Despite having a class discussion, reading multiple articles, and watching various YouTube videos on intersectionality, I still have a vague sense of the word. Before this class, I had never encountered the word. My lack of comprehension might speak to my identity and personal intersectionality. My most pronounced characteristics are my race, which is white, and my gender, female. Because this is what everyone sees, the biggest form of oppression I feel comes from my gender. I wonder if this is why the term is harder for me to fully understand.
This specific prompt, “talk about how you will use intersectionality in your work/practice”, at first glance struck me as odd. I had honestly not thought of the term, intersectionality, as being one to “use”. However, after a lot of consideration, I think I have come to a decision for my future use with this new word. In the following paragraphs, I will do my best to address the prompt at hand and attempt to explain how I will use intersectionality in the future.
According to Coleman, “intersectionality, [is] a concept that remains confusing to some despite steadily growing awareness of it” (2019).
To me, intersectionality is all about a person’s characteristics and identities. It is about the groups they consider themselves to be apart of and how those groups overlap. The overlap is the key to intersectionality. This overlapping of group identities can create more severe discrimination. This means that every individual person has a significant level of prejudice that is personally unique (Coleman, 2019).
Another interesting aspect I found, while research intersectionality, is its relationship and involvement in regard to feminism. I found a lot of articles that categorize intersectionality as being a feminist term and only revolving around women. Which, to me, seems odd. I understand that it originated because of women, but I don’t think it is only relevant to women. I think intersectionality covers any and all genders, as well as a plethora of other personal characteristics. It should not strictly be a female term.
After having many ideas, thoughts, and questions about intersectionality, I have come to a conclusion. I think the best way to use the term, intersectionality, is to be consciously aware of it. You can be aware of intersectionality not only in the workplace, but also everywhere else. It surrounds us on a daily basis.
For me personally, being consciously aware of intersectionality means to not categorize people in a single group because they are an individual first. I was aware of individuality prior to learning about intersectionality, but now I am even more aware of how it plays a role in everyone’s life. We are all so individually unique and experience life so differently because of it.
While I was watching YouTube videos on intersectionality, I stumbled upon this video that claimed intersectionality was a hoax. The person talking in the video believes that intersectionality groups us into categories of oppression instead of treating everyone as an individual. I think that is furthest from the truth. To me, intersectionality tries to look at everyone’s unique personal groups and, more specifically, their overlap. The link to the video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc7VUoytoU4 if you would like to watch it. I found it to be a very interesting perspective.
With my new found information, I think the best thing I can do in the future is to talk about what intersectionality is. I would be willing to guess there are a decent amount of people in the world who have never heard of intersectionality. In my future workplace, I hope to provide an opportunity for others to learn what intersectionality is and how it may affect teammates and coworkers. I will do my best to openly communicate my ideas and hopefully create a safe place for discussion that will broaden the minds of fellow employees. I will also make a conscious effort to avoid grouping people and listen to people when they feel discriminated against because of their intersectionality.
Thanks for reading.
Coleman, Arica L. “What Is Intersectionality? A Brief History of the Theory.” Time, Time, 29 Mar. 2019, https://time.com/5560575/intersectionality-theory/.