…bout racism and diversity for her publication, but I opted out —who immediately sent a tweet saying “Indian American, Indian American, Indian American, that’s important.” I paused over the correction, wondering if my original retweet missed the historical merit of Kamal…
Shamontiel L. Vaughn
Why? I assume the WW tweeter who wrote that didn’t explain. It is an example of intersectional identity issues being carried to an idiotic irrelevant extreme.
First, in this moment and forever, we should be looking at something broader than intersections. For sets, the opposite of “intersection” is “union”. The specific travails of Black women should be used to isolate the privilege of White men, and unify against that privilege both those who are Black and those who are women, instead of serving to divide non-Black women from non-women Black people.
Second, and related to the above, I would hope that all of us can recognize the historic importance of the first non White-man VP elect with politics that doesn’t seem to be all in for preserving the white Christian hetero gender binary patriarchy. Can Asian Americans revel in Kamala Harris' election? Yes. Then there is no need to emphasize her “Indian”ness.
Third, when you are the “first”, that should apply to the broadest most inclusive possible subset of humanity, not the most intersectional. Otherwise you have to list ALL the micro intersectional identities: the “first Thulasendrapuram woman”, “first rural south Indian woman”, “first Indian man or woman”, “first South Asian” … “first St Ann’s parish descent” etc.
Micro intersectionality is also a way of belittling achievements of the “first". When a woman who is not Kamala Harris is elected VP, say Helen Zia, that will be the time to worry about the importance of “first east asian american” as opposed to “second Asian American”. To be clear, I say this NOT in a spirit of competitiveness (“Indians won!”) but in the sense that the “first” opens doors for the Union of all her identities, for all those who identify with her.
I do object to being forced to select “Asian" on the census, on the hodge podge demographic questions for “research purposes only", on dating sites, on employee forms. There is absolutely a need, and a time and a place, to distinguish between subsets, say between South Asians and East Asians due to, say, the vast differences in health and diet which lead to different medical treatments and outcomes. Not to mention culture, continent, language family, colonial history, religion, philosophy … some of which are important some of the time in terms of how the actions you may take based on that information could differ.