Sample Gender Studies Article Review Paper on Black Feminism and Intersectionality

In the article, Black Feminism and Intersectionality, by Sharon Smith, the prevalent themes allude to the different ways women of color experience discrimination and unjust categorization due to their gender and race. The term ‘intersectionality’ is widely used with the foundation of its application relying on historical data and crucial developments surrounding black women in society. The author elaborates that the term was coined by a black legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in her instrumental 1989 essay titled Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics (Smith, 2015). Based on traffic intersection, the concept of intersectionality is meant to express how black women are more likely to experience sex or race discrimination, or both. The persistent analogy is that the contemporary form of discrimination experienced by the subject group cannot be categorized as either racism or sexism. Instead, it’s somewhat of an amalgamation of both and the existing frameworks make black women legally ‘invisible’ and without legal course. Subsequently, Smith (2015) additionally addresses the complexities faced by black women in the labor market, particularly how nonwhite women experience more difficulties due to tougher jobs and surplus types of discrimination.

On the other hand, Betty Adams’ YouTube Video, 9 Out of 10 Americans Are Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact, focuses on wealth distribution in the United States. The analysis conducted in the video exposes the disparity apparent in modern society by painting the unjust system characterized by the monopoly of wealth and power in a particular group. In the survey used, Adams (2013) elaborates how most people are wrong about how wealth is currently distributed, how an ideal distribution would look like, and the facts and numbers characterizing reality. Even though multiple aspects play part in the distribution of wealth, the eye-opening video depicts how social stratification through the socioeconomic status framework has influenced inequalities. Moreover, Adams (2013) acknowledges that the situation has gradually worsened as the wealthy and rich populations continue acquiring more money at the expense of the poor, bottom, and middle population. The inconsistency is expected to continue affecting life opportunities, lifestyles, and prestige of everyone in the United States.

A comparison of both the reading and the video shows an interrelationship characterized by themes of stratification and discrimination. Both black women and the non-wealthy groups are categorized based on attributes such as their race, gender, income, and wealth. Typically, it is because of these aspects that these groups continue to face different kinds of injustices. For instance, in the case of black women, the amalgamation of both sexism (gender) and racism (race) seems to influence discrimination in employment, which influences multiple life aspects including the education acquired, lifestyle, or overall income (Smith, 2015). Comparably, the poor and bottom-and middle-class categories of the United States cannot uplift their wealth and income because of their socio-economic class. Ironically, the social stratification that appears to have played a significant part in their predisposition as non-wealthy or destitute populations continues to perpetuate the injustices by ensuring consistent suffering for them while the wealthy go on increasing their wealth (Adams, 2013). Resolutely, even though other prevalent themes could be highlighted through a comparative analysis of the reading and video; the prevalent ones allude to discrimination, social stratification, and a pattern fueled by both.

An understanding of how stratification relates to intersectionality and the Matrix of Domination needs a preliminary definition of each. First, stratification is defined as the categorization or classification of something into different groups. From a sociology perspective, it can be deemed as the application of race/ethnicity, sex/gender, age, religion, disability, and/or socioeconomic status in deciding who gets what and how much they acquire over time. Second, as mentioned earlier, intersectionality alludes to the combination of discrimination based on race and gender. Consequently, there exists a positive association between stratification and intersectionality. Moreover, intersectionality can be labelled as a sophisticated form of social stratification (Smith, 2015). For instance, the distribution of labor and income among black women is extensively influenced by their race and gender. Therefore, intersectionality prevails as a form of praxis that can be applied in challenging inequalities by using the experiences of black women in identifying common threads of injustices instigated by stratification.

On the other hand, the Matrix of Domination, also known as Matrix of Oppression prevails as a sociological paradigm. It explicates matters of oppression that deal with gender, class, and race, particularly the interlocking and interconnected system formulated by these aspects. Consequently, the relationship between stratification and the Matrix of Domination is also based on an outcome explanation. Primarily, the Matrix of Domination emanates from stratification based on a combination of race, class, and gender. For instance, for African-American women, their race/ethnicity, sex/gender, and socioeconomic class might apply in the perpetuation of injustices and common inequalities (Smith, 2015). Similarly, the association between intersectionality and the matrix of domination is prevalent through their ability to assist sociologists in comprehending power relationships and frameworks that oppress different people in society. For instance, the matrix of domination explores the collective organizations of power in a different setting while intersectionality can apply in understanding the precise societal positions of an individuality utilizing mutually assembling topographies of oppression.

Finally, the conflict sociological perspective best elaborates the core premises and themes of the subject reading and video. Typically, the conflict theory emphasizes the competition between groups, particularly over limited resources. The main theory maintains that social and economic institutions are tools of struggles between groups or classes. Consequently, based on the subject perspective, social stratification contributes to a world where specific groups benefit and at the expense of others. For instance, as depicted in the wealth distribution video, it is wrong to continue giving the wealthy more money or income with the lower socioeconomic classes continue to suffer in destitution (Adams, 2013). The conflict theory would agree that such developments only thrive due to the prioritization of capitalism. On the other hand, an understanding of intersectionality and the matrix of dominion aligns with conflict theorists’ attempts to create awareness of different insecurities. For instance, a foundation based on the mutual experiences of black women and how race and gender contribute to these outcomes could assist in fixing these challenges (Smith, 2015). Consequently, as per the principles and philosophies of the conflict perspective, stratification is the foundation for most of the problems including division based on wealth and power, and the deep disaffection, sequestration, and despair of groups such as African American women that experience consistent oppression.

 

References

Adams, Betty. 2013. “9 Out of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact.” YouTube Website. Retrieved December 4, 2020 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk5OJBry2ss)

Smith, Sharon. 2015. “Black feminism and intersectionality.” International Socialist Review. Retrieved December 4, 2020 (https://isreview.org/issue/91/black-feminism-and-intersectionality)