Intersectionality Now: Putting Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw’s theory into practice

This is not a competition. This is an indictment of slacktivism that is not inclusive, nor is it intersectional.
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Photo from a silent protest for Oluwatoyin Salau.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, I referred to Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells as Dominique “Remi” Fells.
​I-n-t-e-r-s-e-c-t-i-o-n. Do we know what that means?  The irony is that I reference a song that featured Boosie Badazz, who has proven that he does not know what intersection, or tact, mean. A few months ago, Boosie was kicked out of Planet Fitness for his transphobic rant about Zaya Wade, Dwyane Wade’s daughter.
 
Already, Zaya has defined her intersection: being Black and trans. And already, she has been verbally attacked by a grown man. Keep in mind that this is the same man who says he hired a stripper for his son’s birthday, although his son is 14 years old.
 
Therein lies the problem: that Boosie is okay with a grown woman sexually assaulting his teenaged son, but he draws the line with a young girl stating how she wants to be identified. While some would call this an isolated issue, it is not; Black trans women, who Zaya will grow up to be, are ninety one percent of victims of trans genocides.
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Statistics about violence against the Trans Community provided by the Human Rights Campaign.
​Alas, “[t]his is not a new problem,” the Human Rights Campaign writes on their website. “In the seven years that the Human Rights Campaign has tracked anti-transgender violence, an average of at least 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been victims of fatal violence per year.”
 
They too note that they say “at least” because these statistics are for the people whose murders have been recorded, but they do not necessarily represent all the trans people who have been lost to trans genocides. Bearing these startling data points in mind, Boosie’s rhetoric is not isolated nor is it tolerable.
 
Trans people are being murdered at alarming rates, and he is choosing to mind the business of a 13-year-old trans girl who is living in her truth. 
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Photo from a silent protest for Oluwatoyin Salau.
​Currently, we are at an epoch of Black consciousness where we emphasize that Black Lives Matter. In this turning point, we must also note that All Black Lives Matter. That means Black Trans Lives, like Zaya’s, matter. At 13, she is doing something that some would deem radical; she is defining herself.
 
She is uttering that her Black life matters as much as anyone else’s , but she should not have to do this. In a perfect world, girls like Zaya would be able to live out their truths. More grimly, girls like Zaya would be able to live.
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Photo from a silent protest for Oluwatoyin Salau.
Last week, I went to a protest for Oluwatoyin Salau, a 19-year-old Black girl who was abducted, assaulted, and murdered by Black men. It was a silent protest for eight hours, one for each day that Toyin was missing. It is sobering  to think about how she was just six years older than Zaya, which is why we emphasize the need to protect Black girls; they grow up to be Black women who plead for help and are still not listened to.
 
At the silent protest for Toyin, one of the Blck Rising organizers named Black women who have been murdered by police who we may or may not have known. In a Ted Talk, Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw, who coined the term intersectionality, conducted a similar activity.
 
She read the audience a list of names and asked them to sit once they heard a name they did not know. For the men who were killed, the audience knew most of them. Yet, when it came to the women, more and more seats were beginning to be filled. By the end of the activity, there were about five people standing. This elucidated the problem: that when Black men are killed, they get marches. When Black women are killed, they get meme’d.
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Screenshot of people calling out the memes of Breonna Taylor’s death. (Source: Twitter)
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An example of the memes created about Breonna Taylor’s death. (Source Twitter)
​I am thinking of Breonna Taylor. Her death turned into a trend by influencers with large followings to add in with their quirky takes instead of what it should be: an outrage. There were no memes about George Floyd’s death, and that says something.

As hard as we went for him, we need to go for Sandra Bland and Korryn Gaines (who never got the justice they deserved). We need to go that hard for Riah Milton. Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells. Tanisha Anderson. Dominique Clayton. Michelle Cusseaux. Mya Hall. Yvette Smith. Pamela Turner. India Kager. Kayla Moore. And so many others.
 
When the Blck rising organizer read off the list of names, I pulled out my phone and jotted down the ones I did not know. It was a small measure, but it was important. It made me reflect on an important question: when will we amplify the lives, and deaths, of Black women and Black queer and trans people as much as we amplify that of cishet Black men? ~​

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Javanna Plummer, RWebel in Chief

Javanna is the editor of “Rwebel Magazine,” the architect behind “Rwebel Radio,” and the pioneering force of “Xscape.” Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion and forward-thinking

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