Marginalization by the Marginalized
THE COMPLEXITIES OF MARGINALIZATION & INTERSECTIONALITY
When we think of marginalized communities, we think of them as separate entities, grouping them with their respective ethnicity, culture, religion, and etc. Yet, when we think of marginalization, we think of it as a monolithic experience, where those who experience it, experience it the same way. And when we look at marginalization, we believe that those who are marginalized are exempt from perpetrating it upon others. However, within this important discourse, the two aforementioned points are completely incorrect.
AN INTERSECTIONAL LENSE TO UNDERSTAND THE LEVELS OF MARGINALIZATION
Marginalization must be analyzed from multiple angles, where one must see how the identities of an individual intersect to form their known experience. An example may include a black woman compared to a black, queer woman, compared to a black, queer woman who practices Islam.
Within this example, one sees how the experience cultivated within the lives of each respective woman is different due to an additional identity which may not be generally-well respected in American society. The experiences do not belittle one another (no one wins a trophy for experiencing worse trauma), but rather, the experiences shine a light on a more pressing issue: how marginalized peoples can perpetrate marginalization themselves.
DILEMMAS AND THE PERPETUATION OF DISCRIMINATORY SUPERSTRUCTURES
Many may ask how when a substantial amount of people experience marginalization, how can people still tolerate it? And the short, vastly-reductive answer is: people like to be on a higher pedestal versus others, whether that affinity is subconscious or conscious.
When we look back to the previous example, what is the scenario that can occur to let’s say, to the black, queer woman who practices Islam. Many times, she can experience misogyny from her own black men in her community, anti-blackness in the LGBTQ+ community, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in the Islamic community, and Islamophobia within the LGBTQ+ community. This is of course, the worst case scenario if these all compounded, but these are all very valid things that could happen.
It is this paradox of where the people who strive to hopefully evade the marginalization that they are afflicted with, inflict others with the same experience. The human tendency to put down others is thus our communities’ greatest downfall, because marginalization remains an intertwined experience. Where if at least one group is oppressed, then that launches a domino-effect upon the oppression of other groups. For, if we allow the oppression of one group to continue, it means that we continue to have the mindset that people’s identities are ranked in an hierarchy, which forms the basis of marginalization.
AYANA AND INTERSECTIONAL TREATMENT
This is why AYANA constantly emphasizes its message and goal to treat through an intersectional lens. We understand that marginalization manifests itself in many ways, and consequently, that trauma manifests itself differently among every individual. We seek to match those with their unique experiences with a therapist who can understand, commiserate, and effectively treat their issues, whether it’s understanding the inner dilemma of race and the socio-political landscape of America, one’s faith and sexuality, gender and underestimation, or even all of the above. And through the advent of our app, we hope to start not only allowing people to seek this help, but start a conversation of how all of us must come together and rethink how we view the individual identities of others.