Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw coined this term in 1989 to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap to create a unique target for prejudice. Her theory was laid out in a paper addressing three legal cases that dealt with concurrent issues of racial discrimination and sex discrimination. She argued that the courts' claim that such issues could only be considered independently was limited and not reflective of actual experience.
Intersectionality operates in both the observance and analysis of power imbalances, and the tool by which those power imbalances could be eliminated altogether. Professor Crenshaw is less concerned with questions of identity and representation but more interested in the deep structural and systemic questions about discrimination and inequality.
In the context of racism and sexism, Kimberlé Crenshaw explains how intersectionality allows us to frame social problems of combined targets. As she so eloquently states: "If we can't see a problem, we can't fix a problem!"
A useful definition...
Intersectionality is the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect.*
"Well, it's complicated...!"
* From Merriam-Webster dictionary
Or, if you're visual learner...
Darryl Hansomegives a personal sharing of how intersectionality impacts his life. This interview also addresses how intersectionality-blindness (by this editor) can create negative impacts across cultural differences.
(Pardon the background noise - this interview took place in a park near the Asheville airport!!)
Check out this site designed to give weight to the different cultural factors that impact power, privilege, discrimination and oppression. CAUTION: This reference is more for awareness, NOT to measure who is more oppressed or privileged. Also, note the marked white fragility evident in the comments section!!
What about us white men?
Who's standing up for us??
Don't White Lives Matter too?Of course. All lives matter. But to say that black lives matter doesn't mean that other lives don’t matter. No one means that your life doesn’t matter. I like this analogy from Ben Watson (NO Saint Tight End) - It's like when groups want to Save the Whales. They are not saying that other sea life doesn't matter, but rather because of all the problems that have occurred over a long, long time, that this group, the whales, needs more attention right now. Things must be done differently now - it's the right thing to do.
Why should I have to give up what I've worked hard to gain?You don't - this is a myth. In other words, people have bought into a zero-sum politics in which their group only wins if the other group loses, and the groups are defined along racial lines. When all people are empowered, we all win - it's that simple. "A rising tide floats all boats..."
Our way of life is under attack!Our current political climate thrives on the fantasy of whites (especially straight, white men) being under siege and having to fight back. White resentment needs the boogeyman of job-taking, maiden-ravaging, tax-evading, criminally inclined others to justify the policies that thwart the upward mobility and success of people of color. White identity is now often defined by its sense of being ever under attack, with the system stacked against it. It's an "Us versus Them" mindset, which serves no one. (for more on this, see the book, White Identity Politics, below.)
It feels like we're outnumbered, disadvantaged, even oppressed... Most studies predict whites will no longer be the majority in the US by around 2044. Clearly, the wielding of power will lag behind that, Privilege and wealth, even much later. But, yes, things are changing and we have a choice whether to grow into and be part of that change or fight it kicking and screaming about how great the old days were. More than half of Americans say they are optimistic for the future of the USA. Keep in mind this axiom (source unknown):
"When you're accustomed to privilege,
equality feels like oppression."
With increasing diversity in the US and awareness and attention to cultural identity groups (and more recently the impacts of intersection-ality), many white Americans now view the political world through the lens of a white racial identity. Today, an increasing number of whites actively identify with their racial group and support policies and candidates that they view as protecting their power and status (hence the election of our current present). The author offers a well-researched and timely treatise with profound implications for the future of US racial conflict and politics.
Upcoming Gateway/Alternative NWTAs:
8/22-25/19 Barrier Free NWTA Prescott, AZ Apply
9/19-22/19 GBTQ Woodstock, IL Apply
10/17-20/19 French/English Trois Riviere, Quebec Apply
11/7-10/19 Spanish/English Elbert, CO Apply
11/14-17/19 YWTA Cold Spring, NY Apply
12/5-8/19 GBTQ New Hope, PA Apply
1/9-12/20 First Nation Chilliwack, BC Apply