Your Very Intellectual Guide on Spotting That Elusive ‘Intersectionality’

 

Do you work at a non-profit in a bad neighborhood? Do you teach kids in inner city schools? Did you just come back from a six-month trip to Kenya, Indonesia, or Bolivia and it changed your life?

If so, then this guide is for you!

Since coming back from your journey, you might have noticed that your friends, your colleagues at work, or the neighbors you didn’t expect to see in your gentrified apartment complex but who seem nice (for brown people, anyway), keep using a word you might not be familiar with: intersectionality.

Picture this:

You’re at brunch with your closest friends and suddenly they bring up a very thought provoking piece from an online clickbait magazine. You keep hearing this word, “intersectionality”, but you just don’t know what it means!

You surreptitiously try to look it up on your phone while your friends discuss over chia seed and algae mimosas, but your phone dictionary doesn’t even recognize it! You try to remember which Africana Studies class you might have heard this in. But you change your mind because it doesn’t even matter since you speak Kenyan now. You can’t be a racist!

Suddenly in the middle of reminiscing about your savior exploits in the Global South, your friends ask,

“Do you think this piece on racialized misogyny is fully intersectional?”

And you think, “Oh shit!”

This is the moment you’ve been dreading since you graduated with a BA in Anthropological Asian Sociology Studies with $40,000 of debt that your parents reluctantly pay for. You feel sweat dripping from your brow and you think you can actually hear your Apple Watch ticking. You need to come up with an answer fast because you’re an intellectual, damn it! And obviously, intellectuals can’t ever admit to being uninformed. Well lucky for you, you don’t have to worry any longer! We’ve created this guide to help illustrate just exactly what intersectionality is.

Let’s begin with a very simple example.

This:

This is an obvious example of intersectionality. You can clearly see that there are intersections going on. The roads intersect at a certain point, the cars intersect with each other, and even the people seem to intersect! It couldn’t get more simple than this picture with its many elements of crossing paths!

However sometimes, intersectionality isn’t so obvious or visible. Sometimes, you have to look for signs:

Like this one, which is also clearly intersectional. Not only does the sign itself intersect, the word on the sign actually says, “crossing”! 

Other helpful signs that point out intersectionality include:

This one. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity! Sometimes, the ways in which intersectionality appear can be so subtle, but also be very recognizable like this stoplight. This stoplight often indicates an intersection much like we saw in the first example in this post.

But wait there’s more!

In this guide, we don’t just leave you with the very basics. We go in-depth in exploring intersectionality. We go so in-depth, we’ll even tell you what intersectionality is not!

 

This is not an intersection, because even though it has cars and lights and buildings like our first example, there are no intersections. While sometimes something might feel like intersectionality at first glance, a careful and critical analysis will show that it is not. The roads don’t intersect, the cars don’t intersect, and the buildings don’t intersect. This is not intersectionality because everything is parallel.

 

This sign is also not intersectionality, because the arrows are pointing away from each other. Although there are two different arrowheads, they do not intersect and influence each other. Instead they go in their own separate directions. So while this might seem like intersectionality, and even have what appear to be elements of intersectionality, it really is not because it’s missing several key pieces.

Finally,

This picture is clearly not intersectionality. There are no intersections at all in this picture as it shows two women of color standing parallel to each other. 

And there you have it! With this clever and easy system, you can now tell intersectionality is and what it is not.

Thanks to our incredible system, right under your Kenyan language qualifications, you can now list a genuine knowledge of the term ‘intersectionality’ as well. When you get back to your office you can show off not only your pictures with the underprivileged but also your new intersectionality skills! Your name might even come up for the prestigious Good Ally of the Year Award. Get our guide now and we’ll even ensure that you’ll be put on the fast track to promotion over your more qualified peers of marginalized identities. Guaranteed! For a lifetime!

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