22 March, 2011

something just hit me!

privileged identities also interact with marginalized identities.

(gay is an example.)

we often describe ourselves by our marginalized identities because of course those are the ones we've been forced to think about. but white + gay is an experience. when people say, "don't talk about the gay experience as if everyone who's gay is white," what I think this should mean is that instead of saying gay when we mean white + gay, when we say gay we should mean a very specific isolated factor, and when we mean x + gay we say x + gay, and we are aware that there are so many "____ + gay" experiences and we try to talk about ours and not get in the way of other people talking about theirs.

I'm trying to articulate what bothers me about a particular way the term "intersectionality" is sometimes used, and I think what I want to say is that people sort of start using gay to mean "marginalized identity + gay," which, while obviously less harmful because it doesn't have the same oppression behind it as saying gay and meaning "white + gay," is also inaccurate and gets in the way of talking about The Whole Thing. I also think that people can kind of get on this track where it's like, being gay only counts as a marginalized identity if you have it with another marginalized identity. You have to have more than one to have any.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm saying it about a lot of people because the post I'm making is basically about how much I love intersectionality. But I do think sometimes the word is used to mean something that actually makes things worse--and I think of intersectionality as this math that explains everything, but this misuse of intersectionality runs the numbers together and wastes the clarity of the idea.

1 comment:

  1. Yes.

    And I found a graphical representation, just replace the x's and y's: