists of some sort, this may be a shock. Well, I'm not alone among liberals, left-liberals and leftists, first. If you think I'm a loon or a bigot, you need to read more at those links.
Second, although I don't fully agree with GCRFs on this, I think they're at least partially right in that at least some non transsexual trans activists are men who are harmful to feminism.
Third, at that "noted before," puberty blockers have a laundry list of known and possible (as in correlation isn't yet necessarily causation) long-term (not short term) medical problems they cause. Many ground level cadres (sic) in the trans activist world don't even know this. Many of the leadership do and poo-poo this. Read for yourself at the links within that link about brittle bones, including full-on osteoporosis, major tooth decay and other issues.
Fourth, I have no doubt this is a fraught issue for parents. That said, per the Mayo Clinic, your first resource should be following its guidelines, including proper counseling for your child, before even considering any medical intervention. 
Fifth, leftists should know that American capitalism is finding $$$ in hopping on this bandwagon.

Sixth, on other specifics related to the Texas Senate bill? First, it's NOT unconstitutional, contra the LGBQ-plus / "trans activist" crowd. Second, on surgical intervention for minors? Once is once too many. Third, per Mayo Clinic guidelines, no, the No. 1 need for access re child suicide is sex/gender dysphoria counseling; No. 2 is limiting social media access in my personal opinion. Fourth, there ARE people who have started not just the chemical but the physical/surgical sex transition, or even completed it, and later regret it, and try to detransition. (Just like in pre-Maccabean Hellenistic Jerusalem, there were Jewish males who underwent decircumcision surgeries to compete in the gymnasion without embarrassment.) Opponents of the bill appear to continue to conflate sex and gender, too.
Seventh, within the Green Party? If this does shatter it, I've already thought that it's past its shelf life and its best-buy date. Per Mark Lause, I was already wondering that after the 2016 election. At the same time, per what I said above, some defenders of the Georgia Green Party, and some of its leadership, need to be more careful of their associations — if they care. Sometimes, the enemy of my enemy isn't even worth it to be invoked as a temporary ally of convenience.

Eighth, for left-liberals and leftists, here's an analogy I use that's very relevant to the current world situation: Gender is not sex like anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.
Ninth? "Detransitioning" is a real deal, and as noted, includes people who started into medical sex changes and had regrets. AND, these are adults. That's why "pushing" transitions, or even "pushing" puberty blockers, for minor children whose advanced abstract reasoning functions in their brain aren't fully developed, is horrendous and in this corner, arguably a form of child abuse. Parents? I don't care how often your kid asks. Maybe you need to just say no. And, yes, that counseling is HIGHLY needed. One sexual transitioner says he had 10 years of therapy before going forward. The number of detransitioners may be less than some claim, but it's almost certainly more than trans advocates deny.

Ninth, part two? Per the long-read second link in the above paragraph, those Mayo Clinic guidelines on mental health are observed MUCH more in the breach than in the practice, it seems.
Ninth, part three? That link is from Seattle's alt-weekly, so don't "@" me about wingnuts.

Tenth? Note to the GCRFs? Some detransitioners don't like you, or at a minimum, don't like some of your stances, much more than they like wingnuts. They definitely don't like your version of a red-brown alliance. (Neither do I.) You should take notes, but probably won't. 

Eleventh? At the same time, and contra trans advocates, many detransitioners cite peer pressure, whether in-person, online or both, for attempting sexual change in the first place.


Finally, with both CRT and GCRF, it's helpful to have at least a thumbnail understanding of the critical theory from which they arise. The Marxist background of critical theory, even if a watered-down reform Marxism of the Frankfurt school, is its biggest handicap. I've long said that Marx was spot on in his criticism of industrial capitalism of his day (tho failing to anticipate its changes). That is, he was spot on in the descriptive side. But, given that Hegelian dialectic is crappy philosophy and literally pseudoscience when made the basis of a scientific theory, he was all wet on the prescriptive side. 

Really finally? This is time for Idries Shah.

This is clearly an Idries Shah issue:

First, as I have said here and elsewhere, the enemy of my enemy may simply be an ally of convenience. That's another side right there. I used that exact phrase in a post last fall talking about Twitter cleanup, inspired by Julian Assange issues.

Second? Neither of the "two" sides in on the sexual transitioning issue (the one side having wingnut and GCRF sub-sides) wants compromises, I think. They want surrender by the other side, and will recruit allies of convenience in a war as needed.

I personally don't regret my degree of immersion in this. But, I even less regret pulling back before immersing even more.

And, with that? This will probably be close to my last in-depth thoughts on the issue until the deaccreditation of the Georgia Green Party. It's almost certain to happen. Georgia Greens should take their lumps and if they're serious about moving on, move on. (That said, I've heard that the SPUSA has already had a bit of this, twosiderism and all, themselves.)

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