The Purdue Online Writing Lab (an excellent research for writers, teachers, and anyone else who cares about using language correctly and effectively) offers a one-page brief on critical race theory that includes this notable definition of the core concepts of intersectionality and anti-essentialism:
Intersectionality and anti-essentialism: These terms refer to the notion that one aspect of an individual’s identity does not necessarily determine other categories of membership. As Delgado and Stefancic explain, “Everyone has potentially conflicting, overlapping identities, loyalties, and allegiances” (CRT: An Introduction 10). In other words, we cannot predict an individual’s identity, beliefs, or values based on categories like race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc; instead, we must recognize that individuals are capable of claiming membership to a variety of different (and oftentimes seemingly contradictory) categories and belief systems regardless of the identities outsiders attempt to impose upon them [Purdue OWL, “Critical Race Theory (19970s-present),” retrieved 2021.06.29].
No wonder South Dakota Republicans want to ban that theory: it advocates a complicated understanding of humanity, and Republicans hate complications.