Steve Williams – Intersectionality is a Sociological Theory
“During this spring semester, I have been given the opportunity to discover and perceive many diverse topics and subjects that not only women, but multiple people seem to cope with on a daily basis. Seeking though all my critical reading responses and notes, I realized one thing that almost all of them had in common. Most of them have something to do with the word intersectionality.
Intersectionality, as defined in an article by Steve Williams, is “”a sociological theory about how an individual, especially women, can face multiple threats of discrimination when their identities overlap a number of minority classes, such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, health and other characteristics.””
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Intersectionality also ties to our race and ethnicity topic. Pertaining to how people of different races or ethnicities face a lot of microaggressions. Microaggressions are thoughts, comments, or actions that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority). (Culpepper, J. C. (2000)) Some examples that I have received are “You’re really pretty for a black girl.”, “Do you even speak Spanish?”, “Wow! You’re Puerto Rican?”. Another example that most Asians receive is “I know he’s smart because he’s Asian”.
I feel as though intersectionality has been on my mind since we first introduced the meaning of it. Being Afro-Latina, I have witnessed and have been apart of many altercations when it comes to what society seems not only women, but Black or African American Women and Latinas should be or act like. Society has disempowered and belittled Black women by placing or shoving them into narrowing stereotypes. I feel as though this topic in something everyone needs to talk and know about. White feminism is a denomination of feminism which forgets, ignores, doesn’t think or talk about the troubles and issues of women of color. They don’t see femininity though Black women, Latino women, and native women or any women that simply do not look like them. As Malcom X quotes, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
Ever since the class watched Kimberle W. Crenshaw’s Ted Talk, “The Urgency of Intersectionality”, I keep reflecting on all the things she said. Kimberle Crenshaw explains that Black women are being discriminated against with a combination of not only racism but sexism. When we think of sexism, we mostly refer to white women, while when thinking of racism, we refer to Black men. Black women are basically invisible in response to violence or crime that is happened.
I Agree with Crenshaw when she states, “The problem is not simply that women who dominate the anti-violence movement are different from women of color but that they frequently have power to determine, though either material or rhetoric resources, whether the intersectional differences of women of color will be incorporated at all into the basic formulation of policy.” This is based on white feminism and feminists need to fight for all races of women not only their kind.
Everyone is in position at the intersection of various identities. Receiving an intersectional attitude on our campus and in school means everyone as in students and professors need to become aware that there are multiple forms of oppression and privileges that individuals face daily, how they interact with one another, and how their reaction upon others can affect people in many different ways.
With everything that I have done in Women and Gender Studies, including examining readings, presentations, and groupwork, I am a good researcher and I am secure with talking about a variety of related topics and I can build logical arguments using knowledgeable evidence. Also I can analyze texts, advertisements and music lyrics and can think critically about language, gender, and culture to explain the meanings of these texts. I can detect or understand issues that are based off of gender or sexuality problems in homes, workplaces and communities. I appreciate the value of diverse views built in different understandings and can help to discover a common ground.
I really appreciated this class mainly because everyone had a voice. In this class everyone was able to speak out on their opinion without judgment, no matter what race, color, ethnicity gender, or characteristic they are. Which I think is important with in today’s society. I reckon this class is a good place to show what you feel because most classes aren’t as open to debates or opinions as others.”