Intersectionality and The Process of Including Minorities in Narratives

Okay, so I tried writing this post a few times. Lots of deleting took place. Needless to say, it sounds like it’s something I’m genuinely afraid of. Therefore, let’s talk about my journey with understanding intersectionality and the inclusion of minorities to narratives.

Introduction to Intersectionality

This is a sad thing, but I didn’t really find out about intersectionality until perhaps the final days as part of academia. Before then, I was feeling like the only person who somehow intersected between various communities. I was listening to a lot of John Green and Hank Green videos, and they mentioned Rosianna, who makes incredible videos that I love to this day. (I’m particularly fond of her Backburner series). Hannah Witton, Leena Norms, Marina Shut Up  became some of the people who are constant in my life, even now, as influences.

I was pretty unaware of the term itself, though, until a year or two ago, when I watched this video by Akilah Obviously. 

My Relationship with Intersectionality

I’ll admit it: I get scared of messing up somehow. For instance, I haven’t been able to write a single novel since I started listening to more critique of fiction. This is not me blaming anyone. It’s mostly because I have experienced frustration when it comes to being excluded from narratives.

For me, the usual dialogue centered on white straight and able-bodied people. I mean, I think back on Faulkner and how haunting it was to read about disabled people mis-represented (to put it lightly).  How about that horrid Mice and Men?  Let’s not talk about My Antonia and Othello. Even Wuthering Heights which was among my favorites once upon a time, had intensely problematic approaches to race.

My experience was of extreme exhaustion when it came to traditional (academic) discussions of fiction, because they were almost always exclusive to those who have extreme privilege.  Everyone else was demonized and vilified.

Because of this, I am afraid of offending someone, of leaving someone out. I know that I’ll always work to be more inclusive and welcoming.

However, I do want to say that this is a process, and it is very subjective in certain cases. For me, I’m mostly aiming to use #ownvoices to help determine if a certain work was problematic.

 Moving Forward

Like I said, my journey as an intersectional feminist is one where self-discovery (as a disabled asexual aromantic person of color who is Muslim). But, really, it’s about finding my place in the conversation. Even more importantly, it is dependent also on remembering when to shut up and raise other voices instead.

Your Turn:

What is your relationship with intersectionality and inclusivity (it’s a word if I say so, laptop!)? Are there certain resources you use to find #ownvoices reviews of fictional work and media? Please share it with me! I am always trying to be more supportive of other minorities.


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One thought on “Intersectionality and The Process of Including Minorities in Narratives

  1. See, I don’t actually understand how people find all these #ownvoices books or know that a book is #ownvoices. Like, do they just read a lot of author bios? What if the author doesn’t put their gender/sexuality/disaibility/etc. in their bio? Idk. But I don’t really have much to offer to your post since I am not even intersectional (is that a word?) myself. I agree though that it is hard to find books, especially ones written well, about characters who are X *and* Y. As a writer though, I’d say don’t stop yourself from writing about a certain type of character just because you’re worried about excluding others. You can’t include every single ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, mental illness, gender, etc. all in one book. But it’s when more authors start writing about them that there are more options and more chances for people to find a character like them 🙂

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