29 May 2013

don't forget

Don't forget.

No system of oppression operates independently of any other system of oppression.

Ableism thrives on heterosexism, racism depends on classism, sexism is intimately wrapped with binarism, ageism snakes through ableism and sexism. Oppression builds upon itself. It is intellectually and morally irresponsible to go about social justice without acknowledging this insidious phenomenon. Our movements will fail, ultimately, if we do not understand how oppressions converge and work for transformative justice instead of aligning solely along individual axes of identity.

It is impossible to separate my identity from my disability, my gender, my sexuality, my race, and my class. Even were I to disavow these labels, I would continue to inhabit a body that has been disabled, gendered, racialized, and classed.

Yet too much conversation on particular forms of oppression, and especially disability, focus on the individual mind/body as the location of oppression. While such isms (prejudice + power) do operate at the micro-level on individual bodies, I contend that discourse on marginalized identities must take a turn toward the macro-level and consider how oppression is created and perpetuated in society, culture, and politics. This emphasis on the individual too frequently serves to ignore how oppression is the result of broad, sweeping paradigms that enforce constructed normals/ideals while marginalizing communities, movements, and bodies/minds that serve to challenge those normals/ideals.

When violence is enacted on an individual person, violence is also enacted against entire communities.

Don't forget.

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