Structure and Intersectionality
Intersectionality is the theoretical term used to discuss the interlocking systems of oppression of gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ability, religion, and nationality that shape people’s experience and access to power (Sarasate, Shaw, Rellihan).
In M. Soledad Caballero’s Before Intersectionality (NEW), we are brought into the discussion of structure and intersectionality. The character grew up in a time where there were only two groups you could be in, black and white. As immigrants from a Spanish speaking country, they were neither. I think this brings up a good conversation on putting people into groups. There are so many different aspects that can affect someone’s life experience that they may never fit into a cookie cutter group. For example, if you separate people into groups of straight and LGBT, you group people together that have so many other factors that affect them. They are not going to have the same experience. Lower class people in the LGBT community are going to have a different experience than upper class members. Their race is also going to affect their experience. As a society we really need to think deeper about people as individuals instead of in groups because the different factors that could be affecting their lives is endless.
The second article I read for this week was Kimbrle Crenshaw’s Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color. This article was long and dense. If I tried to talk about the whole thing, I would lose track of my point and it would all just become gibberish. The part I wanted to focus on was the paragraph starting with “I observed the dynamics of structural intersectionality……and relatives for temporary shelter” (Crenshaw). This paragraph discusses how women of color are treated in when it comes to shelters and domestic violence. It talks about the need to have more consideration made when handling people of color in domestic violence situations because there are other factors that affect their ability to deal with the situation they are in. There are structural factors that inhibit their ability to escape DV, such as there being higher unemployment, poverty, and lack of job skills. These people were doomed before the DV even began. Their resources are limited and it may appear that they have no escape. Organizations, as well as the government, need to working on fixing these structural problems in order to give everyone a chance to access aid when they are in distress. For instance, the organization I volunteer at provides clothing, toiletries, and diapers to anyone who contacts us, as long as they are on some form of aid, such as food stamps. Our society has to get to a place where everyone is cared about and helped when they need some support.