The “Kimberlé” tee is named after Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a celebrated contemporary scholar in the areas of race, gender, class, and the law, and more specifically the particular zones of overlap among them. Crenshaw currently serves as a Professor of Law at Columbia and UCLA, and is also the cofounder and executive director of the African-American Policy Forum (AAPF), an organization committed to the destruction of structural inequality.
In 1989, Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality, a theory that explores the ways in which the various biological, social, and cultural elements of one’s identity – such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, ability, ethnicity, and nationality – are inextricably intertwined. The interaction of these individual aspects of identity are then countered by unique forms of social inequality and injustice. For example, Black women often experience sexism differently from white women and racism differently from Black men – instead of being met with each form of oppression individually, we often face sexism that is racialized and racism that is sexualized.
The Kimberlé shirt is meant to represent the need for intersectionality and inclusivity within the movement for Black lives. So-called “revolutionary” spaces are often rampant with sexism, homophobia, and transphobia and in many ways act as a microcosm for the Black community at large. Those of us who are not only Black but also woman, and/or queer, and/or trans, and/or disabled are often expected to show up for singular Black issues, yet required to shut up about the unique strain of bearing multiple burdens. We are required to join the fight against white supremacy, but routinely ignored, harassed, or worse when we challenge Black male patriarchy and heteronormativity. We are celebrated by our brothers when we oppose the boys in blue, but silenced when we share how often we fear you too. We attend actions knowing we could just as easily be gassed by the police in front of us as we could be groped by the men behind us. We are constantly expected to choose, and disrespected when we refuse. Our fight for freedom cannot be contingent upon multiply-marginalized people leaving parts of our identity at home. It won’t be a true revolution if it celebrates by Blackness, yet continues to condemn my queerness and seeks to conquer and control my womanhood. The Revolution WILL be Intersectional – You Can’t Get Free if it Don’t Include Me.
Please Note: Unisex fit.
Original images, designs, and logos Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.