Intersectionality Reading List

We recognize the complexity and importance of addressing intersectionality. Part of understanding people's lives is knowing that our experiences are different, and cannot be explained by single categories—gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. 

To honor Juneteenth, our team wanted to share a few intersectionality-themed reads we've recently enjoyed and even discussed. They've helped us understand problems, points of view, and marginalization. 

Gay, Roxane. Bad Feminist: Essays. 2014.

A 2014 collection of essays by cultural critic, novelist and professor Roxane Gay. Bad Feminist explores being a feminist while loving things that could seem at odds with feminist ideology.

Why we love it:

A must read! Funny and insightful. Roxane Gay explores her identity as a feminist and how it has impacted her life, for better or worse.

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. 2014.

A 2014 book-length poem and/or a series of lyric essays by American poet Claudia Rankine.

Why we love it:

Great and accessible read! Lots of modern examples to help understand microaggressions. Rankine's collection gives a look into what it means to be black in the 21st century.

Baldwin, James. Go Tell It on the Mountain. 1953.

A 1953 semi-autobiographical novel by James Baldwin. It tells the story of John Grimes, an intelligent teenager in 1930s Harlem, and his relationship with his family and his church.

Why we love it:

James Baldwin was a black gay man and a prominent gay rights activist. His book gives an incredible perspective on his experience.

Larsen, Nella. Passing. 1929.

The powerful, thrilling, and tragic tale about the fluidity of racial identity that continues to resonate today. Set primarily in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City in the 1920s, the story centers on the reunion of two childhood friends—Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield—and their increasing fascination with each other's lives.

Why we love it:

The novel is a great opening to discussions on passing. The title refers to "racial passing," where a member of a (usually mixed) racial group is perceived as another. Although both Clare and Irene in the novel are mixed, Clare is able to pass as white, and Irene is not. This complicates the pair's dynamic and their friendship.

Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. 1984.

A collection of essential essays and speeches written by Audre Lorde, a woman who wrote from the particulars of her identity: Black woman, poet, activist, cancer survivor, mother, and feminist writer.

Why we love it:

Lorde's works have a profound impact on contemporary feminism. In her collection, she challenges sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and classism and draws a lot on her own personal experiences as a black woman, lesbian, activist, feminist, and more.