Lets talk about intersectionality

Iggy Lueck, Assistant Editor

With the celebrations of Black history Month in full swing, I thought it would be beneficial to write about a term that not everyone may be familiar with: intersectionality. Specifically in regards to race. 

What does this word mean? Intersectionality is when someone falls into two or more groups or characteristics. For example, someone who is a college student AND employed. 

What does this have to do with Black History Month and activism? A lot, actually. As we know, this country was founded on discriminatory principals and laws. Since their formation, they have been repealed, sure, but the instilled prejudices linger in certain areas of the country or in certain groups. Furthermore, there isn’t much being done intentionally (legally, anyway) to ensure that people who fall into these smaller, more specific categories have full equal opportunity. 

I’m going to bring up an example from a TED Talk I recently watched. There was a black woman who wanted to get a job in a field typically dominated by white men. It was already difficult for her to get a job in such a place because of her gender, but when you added her skin color on top of it, it got even harder. She believed they didn’t hire her because she was a black woman. The company argued that they do hire black people, but they all happened to be men. They also argued that they do hire women, but the women were all white. There wasn’t anyone there who was like the black woman trying to get the job. 

It is these types of things that certain people have the privilege of never having to think about. It is these types of things that are often overlooked, since those who argue against the idea of privilege tend to narrow in on a single characteristic to try to discredit others’ arguments. 

The awareness of intersectionality can also help us appreciate more the black people who worked hard to create equality in history. 

We cannot focus on a single part of someone, we must see them as a whole. It is important to recognize intersectionality because it plays a critical role in the equality of all people. 

Here is a link to the TED Talk I referenced. I highly recommend giving it a watch.