Intersectional Mindfulness

Cedomir Kostovic, The Equality of People, 1989, Digital archival print,

There is a definition that I have put together that consists of two key concepts which I believe are critical to understanding one of the biggest threats in Western society and it is Intersectional Mindfulness.

As we watch President Orange-Peel twist and aggravate the cogs of the Patriarchal Machine that insinuates Prejudice, Rape Culture, and Violence on multiple layers, Intersectional Mindfulness is a concept that aims to progress society on an individual, even spiritual level while understanding our differences by taking into consideration individual’s Class, Race, Cultural Background, and other characteristics that make another individuals’ challenges “unique.” In doing so, this practice, or mindset allows us to see worldwide issues including Abuse against Marginalized Groups from different perspectives and be able to come up with action plans, or resolutions that allow marginalized groups to live a better, stable life so that they too, can peacefully contribute to the progression of the Human race.

Kimberle Crenshaw brings up a serious issue that not only inspired me to write this piece, but to push for a sociopolitical system that aims to help understand, empathize and find peaceful resolution for marginalized groups based on the wide spectrum of obstacles they face and how to deal with all of them effectively. As she explores the margins of women of color in her article, “she acknowledges that as…systems of race, gender, and class domination converge, as they do in the experiences of battered women of color, intervention strategies based solely on the experiences of women who do not share the same class or race backgrounds will be of limited help to women who because of race and class face different obstacles. (Crenshaw 1246).

Overall, the first of many issues addressed by Crenshaw is that women of color face far different obstacles than white women do. However, this is not to say that white women do not suffer obstacles of a hegemonic system, but because of these differences; race, class, cultural background etc; these characteristics contribute to the margins that women of color are stuck within.

One of the examples of the gap that divides women of color, race and class background was “…in 1990 when Congress amended the marriage fraud provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. To protect immigrant women who were battered or exposed to extreme cruelty by the United States citizens or permanent residents these women immigrated to the United States to marry. Under the marriage fraud provisions of the Act, a person who immigrated to the United States to marry a citizen or resident had to remain “properly” married for two years before even applying for permanent resident status, at which time applications for the immigrant’s permanent status were required of both spouses. Predictably, under these circumstances, many immigrant women were reluctant to leave even the most abusive of partners for fear of being deported. When faced with the choice between protection from their batterers and protection against deportation, many immigrant women chose the latter.” (Crenshaw 1247)

So because of the violence that these women are exposed to, it is only because of Crenshaw’s acknowledgment and search for the differences of which inhumanely perpetuate this behavior towards women, that Intersectional Mindfulness can be better understood and conceptualized. Furthermore, by exercising this art of understanding, one could be able to identify patterns of repressiveness that underscore our cultural identities and differences. “These examples illustrate how patterns of subordination intersect in women’s experiences of domestic violence…By failing to take into account the vulnerability of immigrant spouses to domestic violence, Congress positioned these women to absorb the simultaneous impact of its anti-immigration policy and their spouses’ abuses.” (Crenshaw 1249–1250).

So by taking into account our differences, there are violent, but nonetheless unifying forces that make our experiences carry similar, repressive tales over and over again. But it is our duty to ourselves to be able to ask questions about who and what we do not understand.

According to Crenshaw, there are 3 types of arguments that explain different modes of Intersectionality. But the category that struck me the most was her discussion of structural intersectionality, “the ways in which the location of women of color at the intersection of race and gender makes our actual experience of domestic violence, rape and remedial reform qualitatively different than that of a white woman” (Crenshaw 1245).

Relative to Intersectional Mindfulness, I found this definition rather helpful and conducive to the underlying ideology behind Crenshaw’s writing.

We are unfortunately divided by these unseen characteristics that make us individuals. But rather than using race, location, and gender to divide amongst the issue of abuse for colored women, these are qualities that could illuminate violence and reform differences that are far more variable than to women and thus, give us better understanding of the situation at hand.

Hopefully, as Intersectionality grows and we practice its Mindful qualities, it could perhaps allow people to push for a healthier, less-toxic cultural.