In “Mapping the Margins” Kimberlé Crenshaw introduced the idea that different types of discrimination interact with each other, it seems that she is building on the ideas of Bell Hooks who said that the feminist movement dismissed “race and class as factors that, in conjunction with sexism, determine the extent to which an individual will be discriminated against, exploited, or oppressed.” Specifically, in the portion of the essay that I have read, Crenshaw focuses on rape and violence against women at the intersection of gender and race. She states that women of color are most vulnerable to sexual violence
Crenshaw criticizes the Violence Against Women Act of 1991, which focuses on the issue of sexual violence in the dominant community, and this strategy allows for white victims to come into focus, and the experience of violence by the minority groups is ignored.
Crenshaw also criticizes social sciences for failing to address and understand the issue from the intersectional perspective: “The marginalization of Black women’s experiences within the anti-racist and feminist critiques of rape law are facilitated by social science studies that fail to examine the ways in which racism and sexism converge”.
Here is a recent talk (from 2016) by Crenshaw on intersectionality. Her original essay was published in 1991, and the issues she described then are still very relevant today
One potential problem, or rather an omission, that I saw in the middle 20 pages that I’ve read is that Crenshaw focuses on women of color and ignores other groups of women that also experience sexual violence – for example, immigrant groups, religious minorities, and queer women. I think that these groups are subjected to the same type of violence Crenshaw describes. She does mention “other identity categories” but she does not go into the details on what these categories are, at least not in the portion of the essay that I’ve read.