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Learn & Unlearn: Anti-racism Resource Guide

Lesson 4: Intersectionality

Original post on @saic.maffairs posted 8/21/2020.

Foundation: Intersectionality

What is Intersectionality?

Intersectionality, came from scholar: Kimberlé Crenshaw, to address the limitations of anti-discrimination in law. Anti-Discrimination laws addressed either racism, or sexism, but not both. Intersectionality arose from the need to address inequities in legislative laws. 

Think about this: “Black women are both Black and Women, but because they are Black Women, they endure specific forms of discrimination that Black men, or white women might not.”

Intersectionality IS NOT a tool to establish a hierarchy. 
Intersectionality IS a framework to analyze existing structural inequities in law.1
Intersectionality IS recognizing “all women do not share the same levels of discrimination just because they are women,” 2
Intersectionality IS about a “deep commitment to gender justice in all of its intersectional complexity”3
Intersectionality IS recognizing that people have identities that intersect in ways that impact how they are impacted by structural injustices


“It’s basically 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,” - Kimberlé Crenshaw4

To Read

Flaxman Library Materials - May take up to 3 days from request to pickup. Instructions are available here.
I-Share Books - May take up to 10 days from request to pickup. Instructions are available here.

To Research

To Listen

To Watch

To Follow


To Reflect

Last week, you completed the Social Identity Worksheet. Think about one movement, one situation, one group or setting. Which identities show up in that one time?
How did you learn about Intersectionality? How was it defined?
How does this context change your understanding/definition of intersectionality?

To Act

Accept the reality of these dynamics and how you might be affected differently. 
Begin having difficult conversations with others in the spaces that you DO have privilege.
When you follow movements, #metoo or #sayHerName, take direction from the Black, Brown women & folx leading the charge.


Works Cited

  1. Jane Coaston, "The Intersectionality Wars," Vox, May 28 2019.
  2. Arica L. Coleman, "What's Intersectionality? Let These Scholars Explain the Theory and Its History," TIME, March 29 2019.
  3. Feminist Freedom WarriorsEds. Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Linda E. Carty (Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books, 2018).
  4. Katy Steinmetz, "She Coined the Term ‘Intersectionality’ Over 30 Years Ago. Here’s What It Means to Her Today," TIME, February 20 2020.