Intersectionality can be defined as a way to bridge that gap between two or more identity positions. The article “On Black Feminist Thought: Thinking Oppression and Resistance Through Intersectional Paradigm” states:
“A significant aspect of critical studies of intersectionality is their relation to power and stratification. What distinguishes black feminist thought is that it is not only concerned with oppression, but equally concerned with resistance, activism and politics of empowerment. Grounded in black feminist epistemology, it highlights the relationship between power and knowledge, and questions the idea of objective knowledge and neutral spaces (Alina, 2015).”
It is thanks to Black Feminist Thought that we now have an understanding to how two identity postions can fuse together to become one new entity. One in which cannot be separated due to the collective memory of the experiences that is shared between those who share such intersected identity.
The reality is different based on one’s collective identity, especially in the conversation around race and gender. For instance, the struggles of an African-American male are different from the various obstacles faced by African-American women. Even though the two groups share the same racial identity, advantages and disadvantages are still very based on gender in our society. Males, in some aspects regardless of race, still carry a form of privilege even if they are not fully aware of it. The term ‘intersectionality epistemological in nature’ gives our society the insight into a word that may have been unknown or simply ignore. Most may argue that the ladder is more fitting in our society. However, with this knowledge it opens the floodgates for many thoughts, ideas, and more importantly the opportunity to act on some of those issue groups can possibly face (Moradi, 2017).
Intersectionality opens up our minds to how media and other forces have created stereotypes in the means of race, gender, class, and social structures. Academic scholarship has been created and shared with the general public to be mindful of how various mediums can negatively impact the image of different groups based on a multitude of social structures, i.e. power structures. For example the article “The Iconic Ghetto” speaks on how there is notion that the ghetto is known as a place where ‘black people live’ and how this thought has been normalized in our society. This idea is an oppressive notion intersecting both race and class which then generalizes all of those who belong to the race with taking in consideration of the class aspect as well.
With this information we as a whole should work towards understanding those various intersected identities in order to aid people who may feel not represented in our social atmosphere. By equipping ourselves with this knowledge we are then able to combat various stereotypes and other oppressive systems. People should not feel restricted by the labels that are placed on them by society, especially when every aspect of their identity is not taken into consideration. Intersectionality calls for great insight into those perspective that are often out scaled by the weight of one’s master status which illustrates the need for further study into its field.
Alinia, M. (2015). On Black Feminist Thought : thinking oppression and resistance through intersectional paradigm. Ethnic & Racial Studies, 38(13), 2334-2340. doi:10.1080/01419870.2015.1058492
Anderson, E. (2012). The Iconic Ghetto. Annals Of The American Academy Of Political & Social Science, 642(1), 8-24.
Moradi, B. m., & Grzanka, P. R. (2017). Using Intersectionality Responsibly: Toward Critical Epistemology, Structural Analysis, and Social Justice Activism. Journal Of Counseling Psychology, 64(5), 500-513.
Image Attribution: Image 1 John Silvercloud Title: “Black Lives Matter” by John Silvercloud, CC BY-SA 2.0; Image 2: “Chicago Ghetto On The South Side. Although The Percentage Of Chicago Blacks Making $7,000 Or More Jumped From 26 To 58% Between 1960 And 1970, 05/1974” by The US National Archives, public domain
Written by Isaiah Reese, 2018