What Is…Intersectionality?

Today’s post is the next installment on the “What is _____?” series, where I go over terms used commonly in social justice circles that may sound like jargon to many.

Today’s “What is_____?” post will be on a very big term in social justice circles these days: intersectionality.

Intersectionality is a term to describe how different forms of discrimination overlap, combine, and yes, even intersect, with each other. While the term was originally used by Kimberlé Crenshaw 30 years ago to describe how the discrimination of women of color differed from even that of white women, the definition has since expanded in a way that the term can be used to describe how different forms of discrimination intersect to create a set of interwoven prejudices in daily life.

A few such cases where I’ve seen intersectionality at play include the following:

  • Women with disabilities of various kinds, including my mother (who has fibromyalgia and arthritis), often face ableism from people who don’t believe that they should accommodate for someone else’s aches and pains. At the same time, many of the women I know who have chronic illnesses have said quite openly that the fact that they’re women has, without a doubt, made them less likely to be believed when talking about their disabilities with friends and doctors. In the case of women with disabilities, ableism and sexism often intersect.
  • Transgender women of color face discrimination for being transgender, for being a woman, and for being a person of color. Each of these individual statuses (being transgender, being a woman, or being a person of color) is often enough, in many cases, to be at risk in certain ways, but the combination of these three identities has arguably resulted in transgender women of color being disproportionately represented in murder counts, even in the transgender community.[1]
  • Younger people with disabilities (whether visible or invisible) are often thought to be “faking it” because they look “too young” to have a disability. This attitude, and its results, means that there are a lot of young people with disabilities face discrimination at the intersection of ageism and ableism.

An understanding of intersectionality is important because, quite frankly, intersectionality also allows us to have a basic understanding of how different groups of people, even within a community that faces discrimination, can face other forms of discrimination too (or further discrimination because of another oppressed identity). Such an understanding can result in greater empathy for others on an individual level, but also hopefully better policy on the governmental level.


[1] The majority of transgender people who were killed due to violence in 2018 were transgender women of color: https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community-in-2019

I Will Write Some Posts on Blogging Advice

Not too long ago, I accepted another blogging award. Between the blogging awards I’ve received and the fact that my following is growing, I am aware that aspiring bloggers may look to people like me for blogging advice.

I am more than happy to give advice. So, that is what I will do.

My blog advice posts will tackle questions that seem to nag many bloggers, regardless of how experienced the blogger is. I will address common questions such as how to handle comments and how to grow your audience. Additionally, as I have experience blogging on contentious subjects, I will also give blog tips related to blogging on contentious subjects. In fact, my tips related to blogging on contentious subjects is what I think will make my blog advice distinctive—I know many bloggers who give blog tips, but significantly fewer who give tips on how to blog on contentious issues.

As to how frequently people should expect me to publish posts on blog advice, I’m not 100% sure. However, my guess is that I will publish a post on blog tips on a Thursday every 1-2 months or so—just enough that there’s some regularity to these posts, but not so frequent that it replaces “blind injustices” as the central theme of my blog.

I look forward to doing these posts. Blogging tips from others have taught me so much about blogging, and I hope that future generations of bloggers will learn from the tips I share.

If there are any particular blogging questions/blog advice-type issues you’d like me to talk about, please let me know in the comments below!

Heading into a Major Election Year…Without a Functioning Election Commission

I am not one for hyperbole, but the 2020 Presidential election is extremely important. In addition to many local- and state-level races, the election will determine who will control Congress for the next two years, and who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

Heading into such consequential elections, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) would be a helpful tool in making sure that candidates for the United States House of Representatives, United States Senate, Presidency, and Vice Presidency were not running afoul of federal campaign finance law.[1]

There’s one problem though—the FEC is not in a position to enforce federal campaign finance law heading into this. Why? Because the FEC needs at least four commissioners (out of six that could be in place) in order to enforce federal campaign finance law, and right now, the FEC is at…three commissioners. It was an issue noted the previous time the FEC lacked a quorum (which was just mere months ago),[2] and it’s an issue again.

The reality is that this situation has been in the making for quite a while now. Back in 2018, one of the commissioners at the time, Lee Goodman, resigned and the FEC went down from five to four commissioners—the bare minimum needed for quorum.[3] What this meant was that if one additional person resigned, retired, died, or was otherwise not present for an FEC meeting, the commission would lose the power to enforce campaign finance law. Therefore, when another of the commissioners, Matthew Petersen, resigned in August 2019,[4] the FEC was left with only three commissioners, which was short of the quorum of four they needed to make any substantive decisions. Only when Republican Trey Trainor was confirmed did the FEC regain its ability to enforce campaign finance law,[5] but it once again lost that ability when another of the commissioners, Caroline Hunter, resigned.[6]

While we wait for there to be a quorum with our election commission, I can’t help but think that heading into this election year, we actually do have a major election integrity issue. But, the issue is not with fraud resulting from absentee voting—it’s with the lack of enforcement of campaign finance law because of an election commission that is not functioning properly. Unless this issue gets resolved, I worry that 2020 will be a bit of a “wild west” in terms of adherence (or lack thereof) to campaign finance laws.


[1] Read more about the FEC here: https://www.fec.gov/about/mission-and-history/

[2] https://www.npr.org/2019/08/30/755523088/as-fec-nears-shutdown-priorities-such-as-stopping-election-interference-on-hold

[3] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/it-s-going-be-crisis-turning-out-lights-undermanned-fec-n1048376

[4] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/a 2020-election/it-s-going-be-crisis-turning-out-lights-undermanned-fec-n1048376

[5] https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/498619-fec-regains-authorities-after-senate-confirms-trump-nominee-as

[6] https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/26/fec-caroline-hunter-resigns-341396

The Real Issue Exposed by the Unemployment Benefits Debate in the United States

There’ve been some studies suggesting that many Americans that were on unemployment benefits with the old amount (which included the $600 a week enhanced unemployment benefits)—maybe even close to 70% of Americans on unemployment benefits—were receiving more money from their benefits than from the jobs they used to hold.[1] That seems to be why the matter of unemployment benefits became such a contentious debate.

Those advocating for less generous unemployment benefits during COVID believed that the issue was with the benefits being way too large, to the point of potentially dissuading some from seeking work. I’d argue, though, that the issue is misdiagnosed—the issue is that so many employers are so outrageously cheap that the bar for “generosity” has been set so low.

Consider the fact that an American on unemployment benefits was receiving, on average, $921 a week.[2] That amounts to $47,892 if you extend that for an entire 52-week year—an amount still low enough that it would not cross the threshold to a living wage for a family of three in even the most affordable states in America.[3] In other words, individuals were (on average) receiving less than the equivalent of a living wage, and that was still more generous than what most Americans on unemployment benefits were receiving from their previous employers. Considering that fact, the issue is that most employers of these former employees did not think their employees were worth enough to pay them a living wage, so that employees can easily afford rent, groceries, utilities, and many other basic items. Full stop.

The systemic issues that have led to such low wages for so many Americans may take years, if not decades, to address (if they get addressed). In the interim though, we should stop saying that unemployment benefits were “too generous”—instead, many former employers were not generous enough.


[1] https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/many-americans-are-getting-more-money-from-unemployment-than-they-were-from-their-jobs/

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/30/the-600-unemployment-boost-is-almost-over-for-some-their-aid-will-fall-93-percent.html

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/04/map-shows-what-a-living-wage-would-be-in-every-us-state.html

Shared Post: On COVID, Part 5000

I haven’t shared another blogger’s post on here in some time, but I think the post I have here today is worth sharing.

I think it’s important to elevate the voices of people in populations most vulnerable to the virus. Therefore, I thought it was important to share a post that Jackie at Disability & Determination wrote a few days ago about the consequences of overwhelmed hospitals for people with disabilities. I’m not going to spoil her blog post, but they are immense, and in many cases, deadly. I am sharing a link to her blog post as well as her blog below.

Read Jackie’s blog post here

Read Jackie’s blog here