On Intersectionality

Jasmine Rosalbo, a recent graduate of the Fall 2014 semester
Monday, December 15, 2014

When I think of intersectionality,

I see a venn diagram of overlapping social categories

I see colorful pasta intertwined to make mutually constructed identities

I see runners on a track

I see obstacles set in front of them

On the basis of their race

and gender

I see privilege and the power to oppress

I see multi layered oppression of people of color

I see gender, race, class, sexuality

a checklist of categories that place us within the patriarchal hierarchy we call our world

But when I translate this to to world around me, and to feminism

I see a huge part of the media portraying white middle class heterosexual cisgendered ablebodied men and women as humanity

I see politicians claiming neutral politics

That serve this fictional majority

I see a public space filled with institutions

That were built to serve the hegemonic masculinity

and oppress the other

I see the center of knowledge production operated by white men claiming objectivity

Where are the people of color?

Where are the colonized?

Where are the disabled people?

Where are those who lie outside the recognized boundaries?

This is what needs to be seen

This is what needs to be made visible

These are the voices that need to be heard

This is the call that can reshape economic structures of oppression and exclusion

Which can unmask the identity of the “neutral” citizen

Which will show that his privilege is built upon the exploitation and discrimination of the marginalized

But how can the concept of intersectionality be more than just a buzzword?

More than a checklist of static identity categories

And instead something that is used to really take into account

The complex forms of discrimination

Shaped by history

And social structures

As a white middle class cisgendered woman

And a bearer of privilege,

I am trying to understand the ways i reproduce systems of oppression

So that i may be apart of deconstructing them

I am not humanity

I am not women

I am not objective

I am a standpoint in solidarity with,

and recognition of society's many unique and complex identities

 

In other words, I hope for solidarity.

I hope for understanding, gender starscapes and fluidity

I hope to bring compassion for the unknown

And recognition of the need to listen, I hope for humility.

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