Intersectionality — it’s a term tossed around in academic circles, feminist discussions, etc…however, this past few weeks has led me to see and feel my intersecting identities in a very intense way. As a woman not of, but in Texas I have been dismayed by the legislature’s attacks on women’s health, yet buoyed by the sisterhood shared in the protests, rallies, and marches. As a black mother with two young sons, I feel betrayed by our system of justice that allows a young black boy to be murdered with no penalty to his assailant– a man who carried a gun and followed him without any indication that he was suspicious, except for the color of his skin. As a political scientist, I have been fascinated with the development of a potential movement, the way that politicians on both sides of the aisle have tried to capitalize on a hotly contested issue, and the potential fallout for future elections. At times I haven’t know whether to laugh, cry, or start writing. In the end, I will do all three at various times.
I have read so many articles and commentaries about the situation for women in Texas, about Trayvon Martin and the trial that set his murderer free — in general, I’m a political junkie. In his commentary this past week, Charles M. Blow talks about how the system failed Trayvon and us — but the political system over the last few years has also failed women, particularly poor, rural women in Texas. The system has made the private political in a way that damages us all. I am black. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am an academic. I care about access to healthcare. I care about choice. I care about my sons. I care about the direction this country is taking. Yes, we must have all of these discussions about race, about gender equality, about overall inequalities…but as a political scientist I know it all comes down to power. I feel the main way to generate change is at the ballot box.
So I will work on registering voters, encouraging friends to be politically aware, and if they have the time, involved. I will continue examining my own role as a citizen of a country in turmoil. I will continue to talk to my boys about the world that we live in and how they may be perceived because of the color of their skin. But most of all, I will try my best to keep these words from the Roosevelt memorial in my heart: