Intersections Small and Large
When thinking of my own life, I have never really realized how many things need to "come together" to make me who I am in a social context. Our society is so complex and we are such social beings that every historical event has led to my "place" on earth at this time. I feel because of how modern-day American society runs, my race, class, gender, and sexuality play a role in how I perceive the outside world and how the outside world perceives me.
Take my sexuality for example. I am "defined" as a heterosexual female. However, what does this mean? In previous readings from the Ore text, we learn that heterosexuality is socially constructed in such strict terms, but I feel that it is a part of who I am somehow. In this society, it somehow places me at an advantage in certain arenas over someone who is not heterosexual with regards to financial obligations, options for marriage and benefits, and the lack of discrimination I feel in my surroundings. I know this to be true, but I don't know why there is such emphasis on it. I have subconsciously simply "accepted" this to be true.
My sexuality also intersects with my class. I have more co-health care options as I enter into the workforce with my spouse, I will have more options for jobs because I am not discriminated against by homophobics in positions of hiring power. There have been laws to banish such ridiculous practices, but it still exists. Again, I cannot talk about my class without regards to my race and gender.
My race and gender intersect with my class. Again in this society, unfortunately race and gender still play a part in our life opportunities. Because of my gender (female) I may be paid less or discriminated against in the workplace. I will also have the perceived extra burden (as talked about in the readings) of extra housework because of my gender. My race (European-American) also plays a role, but for me it has been in a neutral, therefore positive way. I have never felt burdened because of my skin tone, so I can assume that is an advantage.
These categories play out in both small and large arenas, from within my individual self, to conversations with small groups, to my University classes, to my city, state, region, country, and even world. These intersections leave us confused and challenge the notion that everyone has a set "place" in society. If we can deconstruct these categories and have everyone understand how superficial they all are, we can promote change and simply become human beings.