Are You Intersectional?

Intersectionality. It’s a term that has unfortunately turned into a social justice “buzzword” but it’s actually a concept that is extremely important. People with varying experiences have different experience that deal with the same issue. For example, as a black women I experience sexism differently than white women, Asian women, or Hispanic women (and they all have distinct experiences as well).

A great example of a lack of intersectionality is exemplified in the [now deleted] tweet by actress Rose Mcgowan about James Cordon’s Harvey Weinstein joke. The issue here is that Mcgowan doesn’t take into account that there are many women who don’t have to imagine replacing the “women” with the “n-word.” I understand that sometimes its difficult to consider experiences that you may have had but by trying to equate these experiences ignores those who have both of these issues and deal with them at the same time.

 

But that doesn’t mean black people don’t have issues handling intersectionality. For example, the way some black men turned on Jemele Hill for tweeting this article which is essentially an article about straight black men struggling to be intersectional (and was written by a black men). Often, at least in my experience, black people don’t have an interest in listening to what black women are struggling with and experiencing. And any critique is met with a “you hate black men” or “you’re trying to bring us down.” Responses like these exemplify why movements must be intersectional. If you are only interested in the liberation of those like you then everyone else will be just as oppressed while you ascend to a new level.

It’s important to be intersectional. Acknowledging the various experiences of people who may come from different backgrounds is important.  I’m speaking from my own experiences as a black woman because I don’t feel like its my place to discuss where we lack intersectionality when it comes to people who are LGBT or disabled. But we must improve as a world with including those with intersecting experiences because without intersectionality no one will truly be free.

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