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Intersectionality: Let the Dialogue Begin…


Today I had hoped to share how my mindset shift—5 Keys to Embracing Your Own Personal Lovelution (in case you missed it)—is expanding to a shift in my identity. However, I’m still exploring this new found awareness and how to share it with you. What I know for sure (thanks Oprah for this phrase!) is…that in a few weeks time, I’ll have a better handle on this shift.

It's Official...I'm a Published Author!!! Image from my Instagram Feed Follow me at @jillian4justice + biz happenings @jillybeads4justice

It’s Official…I’m a Published Author!!!
Image from my Instagram Feed
Follow me at @jillian4justice + biz happenings @jillybeads4justice

In the meantime, I’d like to share an excerpt from my first published book chapter (Woooohoooooo!!!) titled, 3 to 1: Four Women Navigating the Intersections of Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and Heterosexism in Intercollegiate Sport. I’m beyond proud of this chapter that I had the privilege to co-author with three amazing women I respect. My hope is that one day I’ll be able to share the full piece with you all, so I’m in the process of figuring out those details with the publisher.

Below is an excerpt from opening paragraphs of the chapter:

The primary purpose of this chapter is for us to describe the ways in which racism, heterosexism, and Black sexuality intersect and interact with each other—both in American society via our life experiences and in organized sport, in particular.  We begin by providing our theoretical foundation for the chapter and share a model for its intersectionality—the relationship between and among racism, sexism, heterosexism and homophobia.  Then we will to tell you about ourselves prior to delving into the issues related to the intersectionality of the “-isms” that are rarely discussed within intercollegiate sport.  The chapter concludes with us highlighting our vision toward a path of solutions.  This includes strategies for change, as well as how LGBTQ[1] and ally leaders within academia can be change agents within higher education institutions throughout the country.

A Model: The Intersection of Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and Heterosexism

Each of us writing recognizes we have a unique way in which our different parts of social and cultural identity intersect.  More importantly, these varying components can and do afford us societal and cultural privilege, or more often disadvantage.  Although there are many ways to describe the hierarchical power relations at work in U.S. society, especially within higher education, Collins’ (2000) “matrix of domination” combines the intersecting systems of oppression (e.g. race, social class, gender, sexuality, etc.) while organizing the domains of power in a “structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal” (p. 299) manner.

More specifically, Collins (2004) reminds us how “scholars have long examined the ways in which ‘white fear of black sexuality’ has been a basic ingredient of racism” (p. 87). Though we cannot just simply point the finger at our fellow White Americans since “in the United States, [there is] the assumption that racism and heterosexism constitute two separate systems of oppression mask[ing] how each relies upon the other for meaning” (p. 88).  Collins’ (2004) assertion is further complicated when and if scholars, sport and educational leaders, or athletes make the assumption that all Black people are heterosexual and all LGBTQ individuals are White.  By distorting “the significance of ideas about sexuality to racism and race to heterosexism,” Black Americans continue to experience incarceration as a form of racism and the closet as a form of sexual oppression creating prisons for our bodies and closets for our minds (p. 88).

Excerpted from Roth, J.R., Robinson, L., O’Bryant, C. & Griffin, P. (2014) In E.J. Meyer & D. Carlson (Eds.), Gender and sexualities in education: A reader (pp. 453-463). New York: Peter Lang.

Please remember to share your thoughts in the comments!

With pride 

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[1] LGBTQ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning


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