Why an Intersectional Analysis is Essential
[A version of this content was originally presented at a Roots of Justice workshop at the Wild Goose Festival, June 2014.]
- Human identities are multifaceted and complex.
- We each have multiple aspects to our social locations, and each of these aspects can empower or disempower us.
- Power is complex and shifting, personal and structural.
- Holding multiple disempowered social location categories multiplies and reinforces the disempowerment.
- Identity descriptors can be imposed, in ways persons would not claim as their true identities, and those false identities can disempower.
- The experience of oppression is visited upon particular bodies in particular ways.
- Societal oppressions cause emotional, physical and spiritual harm, that is reinforced over generations. (E.g.: Black women have lower quality outcomes with breast cancer. Epigenetics illustrates damage to DNA inherited from people experiencing oppression. Gender variant and trans* people experience physical violence in disproportionate numbers.)
- Societal oppressions limit access to the goods of society, including housing, work, health care, community, lowering quality of life and life expectancy.
- Oppressions can intersect and solidify in social structures, becoming reinforced and exacerbated as they multiply. Harm accumulates with multiplication of disempowered social location characteristics.
- Liberation movements can and do perpetuate oppression and injustice (i.e. racist anti-sexism, heterosexist anti-racism, etc.)
- Single-axis analyses do not represent and cannot transform the lived reality of people who are multiply oppressed