To My Generation: Intersectionality Has To Be Our Legacy


I cannot honestly consider the fruits of marriage equality without a lens for the past and future. The past would give me perspective into generations of violence toward the LGBT community from policing (literal law enforcement and power figures such as clergy and community leadership). These policing forces also had a target before we LGBTs organized–people of color, immigrants, people outside the predominant religious faith. The “others.” The future would provide forethought in considering whose toes I can avoid stepping on to get to where I need to go, and who I can bring along with me on the ride up.

The force of social media engagement regarding racism particularly concerned with Baltimore is, in its own way, a tiny achievement simply for the depth and breadth of black people communicating to us all, but also to each other. This has sparked something in me, not in the same way where I demand to be heard, this is not my story. But this is the point, isn’t it? I cannot speak for the black community, in the U.S. or around the world, that have suffered due to racism and imbedded systemic classism. White people cannot speak to a black persons response to racism or classism or integrated hate. However, white people can consider the racism in themselves. What can also occur is the unhealed trauma of black v. white in America. Whereas the majority of white people today might not be actively aggressive toward black people does not negate that there is an untended to, inherited wound. If we are a responsible country and generation, then we must consider the meaning of such a word. Responsibility stems from an ability to respond, not react. Where have we, as white folk, reacted when we should have responded to these systems?

There are differences between the LGBT community struggle and the struggle people of color face. Each movement is on different paths, but are catalyze by similar forces asking them to rise into their respective representations of grace and transcendence. We converge on the course not only because our paths are often intertwined (e.g. black-LGBTs), and not because our path to freedom is the same, but because we are disillusioned by a common oppressor. The same body of thought that is holding one community under it’s boot asks the other to assimilate quietly, and vice versa. The work isn’t about equality, but equity. There are differences, which is the point. We don’t need a system that offers the same opportunities, but a system that offers the fullest opportunities to the diversity of its culture.

So what? The point in discussing root cause is not for an academic volley but to begin the work to treat the issue at the root. The root cause is separation from each other in a way that even when it appears that a minority is making progress, they are often being asked to separate from the qualities of the their culture that distinguish them. Plainly put: patriachal-normative, white assimilation. So we often will see minorities internally fracture and quarrel as progress begins to look different. Specifically in the The United States founded on a spiritual principle of “unity,” we must consider what the fullest version of unity looks like. Does it look like a white-washed canvas or a rainbow of colors coalescing together through gradual elevating vibrations? Unity holds no value if there aren’t unique pieces coming together. Intersectionality is essential for unity because sameness is absence of unity.

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