Intersectional theory is a term first coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. It is the study of intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Its basic principal is that an individual is the sum of their components. These identities can include gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, illness as well as many other form of identity.
In other words a middle class, elderly Asian man has a totally different life experience than a young unwed white mother. In order for them to work together to create a fair and balanced world they must reach out to each other and to understand what makes them diverse and yet the same. Part of this collaboration must also include an understanding of privilege. Some “identities” carry more “privilege” than others and if the “privileged” don’t understand the advantages that they have had, they are unlikely to understand what they need to do, to help others overcome adversity.
This project started out as a concept for a Facebook book club. The idea was to start posting ideas for different books or reading material, encouraging others to read said material and then discuss them via Facebook posts. While preparing a list of material, I discovered that the volume was too great and too diverse to distribute in that manner so the Intersectional Reading Room website was born.