If you spend any amount of time reading about social justice issues on or offline, I would be willing to bet cold hard cash that you’ve encountered the term “intersectionality.” People calling for more of it, calling for none of it, debating its existence, flopping around while shouting “BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN??”
Maybe I’m alone on that last part?
The short answer is, intersectionality is “the oppression and discrimination resulting from the overlap of an individual’s various social identities:”
Before we dive in I want to make an important caveat. I am approaching this discussion from my own privilege as a middle-class American white woman. I am primarily speaking to other white women. Women of color don’t need me to explain intersectionality to them, they live it every day. I’m not an expert. I just firmly believe that it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves and not place that burden on our sisters of color, so I’m sharing the love.
Every homicide justified by self-defense has one thing in common: fear.
“I was alone.”
“I feared for my life.”
“I was afraid they would hurt my family.”
The person who shoots in self-defense — oftentimes, a police officer — warrants his actions by describing a genuine experience of fear, even when additional information reveals an unarmed victim, sometimes without criminal history or criminal intent. An innocent victim.
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.” -1 John 3:17-18
In my last post, I shared my thoughts on my role as a consumer, especially in regards to my choices in clothing and in view of the human rights abuses in the fashion industry.
We as women hold enormous purchasing power and influence amongst our families and friends. Who does most of the shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories? We do! We outfit ourselves, our children, and sometimes even our significant others.
We can use this collective influence to do manifold good for the oft-destitute women who make our clothing.
We can use this collective influence to do manifold good.
The global fashion industry is vast, and the players are many.
I will briefly outline a few of the complexities, but I offer the caveat that I claim no expertise here. I’m just a concerned Catholic on a mission to figure out how to shop for my family without supporting an industry that exploits other families.
I could not believe my eyes when I sat on my bed, on a typical Saturday morning in Charlottesville, scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook.
All that I saw were videos of protesters, carrying torches and marching in a line, down the lawn of the University of Virginia, my university, in the dead of night.
I knew that the Unite the Right white supremacist rally was going to take place in Emancipation Park later in the day, but I had no idea that this evil would be marching less than one mile away from my apartment in the dead of night.
I had no idea that this evil would be marching less than one mile away from my apartment in the dead of night.
The next twenty-four hours were spent on lockdown alone in my apartment, with my eyes glued to a livestream of the news on my laptop while all of Virginia was in a state of emergency. A white supremacy rally had turned into large scale riots, violence had out-broken between the supremacists and protesters, policemen were struggling to clear the crowd, and a car was driven by a white supremacist down a crowded street, killing a woman and injuring others. The places where I had the past three years laughing with my friends was full of carnage, evil, and terrorism.
The following day I walked straight into my university parish and asked the chaplain, “What happened and what now?”
I first heard the term “fast fashion” two years ago.
I took in the scene immediately: the quickly changing trends, the insatiable consumerism, the disregard for waste, the rock-bottom prices and consequent rock-bottom wages.
The phrase itself validated my lifelong sense of being a step behind the fashion curve. By the time I pondered a new trend long enough to decide whether I liked it, then decided whether it was worth a purchase, and THEN got around to actually shopping – the trend was stale, more often than not.
The phrase also convicted. How often have I bought an item, only to barely use it or find I didn’t like it as much when I got home?
I knew in a vague sense about the connection between fast fashion, sweatshops, and garment workers’ rights. I could name a brand or two that claimed to be ethically made.
But I was horrified to learn what I hadn’t known.