Developing White Racial Literacy – Revised Edition
Chapter 11: Intersecting Identities—An Example of Class
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INTERSECTING IDENTITIES—AN EXAMPLE OF CLASS
The true focus of revolutionary change is never the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within us.
Intersectionality is the term scholars use to acknowledge the reality that we simultaneously occupy multiple groups—both oppressed and privileged positions—and that these positions intersect in complex ways (Crenshaw, 1991). It is a very rare individual who is in dominant groups in every aspect of social life. For example, poor whites, while oppressed through classism, are also elevated by race privilege, so that to be poor and Asian, for example, is not the same experience as being poor and white. Further, because of sexism, to be a poor white female will create barriers that a poor white male will not face due to gender privilege. However, while the poor white female will have to deal with sexism and classism, she will not have to deal with the racism that a poor Latina female will face. Thus, while all women experience sexism, they experience it differently based on its interaction with their other social group identities. Facing oppression in one area of social life does not “cancel out” your privilege in another; these identities will be more or less salient in different situations. The challenge is to identify how our identities play out ← 215 | 216 → in shifting social contexts. In this chapter,...
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