Perspecitive on Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Other Grounds: Latinas at the Margins
By Faith Edem
This Article proposes an alternative approach to discrimination claims.
She uses the ‘intersectional approach‘ as a vehicle and focus on the lived realities of racially or
ethnically defined women—specifically Latinas.
An intersectional approach recognizes the unique experience of the individual based on the
intersection of all relevant grounds—gender, color, ethnicity class, immigrant status & disability.
Traditional top-down rigid legal prescriptions are insufficient to solve these complex matters of
The idea is to create judicial standards that require more proactive anti-discrimination programs
I argue that Latinas have unique vulnerabilities and are more likely to experience multiple forms
of discrimination because they have multiple identities.
This article presents a narrative of the Latina experience within the intersectional framework.
I. An Introduction to the Intersectional Approach
The concept of intersectionality have been defined as the oppression that arises out of the
combination of various forms of discrimination.
It is assumed that racially or ethnically defined women experience discrimination in a
completely different way. An intersectional approach recognizes this concept.
Most importantly, it focuses on society‘s response to the individual as a result of the confluence
of grounds for discrimination, and does not require the person to slot herself into rigid
compartments or categories.
Women of color in particular are often the subject of both racism and sexism. In the United
States, black women and Latinas are the least likely to have men prosecuted and incarcerated.
Jurors may be influenced by sexualized propaganda into believing that racialized women are
likely to consent to sex.
More over racially or ethnically defined women may be disproportionately affected by the
experience of racism when, due to labor market segregation. Women faced with multiple forms
of discrimination are often left with remedies that do not fully take into account the injury.
II. Comparative and International Approach
Several international human rights organizations and mechanisms have acknowledged , either
explicit or by reference, the race and gender frequently interrelated (The World Conference on
Women, Social and Cultural Rights, etc)
o B. Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada has recently included comments on multiple and
intersecting grounds of discrimination.
However though multiple levels of discrimination may exists, multiple levels of
protection may not. Canadian courts are thus evolving from addressing intersectionality within a
limited context to fostering a broad understanding of the concept and using it to
remedy problems of intolerance.
o C. United States
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of
carious factors, including sex, race, and national origin.
U.S. courts have slowly accepted the notion that discrimination may be based
on multiple factors, but many continue to have difficulty conceptualizing
Discussions regarding intersectional theory first took place in the context of
black women‘s experience.
Because Title VII doe