Rad Reading: "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity, and Violence Against Women of Color"

by Abaki Beck

Text: Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color

Author: Kimberle Crenshaw

Quote to Highlight: "The antiracist agenda will not be furthered by suppressing the reality of intraracial violence against women of color. The effect of both these marginalizations is that women of color have no means to link their experiences with those of other women. This sense of isolation compounds efforts to politicize sexual violence within communities of color and permits the deadly silence surrounding these issues."

Quick Summary: Kimberle Crenshaw - who coined the concept of "intersectionality" -  analyzes why intersectionality is important and argues that different identities must be acknowledged within anti-sexist and anti-racist movements.  She does this looking at battery and rape against women of color, and how their experiences are at the intersection of racism and sexism. She divides the paper into three sections: structural intersectionality, political intersectionality, and representational intersectionality. Within each section, she provides theoretical perspective to examples from real life. For example, she notes that immigrant women may not leave their abusive spouses for fear of deportation or language barriers. Thus, though shelters exist to help battered women, structural barriers related to race and immigration status may keep women from receiving this help.

File it under: Intersectionality, violence against women, activism, women of color feminisms

Type of text:  Theoretical academic text, heavy use of jargon


POC Online Classroom strives to make texts and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is a new series that highlight texts so readers get an idea of what it’s about before delving in. We will post every Tuesday and Thursday. This is one of the first in the series, but we hope to have one for every resource on the website in the future. Stay tuned!

Abaki Beck