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Angela Davis talking at London’s Southbank Center

View in full at Southbank Centre

The legendary scholar-activist talks intersectionality

Renowned activist and academic Angela Davis discusses activism and intersectionality in the post-Trump era with Jude Kelly, artistic director of London’s South Bank Centre.

“Yes we always have to believe that ultimately we will be able to change the world. And I say ultimately because this is not a context within which we are going to immediately witness the consequences of the work which we do. And I think today, in 2017, as we try and generate powerful resistance movements against Islamophobia, to protect undocumented immigrants, to protect the right of trans people, that we are drawing upon forces and drawing upon energies that have been created over decades. So that now we are in a sense reaping the fruits of the work that people – activists like ourselves [carried out]. Just as we are creating the terrain for something that may happen 50 years from now”

I like to point out that the impulse for thinking about what we now know as intersectionality is an activist impulse, because if one looks at the struggles in the 1960s/early 70s…I can remember when we were trying to figure out how do women of color insert themselves in the women’s movement that was emerging, and…I was often the target of a question that went something like this: what are you anyway, are you Black or are you a woman? And of course there was that wonderful anthology, you know – all the women are white, all of the Blacks are men, but some of us are brave. And I think that bravery is beginning to rise. And there were so many ways that scholars and activists were attempting to figure out how to think these issue together, how to develop activist strategies, organizing strategies, that attended to the interrelationships of gender and race and class and sexuality…Intersectionality is just one of the most recent terms that emerged to attempt to approximate the ways in which these modes of oppression, these categories come together in social reality…Kimberlé Crenshaw, an amazing legal scholar, coined the term intersectionality – and [I am kind of sad that] we seem satisfied with it, we are not continuing to find other ways to talk about the messiness, the interconnectedness, the cross-hatched character of this. We have to continue, because we haven’t figured this out.”

To see Kimberlé Crenshaw herself give an incredibly powerful presentation on intersectionality and the need to #sayhername, check this TED talk


Angela Davis talking at London’s Southbank Center
View in full at Southbank Centre