Theoretical Framework of Intersectionality
I will try to explain intersectionality. First of all you need to know what intersectionality is. Intersectionality is a theoretical framework which explains violence or discrimination against humans. Now I will give you an example and then try to connect it to intersectionality. I will use an example of spider web to explain this theory. This example will give you some idea about intersectionality. Think about a spider web. A Point in the centre and all threads connected to each other. If we remove one thread from the spider web, it will fall apart. Now consider yourself.
You have some identities and these identities are connected just like spider web and we cannot remove any identity from you. If we remove any identity from you, then you will not be the same person. Age, religion, color, race, gender, language and so many others are all identities of a person. Keep in mind that some of these identities don’t stay constant for example age. Age changes with the time and create some advantages and disadvantages. Everybody has a different set of identities and the set of these identities can be used against you. The combination of these identities can create problems, inequality and discrimination.
We try to analyze, what kind combination of identities can create what kind of problems with the help of intersectionality. For example if you are a young black women then you might have faced discrimination in different way than an old black women. You will not be treated the same way as some other lady with different set of identities. Age, religion, color, race, gender, language, social class and national divisions create a spider web of inequality. From this spider web anything can be used against you for the basis of discrimination. One can be discriminated in different ways and in various contexts.
Now I can say that “Intersectionality provide us a lens which is able to look at the ways of discrimination in various contexts and Intersectionality theory also provide us a great tool to create a mechanisms which protect different group of people from different type of discriminations. I liked one definition of intersectionality which I would like to put here. “Intersectionality seeks to provide a tool for analyzing the ways in which gender, race, class and all other forms of identity and distinction, in different contexts, produce situations in which women and men become vulnerable to abuse and discrimination. (1). When we try to study how the intersection of race, gender, social class, effects humans and how are they connected then it means we are using intersectionality theory. For example what are the problems of white, young, female and what are the problems of black, young female. What will happen if we remove young from the equation and replace it with old? Inequality of gender is clearly defined but inequality of same sex is complicated. If we want to know the problems of women and man then we might just find some sex related issues. But when we talk about just men or women then it’s a different story.
I heard that all men are created equal but people use different lens to see it. For example, some time man is called black man or white man, Muslim man or Christian man. They are all men but their gender intersects with other identities and makes them different from one another. When somebody is discriminated on the basis of color, we know this exist. Intersectionality tells us about other kind of discrimination. For example black man with different religion. It means same gender, same color, same language but different religion. You can consider me as an example. I am a Muslim, married man.
My religion, intersect with gender and race and create different equation. I face different problems than any other man. Combination of my identities, are different than others. At the airports, I am treated very differently than other male passengers. Most of the time when I meet someone first time they ask me “where are you from” when I say “Charlotte” Then they ask again “oh where are you originally from”. Sometimes I tell them and sometimes I don’t. When I tell them about my country of origin, they automatically know about my religion. Then I become vulnerable to abuse.