Edward Mendoza – Response to “The Urgency of Intersectionality” by Kimberlé Crenshaw

The video “The Urgency of Intersectionality” by Kimberlé Crenshaw talks about the phenomenon when someone is caught in the middle of multiple types of discrimination. She talks about the effects and the lack of justice that befalls those who find themselves in the middle of these issues. She says that this is a big problem and that this could have massive side effects. The first exercise that she does in the beginning, in my opinion, has a big impact on the viewer, as it helps to demonstrate just how extreme the effects of this phenomenon are. The exercise consists of people standing up and sitting back down when the name of the person is unknown to them. She starts out by naming the male victims of police brutality. After that, most of the crowd is still standing and then she moves on to the female victims and when she finishes, all but 4 people are still standing. When I saw this it made me realize what a huge problem this was, as I couldn’t name them either.
Next, she talks about why this issue is relevant and what causes this. She argues that the reason this type of phenomenon happens is because there lacks a frame of reference for these types of cases as they are prone to getting dismissed and forgotten. For this, she points to an example of this phenomenon when someone she knew didn’t get hired and that woman blamed it on race. However, the judge dismissed it because the company both employed women and black people and that based on this, she had no basis for the case. Furthermore, Crenshaw argues that while the company did hire black people and women, that the women that were hired were usually white and the black people that were usually hired were males and that the combination of these discriminations were very powerful in that decision.

Comment ( 1 )

  1. Kayla Cason
    To me as well, Crenshaw’s first exercise was the most impactful. The idea that only 4 people out of an audience of possibly hundreds knew the names of these women who were victims of police violence is impeccable. It is a shame to see that the majority of people did not recognize the names and faces of black women who deserve just as much justice and recognition as their male counterparts. I also think this is a huge problem because there are many organizations created to prevent black men from facing prejudice from the police yet none to help black women. These programs develop because of the common misconception that black men are the only ones who face brutality from law enforcement. However, as seen in Crenshaw’s slideshow, many black women are faced with the same issue.

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