Social justice advocacy has entered a new era. Rising expectations brought about by the remarkable shift in the national political arena have heightened the need to rethink standard approaches to social justice advocacy. One of the most significant aspects of current social justice practice that warrants rethinking, is the dominance of a particular orientation that disaggregates social problems into discrete challenges facing specific groups. These groups are often defined in mutually exclusive ways, generating artificial distinctions and sometimes conflicting agendas.
This approach—sometimes called the single-axis analysis—corresponds to the silo-oriented structure of social justice mobilization and grant making. Interventions based on such models can frequently be ineffective and sometimes even lead to unnecessary exclusion and conflict within social justice movements. In cases where race, gender, sexual identity and class work together to limit access to social goods such as employment, fair immigration, healthcare, child care, or education, it is essential that social justice interventions be grounded in an understanding of how these factors operate together.
Intersectionality can provide that grounding.