Intersectionality 101: Understanding Your Privilege And Oppression

Intersectionality 101: Understanding Your Privilege And Oppression

Explaining the misunderstood concept of intersectionality
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For many people, the word "privilege" can be triggering for them, and even this sentence is probably triggering people as they read. But what is privilege? That's where the issue lies because many people not only don't realize their privilege, but sometimes, people don't realize their oppression either. This is where intersectionality comes into play.

Intersectionality is the intersecting systems of privilege and oppression. Privilege is when someone doesn't have to face an institutionalized form of oppression, and oppression is when they do have to face it. Just because one person has one form of privilege doesn't mean they only have privilege. So what are these intersecting systems?

People can be oppressed and privileged in many different ways. Most commonly, you hear about gender, sexual orientation, race. This is where the tension comes into play because these are the most common systems you hear about. A straight, white cisgender male has straight privilege, white privilege, cis privilege and male privilege. However, often from my own experience, I will see these straight, white cisgender men get offended at being called privilege. That's a little ironic, because if being called privilege is insulting to you, then you probably are privileged considering there's a whole vocabulary out there just to degrade marginalized people.

Nonetheless, a straight, white cisgender man is not just privileged. There are other systems out there. Maybe he comes from a lower socio-economic status. He's oppressed for that. Maybe he isn't of Christian faith. He's oppressed for that. Maybe he suffers from a physical disability, has a mental health problem. He's oppressed for that too. If he's not conventionally attractive, he can even be oppressed for that. So, to straight, white cisgender men -- don't get offended; you are privileged in those areas. You are probably oppressed in another way, but be glad that you aren't oppressed in more ways.

Race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, physical and mental ability, religion, language, age, physical attractiveness, occupation, education are just some of the categories of intersectionality.

Privileged people -- don't apologize. Nobody is blaming you. It would be hypocritical to judge someone who is privileged because the majority of the time someone can't help but have their privilege. That's not what this is. This is about understanding your privilege, and realizing that there are certain institutionalized forms of oppression that you don't face, but one important thing is to remember that all oppression is connected.

So, don't feel guilty for having privilege. If you're blind to your privilege then that's where the problem starts. Just because you have some forms of privilege doesn't mean you've never worked hard for things in life and nobody is blaming you. It's not about you as individuals, it's about the systematic institutions of oppression.

People deserve to have the same chances and opportunities in life if they want them. It's as simple as that. So understanding your privilege and oppression is just one simple way to help.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel the Feminist

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37 Things Growing Up in the South Taught You

Where the tea is sweet, but the people are sweeter.
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1. The art of small talking.
2. The importance of calling your momma.
3. The beauty of sweet tea.
4. How to use the term “ma'am” or “sir” (that is, use it as much as possible).
5. Real flowers are way better than fake flowers.
6. Sometimes you only have two seasons instead of four.
7. Fried chicken is the best kind of chicken.
8. When it comes to food, always go for seconds.
9. It is better to overdress for Church than underdress.
10. Word travels fast.
11. Lake days are better than beach days.
12. Handwritten letters never go out of style.
13. If a man doesn’t open the door for you on the first date, dump him.
14. If a man won’t meet your family after four dates, dump him.
15. If your family doesn’t like your boyfriend, dump him.
16. Your occupation doesn’t matter as long as you're happy.
17. But you should always make sure you can support your family.
18. Rocking chairs are by far the best kind of chairs.
19. Cracker Barrel is more than a restaurant, it's a lifestyle.
20. Just 'cause you are from Florida and it is in the south does not make you Southern.
21. High School football is a big deal.
22. If you have a hair dresser for more than three years, never change. Trust her and only her.
23. The kids in your Sunday school class in third grade are also in your graduating class.
24. Makeup doesn’t work in the summer.
25. Laying out is a hobby.
26. Moms get more into high school drama than high schoolers.
27. Sororities are a family affair.
28. You never know how many adults you know 'til its time to get recommendation letters for rush.
29. SEC is the best, no question.
30. You can't go wrong buying a girl Kendra Scotts.
31. People will refer to you by your last name.
32. Biscuits and gravy are bae.
33. Sadie Robertson is a role model.
34. If it is game day you should be dressed nice.
35. If you pass by a child's lemonade stand you better buy lemonade from her. You're supporting capitalism.
36. You are never too old to go home for just a weekend… or just a meal.
37. You can’t imagine living anywhere but the South.



































Cover Image Credit: Grace Valentine

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8 things that can easily offend a black girl

This also applies to many minorities.

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I surveyed different black girls from various backgrounds and here are their responses!

1. "Is that your hair?"

Please NEVER ask a black girl this unless you wear hair extensions or you happen to be GOOD friends. If you dare to be so bold, you may be cursed out or slapped! Fair warning!

2. "Can I touch you hair?"

Just how dumb it looks!

Solange and Beyonce have said it ENOUGH! I think it's safe to say that hair is OFF LIMITS, unless you're a lady of color or wear extensions. FYI women of color are NOT your personal petting zoo! So do NOT ask to touch our hair. It's very degrading and this could also lead to being SLAPPED!

3. "What are you mixed with?"

For those of you who don't know, women of color come in MANY different shades. Just because a girl has a lighter complexion doesn't mean that she isn't fully black. This also means that just because a black girl has fine textured hair, light colored eyes, or common euro-centric features doesn't mean she is not fully black!

4. "You're pretty for a black girl."

Did this bitch just say that?

If this sentence, or any variation of this sentence has ever left your lips, please PUNCH yourself! Although, the intention is meant to be a compliment, it is also a way to say that most black girls aren't beautiful! Such a statement would reiterate a stereotype that it is uncommon for black women to be beautiful.

5. "You are very articulate." ( Often said with such SHOCK)

DUHHHHHH

​YES, black girls do attend school. It is actually required by law, and although our culture partakes in ebonics and slang, we are also very well aware of how to speak proper english. This is also a great time to point out that proper english does NOT BELONG TO WHITE PEOPLE. Minorities can speak english too!

6. "I have a black friend."

For some odd reason, people tend to blurt this particular statement out when surrounded by women of color. I would like to first say just because this comment is said or is true, doesn't mean you're not prejudice. I believe such statements are meant to make us feel more comfortable, but they actually do the opposite. In fact, this statement would only be said by someone who is actually trying to hide their prejudicial feelings behind their ONE black friend!

7. "Oh, well, you're different."

This statement often comes up after a racist comment was made. "Oh, well, you're different," only implies that other black people are not, and stereotypes are facts.

8. Singing/rapping N**** in a song is still WRONG

If you are NOT a person of color do NOT sing, rap, hmm, text, or even write this word. THANK YOU.

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Oprah Winfrey Instagram

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