Intersectionality: All Black Lives Matter

To talk about racism is to talk about oppression, and in order to make a difference that is inclusive in this arena and create real change for all black lives we need to understand the many faces of oppression. 

Types of oppression: 

Belief that race is the primary determining factor of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Also a social and political system founded on racism. 

Prejudice or discrimination based on sex. Especially discrimination against women. 

Transgender oppression
Prejudice or discrimination of transgender people. 

Prejudice or discrimination against or in favor of people belonging to a particular social class. 

Discrimination or prejudice against non-heterosexual people based on the belief that heterosexulaity is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality. 

Ableism - 
Discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities. 

Religious oppression
Discrimination or prejudice against people in response to their religious beliefs and affiliations or lack thereof. 

Ageism - 
Discrimination or prejudice against a particular age-group, especially the elderly.

Discrimination or prejudice against young people as a group.

Oppression is a matrix, a structure surrounding many different types of subjugation. As Audre Lorde stated, "There is no hierarchy of oppressions." and to try to make one form of oppression more important than another is problematic. In fact many experience various forms of it concurrently, this is called intersectionality. In our stand against racism we must fight against all forms of oppression.

A person's identity should not exempt them from equality. All black lives matter. 

To affect change the focus needs to be on the systems and policies that reinforce and create inequities. Change must benefit all marginalized groups. 
Systems of oppression:

Ideological oppression
In any oppressive system there is a core belief that one group is superior to another, and therefore has a right to control the other group. 

Institutional oppression
Ideological oppression becomes embedded in society and its institutions. Laws, public policies, housing developments, the education system, hiring policies, and media are some examples of institutions where this can be observed. Sometimes a policy can unintentionally reinforce and create new inequalities between privileged and non-privileged groups, but it's still institutional oppression. 

Interpersonal oppression
Ideological and institutional oppression reinforces and gives permission to individual members of a dominant group to disrespect or mistreat individuals in the oppressed group. 

Internalized oppression
The people who suffer the most from oppression can internalize the ideology of inferiority. If you've been treated badly your whole life and told that you're worthless, dangerous, abnormal, lazy, etc. you might come to believe it and feel like you're inherently bad or wrong. There are really only two options then, since you wouldn't have the power to direct your feelings toward the dominant group; to either put those feelings back onto yourself or to direct them at other people in the marginalized group. 

Internalized privilege
In the way that a marginalized group can internalize their oppression, so can the dominant group come to internalize their privilege. They blindly accept stereotypes and false assumptions about the oppressed groups as well as the superiority of their own privileged group. It creates an unearned sense of entitlement and can often be expressed as a denial of oppression or paternalism. 

Identifying any way you've experienced oppression can help in having compassion for others who experience it, and when we recognize our privilege it shows us the ways we can help. There are many who have have very few or no privileges and experience multiple forms of oppression, intersectionality is important because it helps us identify the overlapping systems of oppression a person may be facing and in doing so we can become better allies. 

For example, LGBTQIA+ African Americans live in the intersection of racism, homophobia, and transphobia and experience violence, harassment, criminal injustice, health inequities, economic insecurity, and religious intolerance. 

On May 27, 2020 Tony McDade a black transgender man was shot and killed in Tallahassee, Florida. This was just days after George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The officer that killed Tony McDade is still under investigation, has been placed on leave, and their name has been withheld under Florida's Marsy's Law, which protects the identity of victims. That's right, this police officer's identity is being protected by a law meant for victims and there is no sign of justice yet for Tony McDade. If you haven't heard Tony McDade's story it's an example of how the intersection of being black and transgender means that he was further marginalized. 

June is Pride month, a month where LGBTQIA+ lives are celebrated. On June 28, 1969 Marsha P. Johnson a black transgender woman, had a key role in the uprising at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village where police raided and arrested patrons (being LGBTQIA+ was illegal) Marsha and other patrons fought back, turning into protests over the next six days. They were fighting against the police brutality and harassment they had endured, and with their actions said "No more.". One year later, the first gay pride was born.

It's important that in our work as antiracists we don't exclude or continue to marginalize. Separate is not equal. Equality means equality for all, not a select group. 

Much love to all 

Illustration by glamazombie1


  1. Thank you for sharing Tony’s story. People must come together and demand justice for him. It starts in places just like this ♥️

  2. Great words and I agree. I would add that our greatest fight is with ourselves. We must strive to teach ourselves how to stp prejudice within ourselves and teach peacefully and with words, not violence, our children, our relatives and our friends. Live bybexample.


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