Intersectionality – Location [IBARW]

Note – This is dealing with location in place as opposed to time which is a different, but related post because of course time and place intersect with each other.

I think one largely unexamined part of the intersectionality is where a person is located. There are things that can be done/said in a large cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, etc. that is not considered acceptable behavior in smaller towns.

Of course it’s not as simple as all that. There are also things that can be done in other countries that  can’t be done here and vice versa, I’m simply focusing on America because that’s where my experience lies. 

Even within the larger cities mentioned above there are other considerations. I live in San Francisco which is largely considered one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. yet there are areas where I as a man of color do not go at certain times because I know that I will either be pulled over by police or harassed by members of the community because of my perceived threat level. These places I feel unsafe are often the richest neighborhoods in the city which are often considered by the more mainstream as the “safest” places in the city.

Intersectionality is not just the intersecting identities within ourselves but how we interact with others identities and how our identities are shaped by things around us including our locations and subsequent societal expectations of that location. We are swayable by our location in more intricate ways than people think.

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One response to “Intersectionality – Location [IBARW]

  1. Even within the larger cities mentioned above there are other considerations. I live in San Francisco which is largely considered one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. yet there are areas where I as a man of color do not go at certain times because I know that I will either be pulled over by police or harassed by members of the community because of my perceived threat level. These places I feel unsafe are often the richest neighborhoods in the city which are often considered by the more mainstream as the “safest” places in the city.

    Everything is relative, and people don’t often get that (esp. if they don’t have to.) I – about as non-threatening a white woman as one can find (no tats, my hair is a color found in nature, of medium length, I dress in drab colors mostly) – have had the cops called on me in the ritzy bedroom community of Boston corporate professionals next town over, for being visibly poor and shabby in the vicinity of a bank. It happened to be *my* bank (or a branch thereof) where I was waiting for them to open so I could make a deposit and get some cash, but I as a female college student doing my homework in a cheap economy car was SCAAARY to the middle-class middle-aged white women behind the counter.

    –Yeah, I was pissed off. I was also VERY glad that the cop didn’t ask to see what I was writing, as it was my Russian homework. (!) This was back in the early 90s, btw – not a new development.

    This is the same town from which another school acquaintance of mine (also white) reported with a boggle the incident of a customer being unwilling to come to her specialty pet food store, two miles away, a while back. Why? [whisper over the phone] “You’re in MANCHESTER!” –Well, yeah, said my former classmate. [quieter whisper] “There are BLACK PEOPLE there!”

    We’re like 90% white, btw. But still more diverse than your typical Hollywood film or TV show – I couldn’t keep tally of the mixed-race couples and families I saw at the mall and downtown this weekend, or the number of people I heard speaking other than English. I passed a car this AM a couple blocks from my house on the way to the bus stop that had a Somali Pride sticker and a sticker reading “Allah is the light of the world” in Arabic and English. There’s a store that sells daishikis down the block from the main police station downtown, and a brujeria [sp?] store a few blocks from where I work.

    Point being, I feel more comfortable walking – as a small white woman – in the blue-collar neighborhood where I may hear only Spanish – or Farsi – being spoken on the sidewalk on any given evening, than I do in ritzy, Republican high-property-values Bedford, where the neighbors will call the cops on you for being visibly poor, let alone ethnic… (Plenty of their kids are rebelling, though, so it’s not going to stay that way forever.)

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