We are all functions of the system that we live in; a system that has taught us how to think about ourselves and others, how to interact with others, and how to understand what is expected of us. These thought processes and expectations are based on the specific set of social identities we were born into that predispose us to unequal roles that allow us to access (or deny access) to resources. 

The information here provides a basic overview of important considerations related to Intersectionality It is crucial that you continue expanding upon this knowledge and look further into the concepts presented that you are unfamiliar with and/or are curious about. 

In addition to the resources provided below, you can also review additional terminology interconnected with Intersectionality here.

Understanding Intersectionality

Intersectionality refers to the interplay of one’s identities, the status of those identities, and the situational context of how, when, and where those identities show up and influence personal experience(s) within multiple dimensions of societal oppression. 

"Without frames that allow us to see how social problems impact all members of a targeted group, many will fall through the cracks of our movements." 

This talk was presented at an official TED conference.

How has intersectionality been appropriated over the years?

It is important to understand that intersectionality has become appropriated over the past few years since Kimberlé Crenshaw first debuted the concept. When the term was coined, race was the focal point; intersectionality was used to depict Kimberlé's experience as a Black woman in her field. 

When we say it has been appropriated, we are referring to the fact that when this term first came out, folks (mainly white folks) felt excluded because there was nothing to name their experiences of oppression with other marginalized identities outside of race. Consequently, when we use the term now, race is rarely mentioned and instead people argue that there are other marginalized identities to consider; thus deviating from the historical purpose and ignoring race altogether.

While considering other identities is important to name one's experience, by excluding a racial component, you ignore a critical piece of understanding; you cannot understand your holistic experience without acknowledging how your race shapes and influences the barriers you will face when your other identities intersect.



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Credit: Sara D. Anderson, Karissa Stolen, and Paulina Venzor, 2020, Office of Equity at the University of Colorado Denver and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus