Intersectionality, in other words, the analysis of how various social categories interact with each other to shape people’s experiences, is a critical concept that can help in the understanding of human experience historically and in the present. Scholars argue that intersectionality as a sociological theory describes the numerous threats related to discrimination faced by an individual in the event his or her identities overlap several other minority classes such as gender, age, ethnicity race, health, and others (Gopaldas 90). For instance, both historically and in the present, African American women have faced sexism in the workplace and other social contexts with these being compounded by increased racist practices. It should also be noted that women of color are subjected to significantly high levels of discrimination as well as threats of violence. For the most part, intersectionality is applied to women although men can also be affected by the same. A perfect example is where a black man could face xenophobia in modern America despite being a registered or naturalized American citizen. There are several events or trends in history in which gender changed the experience of race or ethnicity as already mentioned.
The rape of Recy Taylor is one of the events in history that give insight into how gender changes the experience of race or ethnicity. In 1944, when Taylor was 24 years, she was kidnapped, blindfolded and raped by six white men on her way home from church. This is just but one of the several cases of racially motivated rape by white men in ancient and modern American society (McDonald n.p.). The vice has existed for a long time, and this is because the community does not give much attention to the problems faced by women of color in society. Following the rape incident, Taylor did not remain silent as she had promised the perpetrators earlier but went ahead to tell her family about her experiences. Anti-rape activists such as Rosa Parks agitated and pushed for the prosecution of Taylor’s attackers although this set the stage for more troubles. Taylor’s home was bombed which forced her to stay with her relatives, and she did not found the needed refuge when she turned to the police. This event and several others similar to this have seen gender change the experiences of race or ethnicity. The bottom line is that Taylor’s rape is part of a continuous campaign of terror that is a significant threat to women of color. Amidst these experiences, the fact that black women are victims of white terror has been ignored by society.
Immigration is a widely talked about and debated topic in the United States historically and in the modern times. There is the belief that there is a significant difference between today’s immigrants and those who came to the United States in the past between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, many people believe that there is minimal or no difference between modern-day and past immigrants. What this faction of people fails to realize is that modern immigrant families are assimilated easily since they learn English on average one generation faster than immigrants of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Regarding areas of origin, immigrants of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came from both developed and developing countries with the primary objective of contributing to the industrialization of America. Some of the developed countries that sent immigrants to the U.S. during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries include England, France, Scotland, and Germany. The developing countries that sent immigrants to the U.S. at the time include Scandinavian countries, Norway, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Italy. Those from developed countries landed high-paying jobs whereas those from the developing countries at the time landed low-paying jobs. However, today’s immigrants into the U.S. are primarily from developing countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa (Anbinder n. p.). In fact, most of the immigrants today remain unemployed with those lucky to join the employed population earning about 20 percent less than average native-born workers
In terms of immigration restrictions, it can be argued that today’s immigrants face more restrictions when it comes to gain acceptance as compared to past immigrants. This is evident in Trump’s administration that is pushing for the enforcement of strict anti-immigration policies such as the deportation of illegal immigrants. One of the reasons for this difference is the recent American terror attacks and increased crime rates all of which are linked to illegal immigrants. Muslim immigrants have a hard time gaining acceptance in the U.S. today as compared to before. Although Americans feared that Italian Americans were terrorists in the early twentieth century, a significant number of Italian Americans gained entry into the U.S. at the time. Moreover, unlike before, today’s immigrants are subjected to numerous kinds of discrimination, particularly racial discrimination in every context. Many people attribute this to the fact that assimilation is held back. Today, a single ethnic or racial group can dominate an area of several city blocks. In Miami, for instance, almost half of the population are immigrants who speak English poorly with 73 percent of the city’s population speaking a language other than English (Mekouar n.p.). This is different from hundred years ago when it was rare to find single ethnic groups dominating specific areas.
Anbinder, Tyler. “Todays Immigrants Are No Different Than Your Immigrant Ancestors.” History News Network, 30 Oct. 2016, historynewsnetwork.org/article/164262.
Gopaldas, Ahir. “Intersectionality 101.” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 32. special issue (2013): 90-94., https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ahir_Gopaldas/publication/256043353_Intersectionality_101/links/5711799008aeff315b9f7add.pdf
McDonald, Soraya Nadia. “’The Rape of Recy Taylor’ Explores the Little-Known Terror Campaign against Black Women.” The Undefeated, The Undefeated, 14 Dec. 2017, theundefeated.com/features/the-rape-of-recy-taylor-explores-the-little-known-terror-campaign-against-black-women/.
Mekouar, Dora. “Past Immigrants Had It Easier Than Today’s Newcomers – All About America.” VOA, 27 Apr. 2015, blogs.voanews.com/all-about-america/2015/04/27/past-immigrants-had-it-easier-than-todays-newcomers/.