The origins of “intersectionality”To understand what intersectionality is, and what it has become, you have to look at Crenshaw’s body of work over the past 30 years on race and civil rights. A graduate of Cornell University, Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin, Crenshaw has focused in much of her research on the concept of critical race theory.As she detailed in an article written for the Baffler in 2017, critical race theory emergedin the 1980s and ’90s among a group of legal scholars in response to what seemed to Crenshaw and her colleagues like a false consensus: that discrimination and racism inthe law were irrational, and “that once the irrational distortions of bias were removed,the underlying legal and socioeconomic order would revert to a neutral, benign state ofimpersonally apportioned justice.”This was, she argued, a delusion as comforting as it was dangerous. Crenshaw didn’tbelieve racism ceased to exist in 1965 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, nor thatracism was a mere multi-century aberration that, once corrected through legislativeaction, would no longer impact the law or the people who rely upon it.
1) What gave rise to the concept of intersectionality, what was the federal court’s reasoning denying a case on both race and sex discrimination, and why does Crenshaw conclude that reasoning is invalid?
2) What are “three debates” about intersectionality and how do you conclude they complicate what intersectionality is?
3) Describe the conservative criticism of intersectionality and Crenshaw’s response to those views.
4) How would you succinctly describe the concept of “intersectionality” in a paragraph of 5 to 6sentences?
5) How do the concepts of “race” and “ethnicity” overlap? 6) What do you believe are THREE (3) primary elements of identity construction and why? How would those relate to intersectionality?