The inventor of the term “intersectionality,” a former member of a hate group, and a sociology professor discussed the connection between misogyny and white supremacy at a panel Wednesday night.
Around a hundred people gathered for the event, which was sponsored by the Law School Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and the National Organization for Women of New York. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Law School professor and co-founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum; Jessie Daniels, author and Hunter College sociology professor; and Angela King, co-founder of Life After Hate, spoke on the panel, which was moderated by Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW-NYC.
The guest speakers found common ground in the importance of recognizing intersectionality when analyzing white supremacy and misogyny—two topics with a complex relationship that panelists said the populace fails to understand.
“While the link is so enduring, it is so hard for us to see it,” Crenshaw, who first formulated the theory of intersectionality, said.
The speakers pointed to recent developments, such as prominent media coverage of hate groups, as examples of neglecting intersectionality. They said the portrayal of these issues has often had a restrictive narrative.
“That system of creating narratives mitigates against more complicated narratives, which includes an intersectional analysis,” Daniels said.
One such analysis includes considering the presence of women in white supremacist groups. Daniels has been tracking Stormfront, an online white supremacy group, for decades. Before it was taken down a month ago, membership numbers had continued to rise, and there was even an exclusive chat room for women in which many demonstrated feminist ideology, according to Daniels.
King, who was formerly involved with a hate group, proposed that the behavior seen on Stormfront is not uncommon and can be traced back to first-wave feminism, which often excluded people of color.
“In the olden days when white women were coming out and [joining] activism, and gathering other white women,” King said, “they were actually using that activism to dehumanize other women.”
Daniels emphasized the importance of realizing the connections between anti-racism and feminism in order to put an end to strife between them.
“If our feminism doesn’t begin with a critical race analysis, then it fits easily with white supremacy,” Daniels said. “It’s indistinguishable from it.”