Yesterday, I participated in a reflection and action planning session hosted by the Richmond Peace Education Center, addressing the events in Charlottesville.
It was a very meaningful and empowering session. First, we meditated and we separated into groups of three to four, reflected on our fears, feelings, and what we can do to take care of ourselves and our community.
Afterwards we shared ideas about how we can take care of ourselves and maintain unity in the face of adversity, and one idea I shared was Intersectionality.
Intersectionality is a theory first coined in 1989, by scholar and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. It is a “an everyday metaphor that anyone can use” that describes how social inequality intersect. Hence, injustices like racism, sexism, ageism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia, aren’t merely separate issues. This concept is a great way of acknowledging our differences, validating our experiences, and becoming allies to those that hold a different, and more marginalized experience than we do.
Intersectionality is one way we can both take care of ourselves, and our communities. Some White feminists and Black activists often forget that race and gender are separate issues. Something they can do to be better allies is to talk about racism and homophobia, and sexism, because you can’t really fix a problem without talking about it.
The fight for equality will be uncomfortable and ignoring racism won’t make it go away. One way both Black activists and White feminists can show up for Black women, is to talk about misogynoir and help dismantle it in the media, and put Black people and women of different backgrounds at the forefront of our movements, including the Black LGBTQ+ Community.
If you look on Black Lives Matter’s Website, you’ll see that they affirm the lives of queer and trans Black women, and discuss the “Theft of Queer Black Women“, since they are often discredited for their contributions to feminism and civil rights. It’s also why we need more movies like “Moonlight“, which came out last year, and raises awareness about homophobia in the Black community.
Oftentimes, we forget that white supremacy targets not only POC, but is also ignited by misogyny, racism and homophobia. One thing I notice is how some Black activists protest against white supremacy, and turn around and condemn the Black LGBTQ+ community, when they’re also being targeted by White supremacy. That’s why I think some Black activists, and White feminists need to be more intersectional and show up for everyone in their communities. So I think intersectional feminism helps.
The Peace Center documented many thoughts and ideas (we wrote on sticky notes). on how to take care of ourselves and our communities