Is intersectional racial justice organizing possible? Confronting generic intersectionality

Ashlee Christoffersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article empirically charts how a discursive construction of the separation of race and racial justice organizing, and “intersectionality” serves to uphold white supremacy and efface intersectional marginalization among people of colour. Undertaking the first-study of how UK policymakers and practitioners in equality organizations understand and operationalize “intersectionality”, it maps “generic intersectionality”, which is delivered to benefit “all”. Through empirical examples, its detrimental effects for racial and intersectional justice are demonstrated. First, it is used as a rationale for a relinquishment of a focus on race/racism; racial justice organizations are constructed as uniquely incapable of doing intersectionality. Second, “neutral”, “unspecific” representatives are constructed those capable of knowing about and doing intersectionality. Intersectionally marginalized people are constituted as non-credible knowers and doers of intersectionality. Generic intersectionality is a novel use of intersectionality, which gives a new name to liberal sameness and constructs its beneficiaries as a monolithic, white “everyone”.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Early online date27 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2021

Keywords

  • culture wars
  • equality policy
  • intersectionality
  • NGOs
  • racial justice
  • white supremacy

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