Category posts: intersectional feminism

Intersectional feminism is a term coined by Kimberle Crenshaw to describe an idea that existed amongst black feminists since the 1920s. Intersectional feminism describes the idea that women are not just women, and exist on multiple planes of oppression. For example: black lesbian women are black, lesbians AND women and cannot engage with one aspect of identity without engaging the other.

The Disturbing Truth About Visiting Washington, DC

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

gentrification in washington dc urban colonization and neo colonialism in the caribbean

Tourism allows visitors to experience cities, towns, and countries through rose-colored glasses. The information accessible to a tourist is carefully curated both virtually and in reality. Tourism forces sanitization of a true culture to increase the appeal to tourists. A place is distilled to a “product”. In marketing, you highlight the benefits of a product and ignore the flaws, hopeful that your customers’ attention isn’t drawn to them.

Tourism requires a commodification of local life and flavor. Tourist experiences are quite literally referred to as “packages”. A good product attracts more tourists and a “bad” product repels them. Thus, city governments and countries are motivated to put their best foot forward.

When a city’s economy relies on tourism, there’s an impetus to “sell” a good product and most of us who live in tourist destinations are indoctrinated into a cult of selling, where our experiences and livelihoods must go through a sanitization process before we present those experiences and our “culture” to outsiders.

When I first visited Washington, DC in 2010, I experienced life there as a tourist. I stayed in Virginia with wealthy extended family members who worked and attended school in Washington, DC. I rode in a Prius to the train station and spent each day wandering around the National Mall and surrounding museums in the city with my grandfather, who viewed Washington through equally clueless lenses.

My second trip to Washington in 2011 was only slightly different. I attended Model UN conferences when required to and spent the rest of the time wandering the streets nearby the Hilton where my United Nations cohort stayed. Again, I visited the National Mall. I defied my fear of heights and rode the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument where I stared down at the empty reflecting pool with disappointment. Winter had eliminated some key features of the tourist experience and hinted at a truth that I was not yet prepared to see. Off-season meant a little wear and tear on the “package”.

Independence Day Reflections 2018

Posted on - in black feminism, intersectional feminism

 

This month in Saint Lucia, we celebrated 39 years of Independence. This year, Independence Day celebrations differed from many years that I’ve experienced. This year, I noticed many people waving our flag from their cars and in general, the expression with national colors seemed to be at an all-time high. We love symbols and symbolism here — from the crucifixes we wear around our necks, to carrying Jansport backpacks at school.

What do we find when we observe these symbols? What’s there and what does Independence mean?

How often do we ask that question? How often do we ask whether or not we’ve truly “made it” out of colonial oppression?

Mobility Issues Reduce Women’s Accessibility To A Secure Future

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

When I went with my boyfriend to renew his Saint Lucian passport in downtown Castries, we climbed five flights of stairs to get to the top. Taking the elevator would have still left us with one or two flights of stairs to get to the office where passports are issued. Public buildings in Saint Lucia still leave a lot to be desired when it comes to accessibility. If it isn’t ramps positioned at 75 degree angles, it’s a lack of elevators or proper accommodations for physically disabled people.

LGBT Tuesdays: Anti-buggery laws

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

Striking anti-buggery laws are not a big priority for West Indian politicians, despite the fact that these homophobic laws are relics of a hateful past. We are willing to hang onto harmful colonial ideology as long as it’s homophobic. Politicians do not even see it as a priority to protect LGBT citizens from violence.

Race, Class & Caribbean Feminism

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

Discussing race and class with regards to Caribbean feminism can be tricky. The mythology of our islands being a racial “melting pot” has led to many people wrongly believing that we have no issues of race and class or that these issues are irrelevant to feminism. The fact that there are many wealthy black people in the Caribbean has confused people.

Despite the fact that there are wealthy black people and despite the fact that there are many black women, issues of race and class are still of utmost importance to women’s issues. When thinking about race and class, we need to focus on systems of oppression, not our individual, anecdotal beliefs (many of which are informed by misinformation by international mainstream media).

West Indian Educational Trauma

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

 

[Content Warning: abuse, violence]

In primary and secondary schools in the Caribbean, students are often subjected to vast amounts of psychological and physical abuse. Yet, if you say this and look back on your education with less than adulation, you are chastised. It’s as if you broke some unspoken code, to sweep the abuse under the rug and as is the typical course in our society, protect the abusers from criticism and ultimately, accountability.

I’ve written in the past about how violent disciplinary methods disproportionately target blacker students from poor backgrounds. And I’ve written about how physical violence disproportionately targets male students in our schools. I’ve also taken the time to identify the definitions of both psychological and emotional abuse in previous posts. If you need a refresher, please take one before you continue reading.

Environmental Damage Is Not The Sole Responsibility Of The Poor

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

 

Unconsciously, most of us associate environmental destruction as being the responsibility of the poor. Big statement. But it’s true. When we think of ways to cut back on the ways we (West Indians) damage our environment, our focus is nearly always on “education”. Poverty and a lack of education are commonly linked in our collective consciousness. Therefore, when we link “education” as a solution to a problem, we are inadvertently linking that problem to poverty. While this might be helpful for STI reduction or something of that nature, in the case of climate change, it allows our people and our government to turn a blind eye to other problems that have an environmental impact yet fly under the radar.

Socioeconomic Class And Climate Change

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

As sea levels continue to rise in the Caribbean, our region will require long-term planning (ha) and forethought about how certain areas are affected and what the government will do to mitigate these effects. In Saint Lucia, particularly vulnerable areas include fishing villages like Dennery and Anse La Raye. The “village center” of nearly every district, including the capital city, Castries sits right at sea level. This means in the future, these areas will be disproportionately affected by the rising sea levels.

How Environmental Racism Applies To The Caribbean Region

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Environmental racism refers to marginalized communities being disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards compared to communities that are not marginalized (Source: Wikipedia Search). First world countries subject the Caribbean region to environmental racism through environmental destruction and notably in St. Lucia via resort tourism and cruise ships. Foreign news sources confirm the environmental impact of cruise ships as being largely negative; the negative outweighs the benefit that cruise ships can bring to the economy. Despite the fact that resorts and cruise ships are known to cause unchecked environmental destruction (including the destruction of coral reefs) we find foreign investors and government officials all too willing to sell our land under the guise of “development”.
But who does this development really benefit?

A St. Lucian Woman’s Thoughts On Buying Local

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

Buying local goods is something that I have been trying to work towards more and more since I moved back to St. Lucia. I just wanted to write a casual post about how living in St. Lucia has encouraged me to buy less and how I’m doing with my goals to “buy local” and what’s missing. Moving to St. Lucia, I’ve had to say good-bye to a country where everything is always at your finger tips. I’m at the point where I can’t remember an errand taking fewer than twenty minutes to complete. I’d say that I’ve readjusted, right?