Intersectional Equity: A Blog on the Intersection of Theory Meets Real World

A Blog by Amy Meglio, MFA

Etymological Origins of Intersectionality

Professor of law at Colombia University and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Kimberlé Crenshaw first created the word Intersectionality in 1989.

Crenshaw explained how when it comes to oppression and marginalization, race, class, gender, and other personal characteristics all overlap, meaning no one cause or category can truly signify or explain any one individuals oppressed experience.

As a civil rights scholar and activist in addition to her professional Law and Education career, the origin of the term Intersectionality is credited to the Black Feminist Movement of which Crenshaw was a part- a movement that largely contributed to the origins of Critical Race Theory as well.

Due to the incredibly academic nature of the term and movements, many failed to understand the term Intersectionality or Critical Race Theory for that matter until at least the later 2000s.

Intersectionality Reintroduced at the Scholastic Level

Re-explained in the simplest of of terms in 2019, it was written that “intersectionality is the acknowledgement that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression and we must consider everything and anything that can marginalize people – gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.”

Sociological Definition

Sociologists use the term Intersectional or Intersectionality to refer the the fact that any and all individuals face multiple types of “overlapping discrimination depending on race, gender, age, ethnicity, physical ability, class or any other characteristic…”

What does this mean to Intersectional Equity Maricopa Inc d/b/a/ Intersects?

It means that with regards to equity, equality, and freedom from oppression, nobody can be free until all “categories” are free.

Why? Because all experiences (or marginalized identity parts) overlap – we cannot free women by ending all issues of women’s rights so long as Black or Brown or Indigenous rights are still oppressed.

We cannot free Black women until sexual orientation marginalization still exists.

Why? Because the Trans Black Woman, or the Gay Black Man or any variation of identities as such will still be oppressed, marginalized, have inequitable access to society and to resources –

Only once we are ALL free can anyone be free.

Only once we ALL achieve equitable access can we have achieved social equity.