Intersectionality & Blackness: Why We Should Fight Injustice Everywhere | VALID | #TWIBnation

Intersectionality & Blackness: Why We Should Fight Injustice Everywhere

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In 2013, the struggle for equality and against oppression is still a very real fight.

Fifty years after the March on Washington the Black community still feels the sting of institutionalized racism and systemic oppression in ways that many of us hope would be a distant memory. But as we continue to the fight that started during the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s we’re constantly being told that we need to include other social justice fights in our own. We need to pick up the fight for immigration reform and LGBTQ rights. We need to be a part of the women’s rights movements seeking reproductive rights over their own body and equal pay in the workplace. But some feel as if that’s not fair.

How can we pick up these other fights while our initial battle is still being fought? How do we align ourselves with movements who don’t seem to care about our situations? This was the question that was being asked when TWiB! published “What Now? Expanding the Umbrella of Civil Rights.” After I shared the article on social media I received a few responses questioning the need for intersectionality. The following is a conversation I had with one gentlemen on Twitter who challenged my assertion that to fight for all of these different spaces is still a fight for Black People.

For this week’s Storified Blackness, Elon got into an entirely reasonable discussion about identity politics, coalition building and intersectionality on Twitter. Miraculously, no one set their timelines on fire.

Elon James White

View all contributions by Elon James White

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  1. Charles F. Coleman Jr. August 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I don’t think the issue is, so much, whether intersectional or inclusion under the tent of civil rights is wrong. My original piece was certainly not intended to convey that. The point is how do we choose to engage those junctures in particular spaces. In my opinion, the NAN march did a clumsy job of making those determinations. Would Al Sharpton and NAN be invited to partner at an environmentalist or JDL Rally? I would imagine so. Would he have been given the mic and air time to discuss Trayvon Martin at the event? Eh….I’m less than confident in that one. The civil rights movement has evolved in terms of allies and coalitions. That is a good thing. However, the way our community, the foundation of that movement, has navigated those coalitions has led to a dilution of what we were originally fighting for.

    • Elon James White August 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Upon sharing your article Charles the conversation of whether or not the movement had space for any other movements became a discussion. On both Twitter and Facebook people responded to that particular idea hence the discussion that started.

      • Charles F. Coleman Jr. August 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        Got It, Elon. First off, thanks for the share. Second, I think that’s sort of silly. It’s linear thinking. I don’t know that I would event want a monopoly on struggle. That’s a lonely and dubious place to be. I would hope what people were having difficulty putting into 140 characters or less is the real notion that in certain times and spaces, different aspects of the civil rights struggle need to get more attention than others. That’s been my beef for a while. The notion that we can’t all band together is a ridiculous one. But, the effort needs to be well coordinated and consistent. I hear people’s concerns, and touched on this briefly in my piece, where certain groups have conveniently co-opted the civil rights struggle and its spirit for their own purposes but have been less than enthusiastic about supporting the other causes at the table. That is something we can’t allow. However, if they are down to support us and our causes have common threads, concepts like justice and equality should not be limited.

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