Developing Networks of Intersectionality: #BlackLivesMatter

Intersectionality, as stated by these three articles, is a concept that can further the #BlackLivesMatter movement by helping understand systems of oppression working in conjunction against different identities and communities. Chamseddine frames her text around Islamophobia and Islamophobic violence, often treated as isolated instances” and not systematic, which is how African Americans killed by police across America are now framed, much of that is due to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Inspired by #BlackLivesMatter,  #JusticeForMuslims was created as a response in trying to expose the normalization of these violent incidents plaguing the muslim community throughout Europe and the United States. Chamseddine illustrates intersectionality by writing: “anti-Blackness and racialized Islamophobia, each in possession of their own respective histories, share commonalities including expulsion, conquest, exploitation and resistance; and Black Muslims are doubly marginalized. She states that understanding intersectionality is vital because “it leads to the recognition that subjugated communities and groups” (such as non-Black Muslims) can risk the possibility of engaging in “harmful behavior that undermines solidarity work, thus promoting neoliberal solutions, which facilitate and sustain injustice. 

Guttman and Lokting explore the notion of intersectionality through #BlackLivesMatter activists in the United States identifying with Palestinians in Israel (#JusticeforPalestine). This is due to the similarities among these separate groups, as Cherwell Brown (a community organizer who traveled to Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories) puts it: “so many parallels exist between how U.S. polices incarcerate [African Americans] and perpetuate violence on the black community, and how the Zionist state that exists in Israel perpetuates the same on Palestinians.” This makes some people following the #BlackLivesMatter movement want to shut out pro-Israel activists in support of Palestinians. However, the United States is a completely different government in a completely different geographical region. Therefore, it is important to be conscious of the fact that similarities in terms of struggles can lead to oversimplification. A challenge now is the intersections of struggles rooted in Pro-Palestine and Pro-Israel who support #BlackLivesMatter.

Reich reveals how #BlackLivesMatter continues to live on through its network of allies, including queer, trans, and female individuals. She states that intersectionality is “urgently necessary” for any measure of success during the Trump administration. What this means is not leaving behind any part of Black America. With today’s administration, oppression will not only be from police, but from defunding organizations like the National Endowment for the Humanities, NPR, the EPA, and increasing military funding (and therefore militarized cops). By understanding the deeply rooted nature of systemic racism, one will recognize that all of these will “disproportionately” affect Black Americans (and wreak havoc on all our vulnerable citizens). 

Intersectionality is a constant learning process as more networks, allies, and identities are formed. Intersectionality is a tool for growing: we must find these intersections in people and in the system to make progress as we live in a new, frightening political sphere.

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