KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW

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Kimberlé Crenshaw is a leading scholar of critical race theory, a professor at Columbia Law School, co-founder of Columbia’s African American Policy Forum, and director of their Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, and president of the Center for Intersectional Justice in Berlin.


She received her Bachelor’s degree in government and Africana studies from Cornell University in 1981, her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1984 and an L.L.M. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1985 where she was a William H. Hastie Fellow.


Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in a paper in 1989, entitled "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” She argued that being a black woman could not simply be understood in terms of being black and being a woman, but must include interactions of the two identities, for example, black women who are victims of sexual and domestic violence from men, experience a combination or intersection of racism and sexism, but these systems of oppression are designed to either address race or sex independently, but not at the same time. Now, her word is widely used in relation to racial justice, identity, policing and social politics.

The following are interview questions published by Columbia Law School on June 8th, 2017:


When speaking about the impact of AAPF initiative #SayHerName, shedding light on Black women who have been victims of police violence:


“The impact can be measured first by noting how infrequently any woman was mentioned as a victim of police violence just two years ago, and now we hear often about “men and women” killed by police, or “African-Americans” rather than “African-American men.” Sandra Bland is the most often mentioned, and many people know the name, Rekia Boyd. But too few know Tanisha Anderson, Mya Hal, or India Kager. The sense that this itself is a problem is a new recognition, one that activists, elected officials, and even families are beginning to give voice to.


But the most significant shift has been in the consciousness of mothers who have lost daughters to police violence. We’ve brought them together several times. They have said that their determination and ability to fight has been grounded on their awareness that they are not alone; that there are other mothers who are also struggling in obscurity; that they are a sorority that no one would want to join; and that now that they have found each other, they can receive and provide support, and even permission to find joy in life after such an unspeakable loss.”


Crenshaw was named professor of the year in 1991 and 1994 at UCLA School of Law, appointed a Fulbright Chair for Latin America in Brazil in 2007, received the Alphonse Fletcher Fellowship in 2008, named #1 Most Inspiring Feminist by Ms. Magazine and made the Power 100 in Ebony Magazine in 2015, won the Outstanding Scholar award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation in 2016 and receive the Gittler Prize for outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic and/or religious relations from Brandeis University in 2017.

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