All of us know that if a person is Black or Gay or disable or belongs to another social group, which is often discriminated, it means that their life is way harder than the life of a white straight man, for example. Such people, who I mentioned before face discrimination/misrecognition every single day. Nevertheless, what happens if the person is, for instance, Asian Trans disabled? Which type of oppression does he cope with? The answer is: this person struggles with multiple kinds of discriminations, which is called ‘intersectionality’. People who face different types of oppression struggle enormously and everyone must be aware of such terms as ‘intersectionality’ and ‘politics of recognition’. In my essay I would like to discover which inequality problems intersectional people are dealing with.
To illustrate which struggles people with different social identities can face, I would like to first consider cases that happen to Black, Gay comedians. Being successful in business of making people laugh is possible only if person is liked and recognized by the audience. Do people understand and like your jokes? Will the jokes make the crowd laugh? These are questions that are being asked by all comics. But what if your own identity becomes a problem to achieve success in career? For two Black, LGBTQ stand-up performers – Sampson McCormick and Tammy Peay – their intersectional identities introduce a lot of struggles.
“I had to show up so well as a person, so people would want to see me. I’m a Black man first, but as a gay man, others will say, ‘People don’t want to see that.” Probably, such situations happen for the reason that people are ready to comprehend only one McComick’s identity – as a Black man. Society is focused only on one problem, but not multiple. “I’m not a shady person,” McCormick says, “I’m not apt to throw shade, but sometimes our community throws shade at us.” Echoing McCormick’s sentiment is Tammy Peau, a popular comedian and New York-based LGBTQ advocate. While performing, Peay reaches out to mainstream in much what she does. It is obvious, that LGBT jokes may not be recognized and liked by all people. Their intersectionality offers McCormick and Peay a unique perspective, but sometimes balancing identity and appeal is a razor-sharp tightrope walk. Support for these performers is not always easy to get through even within the LGBTQ community, and both artists acknowledged that this is part of the bigger issue. “At Pride celebrations, when it comes time to book talent,” Peay lamented, “they will find a coked-out disco queen right out of rehab before they’ll sign up a Black, LGBT comedian.’ It makes the job of both comedians even harder.
Let’s examine another case of oppression that took place at Dyke March in 2017 in Chicago. Three women carrying Jewish pride flags — rainbow flags embossed with a David Star — were kicked out of the celebration at a lesbian march in Chicago because, as one of the march organizers said, their flags were a ‘trigger.’ It means that celebration of these women’s whole identities was forbidden. One of the women kicked out of the march, Eleanor Shoshany Anderson said she had attended Dyke March for four years, and she attended the event this year with a Jewish Pride Flag because ‘I really wanted to just be Jewish and gay in public and celebrate that.’ Consequently, march that supposed to be intersectional, prohibited celebration for Jewish women, who wanted to glorify their both sexual and racial identities. This situation illustrates exactly when it is necessary to understand intersectionality. Why that women were allowed to celebrate only half of their identity? Who decides which part of personality is better or worse? That questions don’t have any particular answers.
Accordingly, people in both of the situations described above have been forced to choose their one, ‘better’ identity and hide another. Intersectionality wants to solve problems like this. Regrettably, experience shows that it is extremely demanding to cope with such ‘ double discrimination ‘ due to the fact that society is not ready to understand struggles of people who face not only one kind of oppression.
Following the first part of the essay, I would like to examine which other struggles people with various identities face. As an example, I will look into the treatment of marginalized students in American schools, based on three types of identities, such as class, sex, race and gender identity. Discrimination due to class and race occurs when students of color in schools are less likely to receive coursework that is targeted to grade-appropriate standards, reflects higher-level cognitive demand, and is meaningfully engaging and relevant. To talk concerning student’s sex and race: a study conducted by Crenshaw, Ocen, and Nanda (2015) examining the experiences of ladies in class found that 2 p.c of White ladies were subjected to exclusionary suspensions compared to twelve p.c of Black girls. The study showed that teachers often encourage Black ladies to adopt a lot of “acceptable” qualities of muliebrity, typically associated with appearance and demeanor—standards that seem to mirror a White, conservative plan of feminitity. Further, students of color who identify as LGBTQ+ experienced bullying more frequently, comparing to White LGBTQ students, based on their race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. (GLSEN, 2015).
All of the shown examples make it clear that living with various types of social inequality is exceedingly arduous. What society can do with this? The main and significant thing is to esteem and accept other people’s identities, stop judging people for their gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, etc. and realize that each of us have a spectrum of social and political identities. For this reason, this is highly significant to be aware of what ‘intersectionality’ is. As Anntaninna Biondo, a visual journalist said “We give too many platforms to hate groups, and that takes away opportunities to hear the voices of young black girls. Or a transgender man or woman’s voice. Or someone who is non-binary. It’s easy to “other” marginalized groups of people. Grouping together all of these individuals only to largely ignore them belittles their unique lives. That’s why we have intersectionality. It adds context, nuance, and complexity, and calls attention to the gaps in law and society. It doesn’t, however, mean it’s so complex that we can’t change, understand and empathize.”