Intersectional feminism is a term coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw: an American civil right advocate, as well as a professor specialising in racial theory. Though coined by Crenshaw, black feminists prior to Crenshaw such as Audre Lorde made intersectional feminist theory what it is prior to its founding as a study.
Intersectionality is the idea that different social, economic and political components come together to form an individual’s identity. These components include class, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion etc. Due to these different components, every man and every woman is perceived differently by society.
A middle class white woman’s experience, and how she is perceived in life, is different to that of a working class white woman’s, because of social, economic and financial factors which determine which class a woman fits the category of. A white woman’s experience is different to a black woman’s experience because a Black woman is seen in light of her Blackness.
Identity is very complex. There are so many different constituents that come together to determine why an individual is the way they are. Due to this, generalisation is an issue. To say that white feminism can be used to represent the struggle of black feminists is inaccurate. White feminists can use their voice to speak out against social injustices against themselves and other women, but they will never ever be able to relate to the oppression, discrimination, prejudice and struggle that black women go through on a day to day basis because they will never be discriminated against based on Blackness.
Similarly, to use the word Black culture to describe a Black individual or a whole race is very vague. There is a wide diaspora of Black people across the world who don’t share the same demographic location, each having their own cultural and ethnic customs and values distinct to them. In Ghana alone, there are around 250 languages spoken and over 100 different ethnic groups. Therefore, to generalise a person or group of people based on one shared intersection such as skin colour is both problematic and inaccurate.