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How the Intersections of Race, Class, & Gender/Sexuality, Etc Contributed to More Complex Forms of Oppression/Subordination

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Intersectionality is a framework for conceptualizing a person, group of people, or social problem as affected by a number of discriminations and disadvantages. It takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences in order to understand the complexity of prejudices they face

In other words, intersectional theory asserts that people are often disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression: their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and other identity markers. Intersectionality recognizes that identity markers .

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Sizeable health inequalities by race, gender and class have been recorded in Canada. Consistent with traditional sociological understandings of social inequality, these axes of inequality have for the most part been considered individually, with researchers only considering potential interconnectedness when investigating whether class mediates associations between race and health or gender and health. Whether class influences health differently for visible minority Canadians and White Canadians or race influences health differently for men and women, for example, has not yet been investigated. When statistical interactions such as these have received analytical attention - for example, whether class influences health differently for Canadian men and women [3] - they have not been adequately theorized. Intersectionality theory, an influential theoretical tradition inspired by the feminist and antiracist traditions, demands that inequalities by race, gender, and class (and sexuality as well) be considered in tandem rather than distinctly. This is because these fundamental axes of inequality in contemporary societies are considered to be intrinsically entwined; they mutually constitute and reinforce one another and as such cannot be disentangled from one another

Intersectionality theory presents a new way of understanding social inequalities that possesses potential to uncover and explicate previously unknown health inequalities. This paper describes the results of an original empirical investigation of the degree to which the self-rated health of Canadians varies by race, gender, class, and/or sexual orientation in ways that are consistent with predictions of intersectionality theory. The remainder of this background section describes some of the central principles of this theoretical tradition followed by a description of the analytical strategy used to apply these principles in an empirical investigation of inequalities in self-rated health in Canada.

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According to McCarthy and Apple (1988), understanding the dynamics of race, class, and gender is essential to understanding schools and other institutions. For these reasons, Mangione chose the theory of nonsynchrony as it," . .. provides for a complex theory that attempts to deal with issues of class, race, and gender simultaneously, while at the same time seeing the issues of class, race, and gender as unique and posing different needs for different individuals at different times". For Mangione, the notion fnonsynchrony allowed for a comprehensive conceptualization of the issues ofrace, class, and gender as they applied to the differing needs and educational experiences of the individuals within the study. In conjunction with the nonsynchrony, Mangione incorporated notions of intersectionality derived primarily from Black feminist theorists. Drawing from the work focused on ideas of self-definition, self - valuation, and Afro-American women's culture as they related to each woman's educational experiences

These emergent themes were especially important and unique to these women who had suffered racial inequalities in a predominately White society, as well as gender inequalities in a male dominated society (Mantsios, G., 2000).

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Finally, this stereotype is typically applied to Asian groups in Canada, and it can result in unrealistic expectations, putting a stigma on members of this group that do not meet the expectations. Stereotyping all Asians as smart, industrious, and capable can also lead to a lack of much-needed government assistance and to educational and professional discrimination

Some critics speak of a “bamboo ceiling” when it comes to Asians reaching the highest echelons of corporate success. It has been difficult for Asian Canadians to overcome the stereotypes that they are passive, lack communication skills, are “techies,” or not “real” Canadians.

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Mantsios, G. (2000). Media magic: Making class invisible. In T. E. Ore (Ed.), The social construction of difference and inequality: Race, class, gender, and sexuality (71-79). London: Mayfield Publishing Company.

May, M. M., & Ferri, B. A. (2005). Fixated on ability" Questioning ableist metaphors in feminist theories of resistance. Prose Studies, 27(1&2), 120-140.

McCarthy, C. (1993). Beyond the poverty of theory in race relations: Nonsynchrony and social difference in education. In L. Weis & M. Fine (Eds.), Beyond silenced voices: Class, race, and gender in United States schools (pp. 325-346). New York: State University of New York Press.

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