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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The 17 Best Unpopular Opinions From The Minds Of Millennials

Yes, dogs should be allowed in more places and kids in less.
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There are those opinions that are almost fact because everyone agrees with them. Waking up early is horrible. Music is life. Sleep is wonderful. These are all facts of life.

But then there are those opinions that hardly anyone agrees with. These ones -- from Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit -- are those types of opinions that are better left unsaid. Some of these are funny. Some are thought-provoking. All of them are the 17 best unpopular opinions around.

1. My favorite pizza is Hawaiian pizza.

2. Binge watching television is not fun and actually difficult to do.

3. I love puns... Dad jokes FTW.

4. Milk in the cup first... THEN the bloody tea.

5. I wish dogs were allowed more places and kids were allowed fewer places.

6. "Space Jam" was a sh*t movie.

7. Saying "money cannot buy happiness" is just wrong.

8. People keep saying light is the most important thing in photographing. I honestly think the camera is more important.

9. Bacon is extremely overrated.

10. Literally, anything is better than going to the gym.

11. Alternative pets are for weird people.

12. Google doodles are annoying.

13. It is okay to not have an opinion on something.

14. It's weird when grown adults are obsessed with Disney.

15. This is how to eat a Kit Kat bar.

16. Mind your own business.

17. There is such a thing as an ugly baby.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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You Are Not Defined By Others, Only You Can Determine Who You Are

When asked who I was, I realized that I could not list all of the things that have shaped me throughout my life.

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In college classrooms, I frequently get asked about who I am, and what has shaped me into the person that I have become. I have often been questioning my personal identity and the aspects of my life that make me unique. While this intense reflection on who I am can seem frustrating and useless, it has given me a greater sense of myself and a deeper understanding of my place in society.

I was assigned the "Who Am I" poem, which is an assignment that allows students to reflect on their own identity, and the pieces that have helped shape them into the person that they are today. These poems are a great way to encourage self-reflection and either look at the broader aspects of your life or focus on a specific idea to discover your identity. Each statement begins with the powerful words "I am.." which allows you to define yourself in your own words and can allow others to recognize aspects of themselves that are similar to you.

I am sharing my "Who Am I" poem, in the hopes that you will reflect on your own identity and realize you unique you truly are.

Who Am I?

I am a military child, the daughter of an Active Duty soldier and an honorably discharged civilian.

I am the older sister with fiery red hair who is fiercely defensive of her younger brother and little cousins.

I am a member of a small family and am split between a Catholic, conservative side and a liberal, non-religious side. My family is my rock, and I am fiercely loyal to those I love.

I come from large Thanksgiving dinners around my grandmother's table, and putting dried apple slices into homemade butternut squash soup.

I love driving down winding roads and being surrounded by the colors of fall and nature.

I am a lifelong learner through years of cultural experience, media exposure, and the experiences of friends, family, and strangers I meet.

I am a woman who has traveled to over thirty countries across the globe.

I come from walking around in markets and bargaining to get the best price on what I want.

I am a bubble of energy and a force to be reckoned with who has trained with the police academy for self-defense.

I am a certified yoga teacher who strives to share her passion and energy of the mental and physical healing properties with others.

I am a dedicated listener, and try not to say everything that comes into my head.

I am half-Jewish, half-Catholic, and continuously questioning about my religious identity because I am unsure where I fit.

I am a mix of many European cultures but embraced my Irish heritage when I kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

I am a strong advocate for what I believe in and stand up for those who cannot do it for themselves.

I am a writer, who strives to share her opinions and beliefs with others so that they can create their own.

I am a person who believes in the freedom to choose who you want to be, not be defined by stereotypes or social norms.

I am myself, and there is no one else I'd rather be.

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