intersectionality

I found Kimberlé Crenshaw TED talk titled “The urgency of intersectionality” (https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberle_crenshaw_the_urgency_of_intersectionality/up-next?language=en) extremely moving. I think this was a really good example of bringing attention to the subject matter and how people’s different identities can effect them. It really highlights the fact that different identities can have compounding effects. The only thing I would be curious to know about is the prevalence the media had on the effects of recognition of injustice. Not that I am tying to minimalise the amazing TED talk I just watched, but the reason we know about the black men who were killed by police is because the media focused on it. Which I would think is a function of the number of people in the community that saw this unjustice and rallied around it, again this is my speculation feel free to correct me. I would think that if Kimberlé looked at the  number of instances and where the instances occurred it would give so much more substance to the argument she is trying to make. I know that makes me seem heartless but I think giving this more framing would only help her argument.  The fact that black people are being killed systemically is awful but the fact the are women makes it worse. Not to sound antiquated but I think the fact them men (in generally larger and stronger) are using excessive force on these women is disgusting. All that being said I definitely think that intersectionality is a real problem. As Kimberlé said it is a problem with framing if you don’t see thing though the lenses of compounding identities you would just look at these issues separately. I honestly think the best way to eradicate this problem of intersectionality is eduction/informing the public about what happens to the marginalized of our society. Honestly, I never would have though about this issue if I did not attend this class. Here are some ways I plan on applying intersectionality in my future work:

  • I hope in the future I/we(as a society) can get our departments to take part in a diversity course like this one. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  • When interacting with people I will make a conscious effort to understand where they are coming from. More or less approach try and approach as an unbiased outsider.
  • I would be curious if we could come up with a way to remove gender/race from the hiring process (at least up until the interviews). Maybe this could be applied to homework and tests in a class. I remember from a conversation in the Future Professoriate Class I took here at Tech about one of the other female classmates telling us how she only used to put her first initial on homework due to concerns on unfair grading. I never would have imagined of doing something like this, and the fact someone does have to think about this kind of thing is unacceptable.
  • I’m not sure how applicable or how I would work this into an engineering curriculum (suggestions are welcome) but try and expose my students to intersectionality. Here maybe we make a systemic change where we require a course about diversity here at Tech. Again here you, for the most part, only know about your own experiences and not that of others. If we don’t expose ourselves to different ideas/perspectives we will never understand a different set of ideals.

I am excited to read what other people have suggested as ways to incorporate intersectional into our lives/work. Suggestions and comments are more than welcome! I look forward to speaking with everyone about this on Tuesday!

–Sam

3 thoughts on “intersectionality”

  1. Thank you Sam for your honest discourse on the topic. I do think framing is very important to convey the message and provide more context for better understanding. The media does have a significant influence on how we perceive situations and we have to view news with a grain of salt. However, I believe Kimberlé was generally speaking from a place where she sees systemic injustices perpetuating due to a person’s known identities. Maybe the use or kind of force used is excessive in these particular situations. I appreciate your examples for applying intersectionality in the workplace and I most definitely agree with you that more awareness and education around the topic is critical.

  2. Sam, your thoughts are quite interesting and I love your ideas for implementing intersectionality in the workplace. I also think that department faculty/staff should also be involved in the diversity course. As students, we are supposed to learn from our professors and “higher-ups” (I do believe there are times when they can learn from us), so if the professors have a great idea of what diversity includes and how to start the conversation, I think it would be a lot easier for the younger generations to also accept these ideas as fact. For your last bullet point, maybe in the first lecture, use the first few slides to introduce the basic ideas that we have learned in this class and establish your devotion to maintaining an inclusive environment as the semester progresses. Just a thought. I know I would appreciate a professor that dedicated even just 5 minutes of their lecture time to ensuring that everyone in the class is welcome to be there and that they will be respected, no matter their identity or background.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.