Much of Crenshaw’s work critically examines race, gender, class, and power. In her writing and professing, she urges politicians, business(wo)men, and regular people to interrogate existing legal structures and consider flaws inherent in policies, however well-intentioned, which may marginalize minority groups. It is her belief, as well as ours, that to effect true change, we must take close looks at our everyday routines and practices, and rethink how they can be arranged to be more inclusive.
Here are some everyday, do-able actions that you can implement in your day-to-day life to reduce the impact of racism, sexism, and classism. You may choose to conscientiously agree or disagree with each item, but we ask that you at least take each thought under consideration. After all, Crenshaw has spent most of her life studying the underlying legal structures which feed into cycles of oppression, and she does not assert these ideas without piles and piles of research.
* Reject “colorblindedness” as an approach to dealing with diversity. Instead of ignoring our differences, as well as the negative effects of structural, interpersonal, and ideological racism, we should recognize that there are people different from you. Everyone’s identity deserves to be celebrated instead of ignored, as if it were something to be ashamed of.
* Embrace multiculturalism. Recognize that there are people who are different from you, and embrace those differences!
* Question the media. In and of itself, media does not hurt people. Like a gun, it is simply the means to an end. If applied correctly, media can be an instrument of change. It can also be a weapon of the establishment. For example, media is often exploited by companies preying on our insecurities to sell us their ideas of beauty and success. Question everything you see in the media--for instance, why have “women in the Bible, from the creation of man and the story of Genesis, [...] been the source of ruination for the human race?” (Mapping the Margins, Crenshaw)
* Stand up to injustice. When you see or hear about things that are just plain wrong, don’t just sit there. Silence is consent. Assess the situation and determine what you can do to change it. Whether it’s calling someone out on Facebook for posting something incredibly hurtful, or speaking out when you witness somebody being abused or harassed (either by alerting the authorities or contriving some clever disturbance), we have the ability everyday to improve our world.
* Stand up for yourself. It’s easy to feel powerless when you’re being dismissed, discriminated against, or denied opportunities because of who you are. However, you don’t have to take it lying down. Pursue justice through the avenues available to you. Too often, we let others get away with doing terrible things because of our own fear to react and avenge ourselves. For example, women of color who were raped are less likely to pursue their cases through the justice system than their white peers (Mapping the Margins, Crenshaw 1251).
If you want to support a current victim of our judicial system’s indifference to intersectionality, you can write to CeCe McDonald. CeCe is a black trans woman forced to take a plea bargain who needs help and support currently. You can write to and send books to CeCe to show your support. She was attacked by white men, the result of which was one of their death in self-defense.
Public Safety Facility
Chrishaun Reed McDonald #2011014667
401 South 4th Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Inmates are not allowed to receive packages, including photographs. Packages will not be accepted and will be returned to the sender. Photographs will be removed from the envelope and returned to the inmate at the time of release. Please note that all letters sent to the jail are opened, read, and inspected by jail staff. Use good sense about what you say in your letter, and don’t write about anything that is likely to get you or anyone else in trouble with the cops