The mission of the Racial Justice Ministry is to “raise awareness and understanding of and engagement with racial identity and racism, including our individual and collective opportunities to achieve racial justice.” This document is intended to raise awareness and understanding of intersectionality by providing a collection of print and video resources. As you consider the issue of intersectionality, consider these questions:
- What does the term “intersectionality” refer to?
- What is it that actually intersects?
- Why is intersectionality important in how we think about discrimination and oppression?
- Think of someone you know who is a member of a marginalized group. Are they, at the same time, a member of a different marginalized group? How might other people see them or interact with them because of that “intersection?”
Kimberle Crenshaw, a Columbia University law professor, describes intersectionality as “a lens, a prism, for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other. We tend to talk about race inequality as separate from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality or immigrant status. What’s often missing is how some people are subject to all of these, and the experience is not just the sum of its parts” (note 2). Crenshaw coined the term in a 1989 analysis of a series of court cases in which Black women encountered a form of discrimination that was unique because they were not simply Black or women but Black and women (note 2).
- Note 1: Steinmetz, Katie (2020). She coined the term ‘intersectionality over 30 years ago. Here’s what it means to her today. Time online. Inequality. February 27. https://time.com/5786710/kimberle-crenshaw-intersectionality/
- Note 2: Crenshaw, Kimberle (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race ans sex: A Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum: Vol. 1989: Iss. 1, Article 8. https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1052&context=uclf
- Crenshaw, Kimberle (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review: Vol. 43: Iss 5, pages 1241-1300. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/734f/8b582b7d7bb375415d2975cb783c839e5e3c.pdf?_ga=2.220627032.1126017936.1598126166-224932900.1598126166
Audio and Video Resources
- Blaque, Kat (2019). What is intersectionality? Video – 7:17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEeP_3vmdBY
- Crenshaw, Kimberle (2018). What is intersectionality? Video – 1:54. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViDtnfQ9FHc
- Crenshaw, Kimberle (2016). The urgency of intersectionality. Video – 18:49. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akOe5-UsQ2o&t=182s
- Crenshaw, Kimberle (2017). TED Talk + Animation. Video – 5:57. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRci2V8PxW4
- Sarah Hayet (2015). Kimberle Crenshaw discusses “intersectional feminism.” Video – 9:56. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROwquxC_Gxc
- Arshya Vahabzadeh (Khan Academy). Intersectionality. Video – 3:29. https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/social-inequality/social-class/v/intersectionality
- Teaching Tolerance (2016). Intersectionality 101. Video – 3:03. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6dnj2IyYjE