|Essay type:||Evaluation essays|
|Categories:||Women Discrimination Sexes Social issue|
Intersectionality is understood as the simultaneous experience of the hierarchical categorization of sexuality, nationality, race, gender, and social class. The main focus of Intersectionality is the solidarity of sameness and the pestered forces of differences experienced by people in the same range of social interaction (Cho, Crenshaw & McCall, 2013). The critical challenge which is lesbians experience as far as the law is concerned is the fact that anti-discrimination laws differently address race and gender cases. Consequently, black women and white women experience overlapping discrimination forms, and the code is not capable of combining the two, thus it leaves them with zero justice. In this essay, I will discuss the contrast in social situations of black lesbians and white lesbians in the United States and their perceptions of New York City according to race, class, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.
Black lesbians whose social identity is not closely linked with derivatives of white women or black men face discrimination based on race, basically triple discrimination. On the one hand, the black lesbians face discrimination against race in three distinct ways; being black, being women, and being lesbians. In this case, the black and white lesbians share the same discrimination disadvantages of being women and lesbians. However, black lesbians are more disadvantaged due to the discrimination basing on their skin color. As reported by the black lesbians in New York City, it is hard for them to get romantic sex partners due to community diversity, and they usually end up developing heterosexual experiences, leading to marriage and children. The white lesbians, on the other hand, face very little complexity in their lesbian life in New York City. Ultimately, white lesbians are privileged from the function of their race, nationality, and presentation of their American identity (Goodman, 2011). According to the white lesbians, there are privileges derived from unearthed entitlements and conferred dominance, which give them the power of control in their race in the United States, unlike the black lesbians.
The black lesbians in New York City have faced discrimination depending on their social class in society. The black and white lesbians who can afford the middle-class lifestyle do not experience the same degree of discrimination with the working class. The working-class lesbians face violence through "corrective rape" where men in the New York City rape people presumed to be lesbians to convert them into heterosexuality. Most black lesbians reveal that the rigid cultural and social norms in New York City regarding appropriate feminism imposed them in a life of fear due to rejection and ridicule. However, due to the low class in the society, the working-class lesbians do not report the cases of assault, and the few who reveal the attacks face hostility and intense discrimination from the responsible service providers. Under assault cases, the lower-class women have no power financially to present themselves and fight for their rights. Therefore, since most of the black lesbians are working class, they face stiff discrimination than the whites who are mostly in the middle class up to the upper class.
Even though they are all lesbians, the black lesbians experience oppression differently to the extent that they question their identity as being women like the other whites. Through "corrective rape," the black lesbians are treated as trash with claims that they do not address the white men and other Americans with due respect. The black American lesbians are considered as weak gender compared to the other white American lesbians or even the black transgender (Shin, 2014). As noted by the American men, raping the naughty lesbians make a man a "hero," as well as creating an environment for more sexual assault to happen. Some white men announce their intent to repeat the rape cases as a way of ensuring the black lesbians maintain respect. However, white lesbians are treated with lesser intensity because they possess a distinctive social identity in the community.
Black lesbian groups often face homophobic sermons according to their traditional cultures. Some African-American churches in the New York City discourage the same-gender sexual relationships and argue that the acts are sinful. The homophobic sermons appear to discriminate against black lesbians because their spiritual well-being is decreased significantly (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2013). Due to the homosexuality discouragement, the black lesbians are no longer able to reconcile their sexual orientation with their specific spiritual identity. The religious groups have been cited as the leading in oppressing the black lesbianism in New York City. On the other hand, white lesbians interact freely because the American religion allows them to carry out their spirituality openly. The whites have the right to practice lesbianism within the society, unlike the blacks whose culture highly discourages lesbianism. It is the culture for the white Americans to practice homosexuality with little or no interruption because the religion does not qualify it as a sin. Therefore, as far as the religion is concerned, the black lesbians experience more discrimination within the society compared to the white lesbians.
Most black women and especially young adolescents, appear to be confused about who they are, what they want, and the excitement of trying new lifestyles in New York City. The young black lesbian adolescents face complexity in identifying themselves as members of the oppressed groups in New York City (Howard & Renfrow, 2014). Therefore, they are exposed to mental health degradation due to the mix-up of heterosexism, homonegativity, and societal racism. The white lesbians, on the other hand, are very concrete in their ideas because they are exposed to different lifestyles at very young ages. The teenage white lesbians assume the socially stereotypic male character by dressing like men to scare away the potential male partners. Typically, the white lesbians feel comfortable in presenting themselves as "men" to hide their desire in heterosexual behavior, and they are proud of behaving in the opposite sexuality. Therefore, there is discrimination among the black and white lesbians as far a sexual orientation is concerned. The blacks are not able to able to present themselves freely as lesbians in society.
In conclusion, Intersectionality encompasses the vast array of social, cultural, and structural contexts in which people are shaped. Black women have been featured in many journals as victims of discrimination as a result of white women and black women's experiences. Black lesbians face discrimination against race in three distinct ways in terms of being black, being women, and being lesbians. On the other hand, white lesbians experience very little complexity in their lesbian life in New York City. The intense discrimination is faced by black lesbians not only through the impacts of gender and racism but also through sexism because they are not derivatives of white women and black men's lives. Therefore, there is contrasting social discrimination between black lesbians and white lesbians in the US in terms of sexual orientation, religion, gender, class, and race.
Cho, S., Crenshaw, K. W., & McCall, L. (2013). Toward a field of intersectionality studies. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 38(4), 785-810. http://dx.doi.org/00979740/2013/3804-0001
Goodman, D. J. (2011). Promoting diversity and social justice: Educating people from Privileged groups (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge
Howard, J.A., & Renfrow, D. G. (2014). Intersectionality. In J. D. McLeod, E. J. Lawler, & M. Schwalbe (Eds.), Handbook of the social psychology of inequality (pp. 95-121). NYC, New York: Springer.
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. (2013). U. S. Religion Landscape Survey. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.
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