DAY 2: Intersectionality

“Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.” – Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, lawyer and civil rights advocate
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, intersectionality is 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.
Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher and a leading scholar of critical race theory, introduced the theory of intersectionality in 1989. She used the theory to conceptualize and explain the oppression of African-American women through the compounded discrimination experienced as a group belonging to two marginalized communities – African Americans and women.

Each of us has traits of our identities that inform the formation of our experience. Social identities based on groups such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, nationality, religion and class are some of the aspects that impact a person’s life. 

Intersectionality takes into account the impact of our overlapping and intersecting social identities and acknowledges the compounding nature of oppression that occurs when an individual or group experiences multiple marginalized social identities. For instance, intersectionality brings to light the differences in experience between white women and women of color and challenges us to examine these differences as the result of systematic oppression. 

The framework of intersectionality is critical to social justice work and the fostering of an equitable society. By applying an intersectionality lens, we are able to broaden our perspectives, acknowledge experiences outside our own and recognize that our individual points of view are impacted by our social identities.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…


Read Why Intersectionality Matters More in 2020 to learn why addressing race and gender in the workplace is not enough, you must also address intersectionality.


Watch this TED Talk featuring Kimberlé Crenshaw, where she discusses intersectionality and violence against black women.
Watch this three-minute video that defines intersectionality and provides an example of how intersectionality impacts individuals differently.


Listen to this podcast on how COVID-19 is revealing intersectional vulnerabilities and gaps in our systems.


Have a conversation with someone about intersectionality and discuss how you can be more aware of what you say about others.


Take part in this week's service activity: Black Authors Children’s Book Drive

Encourage literacy in our community’s youngest members by collecting and donating new children’s books by Black authors. These books will be distributed to children in need by our distribution partners. Learn more and give back.


Capture what you learned by journaling your thoughts and feelings about today's content. Click below to download a journal page for today.
If you are participating in the Challenge as part of a group, download this free guide to help facilitate discussion.

NEXT TOPIC: Levels of Racism  

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