Intesectionality: Gender, Race and Gangs Essays

2452 Words10 Pages
Intersectionality: Gender, Race, and Gangs Introduction In much of social science research, gender, race, class, and other dimensions of identity are treated as discrete variables, to be studied and measured separately. In recent years, however, feminist sociological theorists have argued that race, gender, class, and other axes of identity must be treated as overlapping and intersecting forms of oppression. Kimberlé Crenshaw, (1989) was among the first to articulate this theory, and coined the term “intersectionality” to describe it. Intersectionality has emerged as a major paradigm of research in women’s studies (McCall 2005). In her book Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hill Collins argues that we must understand “race, class, and…show more content…
Through in-depth interviews with 20 female gang members in Columbus, Ohio, Miller (1998) found that women often have difficulty being accepted as gang members. Many attempt to show “masculine” leadership qualities, such as being tough, able to fight, and being willing to engage in criminal acts for the gangs. Beliefs that women are weaker than men, however, mean that women have a harder time proving their commitment to the gang. Nevertheless, women might also gain acceptance through connections to influential, high-status men – a route to acceptance that is less available to men (Miller 1998). Women’s participation in crime within the gang is also different from men’s. Though girls are involved in less serious forms of delinquency, gang boys are still more likely to be involved in the most serious forms of crime, such as drive-by shootings and gun assaults. This is due both to the deliberate exclusion of girls from these types of crimes and the fact that young women themselves often use gender as means of avoiding crimes they find dangerous or morally dubious (Miller and Brunson 2000). The lesser involvement of girls in more serious forms of crime, however, can lead to the devaluation and mistreatment of female gang members because they are perceived as less valuable to the gang. Female gang members are also more likely to be sexually mistreated than male gang members (Miller 1998). Given these

    More about Intesectionality: Gender, Race and Gangs Essays

      Open Document