our understanding and appreciation for intersectional thought and practice
Within an intersectional analysis researchers, practitioners, and advocates can address violence in a manner that
presents many areas to see the unseen when examining a person’s experience as complex rather than concrete. For example, a person’s health is negatively impacted by the amount of violence they are exposed too.
While we respect such works as The ACE Study [Adverse Childhood Experiences], we also recognize the lack of intersectional analysis in the narrow scope of the survey as it asked questions that's full depth wasn't realized. An intersectional analysis would have provided the researchers to have a larger impact while In the ACE Study researchers made connections between individuals experience of violence as children and health related impacts as adults. This research augmented earlier work that asserted that those who experience higher levels of violence and violation could experience a wider range of physical, emotional and other health related issues later on in life (Osofsky, 1999).
Applying intersectionality to methodology “privileges the voices and lives of those researched over preexisting theories and the researcher's agenda” (Cuadraz & Uttal, 1999, para 13). This remains true for the ways in which we embody our values in our professional and community practices.
The multifaceted nature of state violence and community harm how we develop as individuals. The ACE study researchers found that with a higher exposure to adversity participants showed a higher rate of negative health consequences. These consequences included death, emotional and mental health issues as well as physical impairment (ACE Study, 2012). This is one way to acknowledge intersections of violence and the complexity of the problem when identifying potential solutions.
Generally, “a consistent thread across definitions is that [intersectional] social identities which serve as organizing features of social relations, [which] mutually constitute, reinforce, and naturalize one another” (Shields, 2008, p. 302). This “relationship among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relations and subject formations” (McCall, 2005, p. 1771) is experienced as the intersection of social identities derived from race, gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality among others. My use of intersectionality as a framework explores as much of the participant’s experience as possible. In my research I am not only acknowledging their experience as Black women with violence- I have also let their stories guide me in understanding the intersections that they experience. Collins (2004) writes that “initially examining only one dimension of power relations, namely, that of social class, Marx posited that, however unarticulated and inchoate, oppressed groups possessed a particular standpoint on inequality” (p. 249).
Black women experience higher levels of community and state violence than their white female counterparts (Davis, 2001). I believe that one aspect of the standpoint perspective for Black women is at the intersections of power and our collective relationship to the state. There is a historical and contemporary relationship that maintains power within economic and state controlled institutions. Black people, and in particular black women, do not have full access to that power. Because of this, black women live a multi-faceted reality that denotes a certain perspective that is useful to research in examining how resilience can lead to resistance and resilience.
White (2005) stated that, “few social scientists have considered [how] the conditions and dilemmas created the context for women’s participation in the U.S. based anti-violence movement” (p. 11). Furthermore, Cannon (1988) affirmed that “the re-enactment of female experiences, ‘holding up proverbial mirrors’ within the social fabric of the Black community, conveys the moral wisdom of the contemporary Black woman” (p. 14). Like mirrors the words of the participants are weaved into poems to show us the people and experiences that are left behind closed doors. The changes needed in the system to help prevent violence are embedded in the stories shared by the participants.
a history of intersectionality
The origins of intersectionality lie within the theoretical and praxis-focused works of womanist and Black feminist scholars Crenshaw (1991), hooks (1994), Collins (2004), and Mojica (2011). Intersectionality provides a framework for researchers to see the impact of “group membership” on a person’s experience of bias (African American Policy Forum). This framework gives researchers access to the fluidity of an individual’s experience that flows in and between ascribed identity categories (Shields, 2008).