Intersectionality and Justice

Alsultany’s piece, the Keywords reading, and Kimberlé Crenshaw’s Ted Talk illustrate and stress the importance of intersectionality in regards to achieving adequate representation and justice for those effected by the (often overlapping) effects of sexism and racism. The Keywords reading explains how universal categories often perpetuate exclusionary stereotypes that disregard a huge chunk of the people that are supposed to fit within that category. I think it is fairly clear that the majority of what we see in the media is consistent with these universal categories, which, of course, can lead to issues like symbolic annihilation, tokenism, and misrepresentation. These issues have a very real impact on how society understands and interprets people’s identities. For example, the commonality of the roles of terrorists in TV and film being played by someone who is easily identified as Arabic or Muslim perpetuates the unfair and inaccurate stereotyping of a giant, diverse population. In terms of how society deals with tragedies and violence against minority groups, I think Crenshaw explains it perfectly. She explains that without the proper framework to conceptualize facts or events, people seem to struggle to hold onto them. “Partial or distorted” frames do not allow us to see problems in their true light, which is exemplified in the court case of Emma DeGraffenreid. There are so many intertwined factors that impact a person’s identity, such as their gender, class, race, age, ability, education, and more. I think the media has the ability to impact society in a way that supports intersectionality and the broadening of “universal categories” if there is more proportionate representation of people, as well as diversity within those groups. As illustrated in the readings, progress has certainly been made towards that idea with the creation of media that feature members of the LGBTQ community in a positive and relatable light, but more must be done to combat the inherently racism and sexist tropes and archetypes that have become so normalized in the media and in society. I chose this picture because I felt it illustrated how complex intersectional identities are, and how important it is that we learn to understand the significance and impact of each “road” on a person’s identity and experience.