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Intersectionality theory highlights the overlapping areas of discrimination. It's crucial to consider all forms of discrimination someone might face simultaneously, like race, gender, and religion. Understanding this intersection helps us grasp the full extent of their societal disadvantage. Originally a feminist theory, it now applies to all forms of oppression. Created by Arshya Vahabzadeh.

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  • male robot hal style avatar for user KEVIN
    It seems to me that most people who engage in discrimination would not get past their first, or primary, discriminatory reaction. So, in this case, that this person is female or that she is African-American. What studies suggest that her also being a Buddhist would engender a discriminatory response equal to the first two? Or, to be more blunt, will it really matter to someone who is discriminating against black females, that she is also a Buddhist?
    (5 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Dr. Kyra Gaunt, Ph.D.
      @K E V I N I am a professor who teaches intersectionality in my work on digital media. I think we too often don't know how to question our questions. Is there any faulty thinking in how I am perceiving even my question. The relevance of what the person discriminating sees or not is not the point of the theory. What is relevant is inquiring perhaps through interviewing of the person suffering the discrimination what their experience is and how it works in their lives AND studying the social or structural forces (immaterial and often intangible) of what race and gender and buddhist practices means within its social context. There can be a tendency to treat these issues like physical objects. But this is about mental maps of reality and symbolic interactions that are often implicit as implicit bias. This might help you get what I mean better. Harvard's implicit bias test. Anyone can test themselves here. It's what we don't cognitively get that is at stake here. It has impacts on life chances for many people not just jobs. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
      (21 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user d-_-b
    Is this not simply basic, qualitative multivariate analysis applied to potential discrimination? If so, why is Intersectionality considered it's own, unique, revolutionary concept?
    (8 votes)
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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user josephw.se
    Does intersectionality apply to benefits as well as discrimination? If so, how would these compounding benefits contribute to the rich getting richer?
    (3 votes)
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  • purple pi purple style avatar for user ScienceMon
    Intersectionality reminds me of a linear model with a non-zero interaction term. Have any social scientists quantified intersectionality in this way?
    (2 votes)
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  • aqualine sapling style avatar for user Eos Malike
    Is this really official education in America? Your kids are forced to agree to this to became doctors?
    (0 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] There are many different types of discrimination, including things like discrimination based on sex, gender, culture, race and other factors. We can often consider these things in isolation. But what happens when someone experiences multiple forms of discrimination at the same time? What happens when we have overlapping areas of discrimination? One of the things that can happen is that we can have individuals in our society that have characteristics that can result in them facing discrimination in multiple different areas. For example, we can have a female who is of African American origin, and who, for example, practices Buddhist teachings, and in a particular society within our country that may cause her to be discriminated against in three different areas. So, if we were to draw her circles of discrimination, what would her overlap look like? She may have one overlap based on her sexual gender. She may have one overlap based on her racial or cultural identification, and she may have another circle based on her religious ideas. Right in the center, we have this level of extreme overlap. Right at the intersection. Now, why is it important to consider this intersection of these three different areas? It's important because at this intersection is multiple different categories of potential discrimination or oppression may compound an interplay in this one individual, and really significantly put her at a disadvantage within society. In order to understand the level of disadvantage that she has, we really need to understand all three of these factors. The theory of intersectionality really states just that. It really focuses on the point in which these multiple different areas of potential discrimination overlap with one another, and exist along side one another. We really need to understand when all of these things coexist, because if we don't consider all of them at the same time, we really don't get to fully understand the situation. So, in this individual, if we just consider the fact that she likes Buddhist teachings, in a culture or society that really doesn't appreciate that, and we miss the fact that the society also doesn't appreciate the fact that she's female, or discriminates against African Americans. We may not fully understand the level of discrimination that she faces. And the same situation would result if we only considered the fact that she was female in the sexist society, or that she was African American in a racist society. So, this theory of intersectionality really asks us to consider all of the different levels of discrimination. While the theory was originally coined in 1989 by Crenshaw as a feminist theory to explain the oppression of women, it has since really expanded out. People of then really use it to explain oppression and discrimination found in all parts of society.