The ways in which intersectional theory and critical race theory have been thrust into symbolic cultural battles in recent years and especially over this past week is almost as annoying as the fact that Kimberlé Crenshaw’s iconic 2016 TED Talk only has 887,251 views. I think basically everyone should watch it and everyone should share it. It’s a really good way to spend about 20 minutes.
I think the most important thing for me is that CRT is a really really useful frame for seeing and understanding real dynamics that exist in the world and since folks like Crenshaw began building it up decades ago it’s exploded into the academic world not because everyone in academia is a fucking brainwashed idiot but because its really really fucking useful for understanding some parts of all this life here. Its also, importantly, not ultimately useful for understanding everything—arguable, not useful for understanding most things. But it is really useful for understanding a lot of what we as a culture seem to be focusing our attention and our politics on today.
The two main buckets that she talks about are 1) what intersectionality has to say about our collective political imagination and 2) what intersectionality has to say about or laws and policies. These are two separate but related problems that Crenshaw has been thinking about and working toward a better world within for decades. This is probably like, the most basic gateway. Enjoy!