Intersectionality is NOT Fucking Divisive

English: Rally for social justice, Beersheba, ...

English: Rally for social justice, Beersheba, Aug 13 2001 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been hearing over and over again lately, on the news, on social media, on blogs that we should stop calling out privilege because it harms ‘the movement’ whether that be the women’s, the left, or the LGBT movement. Yeah well fuck that noise. A movement of any kind that does not look at who is privileged, and how is a movement that places some people’s rights and concerns above others. A movement that seeks to position an intersectional approach as divisive is a movement that is exclusionary. A movement that cannot be self critical and self reflective is not a movement that I want any part of. If you are interested in social justice then you should be interested in social justice for all people, not just a privileged few, and if you aren’t, well I don’t think you care about social justice.

I can be privileged and oppressed at the same time. Without understanding how this operates and how different people experience different types of oppression it is possible and in fact all to common for many so called liberation movements to actively oppress marginalised people with intersecting identities. A united movement is not a strong one if that unity comes at the cost of erasing the voices, concerns and experiences of those who are marginalised with in it. In fact, I don’t think meaningful unity is possible if your way of creating it is to tell people who are engaging in internal criticism to sit down and shut up.

A key component of intersectionality is that it forces us to look at the process by which oppression happens, not just what it looks like. Looking at the process of oppression actually tends to provide a picture which shows us that most, if not all oppressions are connected. For example, the othering of marginalised individuals is something that occurs across almost all oppressions even though it is expressed in different ways. As a result intersectionality forces to step away from thinking about movements as being discrete entities. If all oppressions are connected then so to are all movements, and by looking at social justice this way we can ensure that the most marginalised do not fall through the cracks. We need to stop looking at social issues in isolation, and we need to stop acting as though only some people matter when it comes to social justice.

Engaging in internal critique makes movements more robust. It helps to ensure that our discourse is nuanced and inclusive. This sort of critique does not endanger a movement. it improves it. Movements do not and should not need to be echo chambers in order to be successful. If you want to have unity, it needs to be genuine unity. It needs to be based on centering the voices of those who are most marginalised within our communities and movements and seeing how we can do better, how those concerns can be addressed. Unity is meaningless if it does not come from a place of inclusion. Stop asking some people to wait for their rights, because yours are more important. It is not OK.

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One thought on “Intersectionality is NOT Fucking Divisive

  1. Pingback: Down Under Feminists’ Carnival LXVII | Kiwiana (inked)

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