Intersectionality has been silently prevalent for ages, but it took a self-starter like Kimberlé Crenshaw to throw light on the subject. The complex and cumulative effect of different forms of discrimination – ageism, racism, sexism, classism, ableism – all at play at the same time is both a shocking reality and a shameful malaise. Combining, overlapping and intersecting, these make for highly unacceptable and truly unfair yardsticks.
If it is oppressive enough to be targeted for one difference – then being subject to bigotry for several must surely be untenable. We can only imagine the exponential mental and often physical trauma caused by wandering unknowingly into the cross-hairs of many prejudicial pre-conceptions.
We all are the cumulative result of our magical personal intersections. We wear our ethnicity with pride, represent our gender with passion and embrace our individual traits with a sense of self. But we seldom stop to discover that multi-layered personality in others – and that fascinating medley of characteristics, that awesome confluence of positives totally escapes us.
Intersectionality is compounded by the interconnected nature of social categorisations – and the interdependent systems that lead to increased disadvantage. It happens when multiple threats occur simultaneously. Each facet cannot be treated in isolation of the rest – and together, it becomes a vicious attack on so many levels.
An inspiring idea, I think, would be to see how pioneers like Kimberlé Crenshaw have arrived at this theory and are addressing this issue…