The intersections should wake us.
All too often, when it comes to conversations about racial, gender, or other forms of equality, we concentrate on the importance of only one form of privilege or underprivilege at a time. However, this is a very inefficient and inaccurate way of solving issues related to communities affected by hate, discrimination, homelessness, drug use, etc. By looking at the bigger picture of how certain backgrounds, qualities, and characteristics affect privilege and combine to create inequity in society, we find solutions that are not only targeted towards the mainstream of ideal members of a marginalized community, we help out all communities.
This is best seen in the #BlackLivesMatter movement which, although targeted towards the issue of police brutality towards the Black community, also deals with other issues as well. For instance, it is not unheard of for leaders of this movement to specify the slogan of “Black Trans Lives Matter” and is actually in the mainstream, rather than the margins, of the Black Lives Matter movement, promoted by prominent members and leaders alike. You will also find, especially on Twitter, the foci on communities of color, in general, and even police brutality towards white people who have been caught in the crossfire of police cruelty and brutality. While some opponents claim, instead, that “All Lives Matter” or even “White Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter”, the Black Lives Matter movement is more than a slogan that only specifies equity for Black people. Black Lives Matter is actually an intersectionalist movement that is involved in creating allies of all communities. So whenever you hear competing slogans to Black Lives Matter, remember that they, in fact, know the worth and equity of the lives of other people of color and white people as well and work towards the end of police brutality period.
The disability rights movement and disability community is another example of intersectionality achieved within the foci of its ranks. While, of course, queer/trans* people and people of color (especially those in the intersections of the two) face problems, in terms of accessibility, within this community, for the most part, leaders and members of this community tend to see such problems and address them. From knowing friends, myself included, who are also disabled, we tend to care about a variety of issues ranging from race, to gender equity, to other contemporary issues. At the grassroots, the disability movement is one that embraces and highly benefits from intersectionality. As time progresses, the stigma against disability is waning, however, it is still strong and so a concept like intersectionality is accepted as a way to gain more visibility within the populace and society in general. I am disabled but I am also queer and a person of color. My Pinoy culture may not necessarily fully accept me and I may struggle within the gay community, but I do exist and that very fact does play a revolutionary role within all of the communities I am a part of because it states that a gay man can be autistic and brown, that a brown man can be gay and autistic, and that an autistic man can be gay and brown. Because of intersectionality, it is possible for me to make a difference just because of who I am because whenever I speak up as who I am, I let my community, my world know that I exist and the issues that are important to me and personal to me need to be addressed!
So when I say that intersections woke us, what I mean is that learning about the intersections of privilege (or the lack thereof) creates more understanding, not the other way around, due to the sheer fact that it allows us to better address issues that face our respective and other communities and identities.