I choose to examine Tamika Mallory’s speech at the Women’s March on Washington. The march is receiving a lot of criticism in regards to the number of white women who attended the march and focused on single-axes issues and were not inclusive of all women identities.
This critique thus focuses itself around the principle of intersectionality. One quote specifically in Mallory’s speech seemed to directly come from Crenshaw’s “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex.” Towards the end of her speech, Mallory states “Stand up for the most marginalized people in this society because if you stand for them you stand for all.” This quote is incredibly reminiscent of the call to action that Crenshaw includes at the end of her piece “If their efforts instead began with addressing the needs and problems of those who are most disadvantaged and with restructuring and remaking the world where necessary, then others who are singularly disadvantaged would also benefit.”
I think that it was important for Mallory to reference Crenshaw’s principles of intersectionality in her speech to a crowd that wound up being a mostly white audience. Because of the striking similarity to Crenshaw’s words, I do wish that she instead used Crenshaw’s own words. I think that because “intersectionality” is such a hot-topic word right now we should be reminding people of the work that black activists like Crenshaw have been doing for almost 30 years now.