A snapshot of a woman whose work and activism
has done so much to help us build a more equal future
Photo: Felix Clay
“Intersectionality” is a buzzword you’ve probably heard a lot lately, and if you’ve been curious about what it means or how it’s used, we’re here to point you in the right direction.
Meet Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, the American lawyer, writer, philosopher, civil rights advocate and UCLA professor, who coined the term in 1989. She introduced intersectionality in an article for the University of Chicago Legal Forum as a tool to help folks understand the diverse, and sometimes complicated, ways in which the many identities we all have.
Intersectionality is a prism, a framework, a template for seeing and telling different kinds of stories about what happens in our workplaces, what happens in society – and to whom it happens. – Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw –
According to Dr. Crenshaw, it’s a way to keep people from “falling through the cracks” of our sometimes too-narrow understandings of their stories. As she explains here, intersectionality can be used as a tool to reveal specific vulnerabilities and political exclusion. This means it’s not just descriptive; it’s prescriptive, so it can help us be better allies to one another – which is something we all need right now.
Building out from this, Dr. Crenshaw identified a disparity between how what the public knew about Black men who had been killed by police, as compared with Black women – which is to say, almost nothing. In response, she helped to start the #SayHerName movement, which amplifies the stories of these often overlooked or forgotten Black women, and seeks to bring justice to their cases.
We’re forever fans of Dr. Crenshaw for her major, major contributions to feminist theory, social discourse, and racial justice. No choice but to stan <3