Buzzwords into Buzz Saws

On days when I lift my head above the torrent of details at the Women’s Center, I check out a few sources of current thinking, especially as relate to women’s experience.

I’ve found a lot of insightful articles in Wear Your Voice magazine. However, a recent article left me wondering about their editorial oversight. Where does a righteous rant cross over into hate speech?  In particular, when does the buzzword  ‘intersectionality’ become a weapon rather than a rallying cry?

At Oakland Women’s Center, 73% of our members are Black, with an increasing number of Latinas. Every day brings a new twist in the ways their lives are shaped by abuse, exclusion, and poverty. Our job is to find a path through the damage to begin the healing, and then eventually mobilize their full power as women.  It’s a slow process, fraught with fearful setbacks. The women have taught me more than I can say about patience, about the pointlessness of ‘expectations’, about the power of believing in their  essential value and uniqueness.

All women, no matter their ‘class’ or purported social privilege, share the millennial-old burden of second-class citizenship. This manifests in a whole range of painful ‘practices’, from the egregious violence of genital cutting and forced early marriage, to the quotidian undermining of self-worth by both men and by battalions of women who’ve not yet understood and embraced the value of sisterly support.

It’s important to me that publicly posted essays deliver insight and/or inspiration. Ranting for its own sake merely provokes anger, confusion, doubt.  We’ve already got too much of that in major media.

What’s needed is a lot less rant and a lot more doing to improve women’s lives. Time has never been more of the essence.

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