What is intersectionality?
The term intersectionality was brought to light by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who was a professor at Columbia University and UCLA. When looking up the term intersectionality the following definition comes up “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups” (Merriam-Webster). To add to the information learned from class I did a google search on intersectionality in the workplace, which brought me to a New York Times articles titled exactly that. In the article, it gives plenty of examples of intersectionality seen in multiple ways in our society. First example of this comes from Stacy Brown-Philpot, she stated that intersectionality crosses her mind all of the time. Whenever she has to give a talk or go on stage she thinks how she is a black woman, a black C.E.O, which is extremely hard and lonely all at the same time (Tugend). Overall, intersectionality is the building of multiple barriers to separate us from each other. I point out ways later in the post on ways that we can break down these barriers and actually find the ways we are interconnected.
How has intersectionality impacted me?
I grew up in south city Saint Louis, Missouri, which there itself is not a dangerous place, but the city of Saint Louis in general has not been one of the safest places to live in recent years. So, growing up my dad instilled intersectionality into me with purposely doing so, but still affects me today. My dad put the image in my head that young African American males walking around in our neighborhood were hoodlums and that I should be safe. It is seen all over our society that people cross the street if some “hoodlums” are on the same side of the street. Intersectionality has impacted me and my life in many ways that I do not even know yet because it can be seen almost anywhere you look in our society.
I am currently enrolled in a professional development class, as well, and we had a presentation on critically thinking a couple weeks ago. During this presentation, my professor taught us some of the valuable intellectual traits, but looking back at them if you take out intellectual from the phrase then you are left with traits that are valuable in life. These traits that I will list further along, I believe they could be used in future considerations for intersectionality. The traits are the following: “faith in reason, honesty, fair-mindedness, humility, perseverance, courage, good listening, perspective-taking, empathy and practical wisdom (Finding balance)” (Dr. Jim Knight). If all humans beings used these traits and incorporated them into their thinking then we would have a lot less hate in the world and probably have a lot more accomplished as a species. By appling these traits to our personal lives, just imagine how everyone would treat each other. If we consider multiple perspectives with the courage to make the correct choices and the perseverance to stay with our choices this would be the first step to break down some of the barriers we use to separate ourselves. Furthermore, being fair-minded while listening to your peers/elders, at the same time showing empathy for those same peers allows us to make more connections, while showing respect for each other. Finally, being honest with ourselves/others while keeping our faith in reason, we will realize that we are not different from each other. We get this realization when we spotlight the true factors that make a human being instead of the superficial traits that society places on us.
Tugend, Alina. “The Effect of Intersectionality in the Workplace.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Sept. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/30/us/the-effect-of-intersectionality-in-the-workplace.html.
Critical thinking PowerPoint from Dr. Jim Knight