Navigating the Maze of Intersectionality

It had been some good few days since the last time Ziggy had been out on a road trip with his friend Zara, postmodern-day prophet of renown. As it was, Zara had just that day taken delivery of a new set of keys for the Maserati in which they were now comfortably ensconced. Ziggy had not quite understood how, if the keys had indeed been stolen, the car had not also been. But he recalled that on the night of the theft, both of them had had one or two bottles of IPA too many, so it was perhaps not surprising that his friend couldn’t remember the events surrounding the theft so clearly. Besides, there were other matters that today were weighing more heavily on Ziggy’s mind.

Zara, being an empathetic and compassionate soul by nature was quickly alert to the fact that all was not well with his friend and sought to offer a sympathetic ear. “Hey man, I’ve been looking forward all week to this road trip. It’s good to be back in the driving seat.” His opening gambit did not have the desired effect of sparking a conversation. “So where shall we head for this time?” A long silence ensued, finally broken by a further question from Zara: “Is there some problem here?”

At this point Zara’s empathetic persistence bore fruit and his friend confided: “It’s Zena, innit?” Zena was his recently acquired, rather high-maintenance girlfriend. [ed. – why do all their names start with ‘Z’; there is a distinct lack of diversity here!]

Zara, being well familiar with the complex dynamic in his friend’s current dalliance was immediately ready with the tactful response the situation demanded. “Not again! What is it this time?”

“Well you know this business about the Duchess of Sussex quarreling with her in-laws?”

“You mean the Meghan saga? Of course! The bigotry and intolerance she has experienced have been a disgrace. And who was it made that racist remark about her?”

“I don’t think she actually said who it was.”

“And what was it they said again?”

” I don’t think we know that either.”

“Exactly, so it was undeniable racism. Unforgivable.” Having established the facts, he turned his attention to admonishing his friend for the evident inadequacy in his woke sensitivities. “But you should have been aware that Meghan was the victim here and that her truth had to be respected. What possessed you to side against her?”

“But, I didn’t. That’s the point.” Zara was confused. “It was Zena who took against Meghan. Proper furious she was too with my not seeing things her way.” Zara remained silent at this point, deeming it prudent to continue with his strategy of deferring judgment until he had all the details of the case at his disposal. “‘Living in a palace surrounded by servants and married to a prince and she talks about hardship,’ Zena complains. ‘What does madam know of hardship? Did she ever have to live on benefits trapped in a run-down council estate with drug-dealers on every corner? And the pigs would as soon stop and search you as look at you? People like her give anti-racism a bad name.'” Zara was starting to think that Zena perhaps had a point. But Ziggy was not yet done with giving vent to his frustrations: “I mean, how could she challenge Meghan’s truth like that? The way she was sounding off, it made Piers Morgan look cool, calm and collected.”

“Hold on, we need to exercise some objectivity here,” inveighed Zara, gaining confidence from having now heard a more complete version of events. “Who are you to challenge a woman when she sets out her truth about the injustices she has faced?” Judging from Ziggy’s astonished silence in response to his rhetorical question, Zara could see this was something his friend had never previously considered. He hesitated momentarily before continuing: “Reluctant though I am to express comments or concerns about matters of skin tone, isn’t it the case that Zena is of a darker natural complexion than Meghan? And Meghan is still a Duchess and a multimillionaire celebrity with a hugely supportive husband while Zena’s aspiration at the moment is MVQ level 3 with a … What I mean to say is, in terms of intersectionality, these matters do weigh in Zena’s favour as to having the right for her sense of victimhood to be given the respect due.”

Ziggy was clearly piqued at this disparagement of his girl. “Hey! You have no right to diss Zena like that. She’s a fine girl.”

“Exactly! And so she has every right to assert her victimhood and get all the respect due.”

“Well, now you put it like that…”

“I do. As should you! Respect your girl’s victim status and accept the fact of your misogynism as judged from her higher rating on the intersectionality scale. Sometimes you just overthink things more than is good for you. Look, we’re nearly at the pub now. As I recall, it’s your round from last time, but you still have time to send Zena a text reminding her how much you love and respect her for her victim status. Honestly, what would you do without me sorting your life out for you like this?”

With that he pulled the car over with a screech of brakes and marched promptly across the car park towards the pub which now exuded such a warm, inviting atmosphere. Ziggy followed closely after, noting the care his friend took in stowing the car keys deep in his pocket, before hitting cancel on the text he, Ziggy, had been drafting and securing his phone in a similarly safe place.

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By Colin Turfus

Colin Turfus is a quantitative risk manager with 16 years experience in investment banking. He has a PhD in applied mathematics from Cambridge University and has published research in fluid dynamics, astronomy and quantitative finance.

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