Intersectionality Until it Hurts

Any development scholar, policy maker, parent, or elementary school student requires an understanding of intersectionality to develop an accurate understanding of almost any domestic or international problem. The interactions of different identities for a single person or a population shapes every behavior of that entity to some degree, and without an understanding of these identities it is impossible for an outsider to fully understand the entities motives or goals. While I cannot exaggerate the importance of keeping intersectionality at the front of your mind regardless of who you are, when intersectionality becomes an impediment to progress, it must be seen as an impediment.

Let me clarify what sounds like a harsh perspective with an example. The site that I propose in my website will only being available so a relatively limited number of people. First, use of the site will require access to electricity and internet. Anyone who cannot afford internet access or transport to a place with access, they cannot receive the project’s benefit. Additionally, limits to my personal knowledge will keep the site only in English, and only in written text. This will prevent any non-English speaker, anyone who is illiterate, and any blind person from accessing the site without help from another person.

These limitations are substantial. It can be argued that my project does not help those suffering from learning and seeing disabilities, or those people who lack literacy. I would not contest any of those criticisms, but I will advocate for the project for years, regardless. The goal of universalizing internet access and electricity is a central focus of the UN and other international organizations. There are plenty of people who can translate a text and there are organizations working to make websites accessible to those who are illiterate of living with impaired sight. They can be brought in to the project at a later date, but immediate implementation of the project can help some people today. To ask one method to solve even one issue for every person limits any actor from enacting a new idea sometimes regardless of its strength. It is imperative that an actor create this website and the accompanying profiles quickly. Any member of any of the aforementioned stake-holding groups has a clear incentive to create the site. It is important to understand that whomever creates the site will have control the accreditation system and the site’s access costs. Each group will benefit from the site to some degree regardless of who creates it, but the creator of the site will be able to use their control to make it disproportionately beneficial to their interests. Intersectionality should be incorporated into every project as soon as possible, but total intersectionality should not stop good policy from helping people in need. Intersectionality