- Explain intersectionality and how it relates to privilege and oppression.
- How do our identities intersect and influence each other?
Intersectionality [in-ter-sek-shuh-nal-i-tee] (noun) the idea that we all have multiple identity characteristics that make us who we are, and the intersection of these identities come together to create unique forms of privilege and oppression. (Adapted from Teaching Tolerance video “Intersectionality 101”)
Privilege [priv-uh-lij] (noun) unearned benefits that someone receives due to their identity (Adapted from “White Privilege and Male Privilege” by Peggy McIntosh)
Oppression [uh-presh-uhn] (noun) a system of prejudice, discrimination, policies and ideas that benefits members of one identity group by exploiting, degrading or otherwise causing harm to members of another identity group. (Adapted from “Does "Classism" Help Us to Understand Class Oppression?” by Fred L. Pincus and Natalie J. Sololoff)
- Begin by playing “Intersectionality 101” and having students take notes.
- Explain to students that they will watch a video to learn about the concept of intersectionality. As they watch, they should use their Video Notes Handout to record important information.
- If necessary, play the video again so that students can complete their notes.
- Call on students to share their answers. Ask others to listen to see whether they agree and to recommend changes or additions.
- After creating shared class notes on “Intersectionality 101,” communicate the essential question and objective.
- Refer back to your Identity Circle from Lesson 1 to model intersectionality. Guide a whole-class discussion to list ways your identity characteristics can impact the way people interact with you and you interact with others. Note: If preferred, do not use the teacher as an example. Instead further discuss the example of Greta from “Intersectionality 101.”
- Remind students that our identities can be sensitive because they affect how people interact with us and how we interact with others.
- Explain that the way people interact with each other can be based on the idea of privilege, the idea that certain identities afford unearned benefits. Ask the students what privilege(s) you experience. Guide students to list examples in one column in a T-chart on the board, leaving room for a summary.
- Explain that the way people interact with each other can also be based on the idea of oppression. This is the idea that a minority identity group can be systematically exploited, degraded, or harmed by a dominant identity group. Ask the students what oppression, if any, might you experience. Guide the students to list examples in the other T-chart column.
- Lead the class in summarizing how your identity characteristics intersect to create unique forms of privilege or oppression. Write the summary at the bottom of the T-chart.
- Have students apply concepts of intersectionality to a character from “Bibi.”
- Put students into pairs. Assign each pair one character from the film.
- Tell students to use the T-chart Handout to list examples of how the character’s identity characteristics might impact the way people interact with that character. As with the model T-chart, students should write a short summary synthesizing how the identities intersect. As necessary, have students rewatch the film and refer to their Identities Handout from Lesson 1.
- Have three pairs of students (one for each character) present their charts. Ask them to record their findings on chart paper. These charts can be used for Lesson 3.
- As students share, have the class recommend any additions or changes. Presenting students can call on classmates to share recommendations for additions and changes, along with reasons why. Have students record any additions alongside original answers.
- After students have shared out, have a whole class discussion with the following questions.
- How do you think Ernesto understands the concepts of intersectionality, privilege and oppression? It is possible that Ernesto understands these concepts, but we cannot be certain. Ernesto’s evolution of accepting Bibi’s identity suggests that Ernesto comprehends that his initial rejection of Bibi was a form of oppression.
- Why is it important for Ernesto to understand these concepts? Understanding intersectionality would allow Ernesto to see the privileges and struggles that people experience due to their identities. This awareness could help Ernesto in a variety of ways, such as helping him accept difference and even helping him understand his own experiences of privilege and oppression.
- How might Ernesto’s privilege affect his understanding of Bibi’s sexual orientation? Ernesto initially rejected Bibi due to his sexual orientation. It is possible that Ernesto’s straight privilege clouded his understanding of the struggles Bibi experienced.
- What examples, details, and ideas from the T-charts would be most relevant in helping Ernesto understand the concepts of intersectionality, privilege and oppression? Take notes on chart paper that can be displayed during Lesson 3. Examples and ideas from Bibi’s life could help Ernesto understand. These could include the fact that Bibi went to college and law school and became a lawyer. His identities as a highly educated, upper middle class man confer a lot of privilege in Bibi’s life. Bibi is also gay and Latino, which could subject him to racism, xenophobia and homophobia.
- Exit Ticket: have students answer the essential question with a think-pair-share discussion.
- Have students answer the essential question on a scrap piece of paper. How do our identities intersect and influence each other? Ask students to incorporate vocabulary and cite evidence from the character T-charts or your T-chart.
- Have students take turns sharing out responses in pairs.
- Extend share out to the whole class. Call on pairs to share answers.
Alignment to Common Core State Standards
Written by S. Nevarez