Intersectionality and Mass Gun Violence

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About this sample


Words: 922 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Words: 922|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Intersectionality, a term coined in the late 1980s by black feminist, Kimberle Crenshaw, identifies how interlocking systems of power effects those who are most disregarded by society. Intersectionality has travelled widely and been implemented by multiplicity of academic disciplines for example, literature, feminist studies, queer studies, sociology and trauma studies . Intersectionality was introduced as a ‘heuristic’ term to focus attention on the ‘vexed dynamics of difference and the solitaries of sameness in the context of antidiscrimination and social movement politics .’ Whilst intersectionality was originally grounded in the work of black feminists, intersexuality is a dynamic analytical tool that allows us to theorise other marginalised communities and other manifestations of social power

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The crucial aim of intersectional analysis is the inclusion of silenced communities or individuals, and of voices less heard; the voices we exclude are those who often carry the heaviest affliction. Intersectionality centres on the concept that human beings are shaped by the interactions of different social locations. These social locations are considered dynamic, historically grounded, and socially created. Relations between social categories develop within a larger context of related systems and organisations of power (e.g. laws, governments, media, policies and public institutions). Co-dependent systems of privilege and oppression are shaped by racism, sexism, patriarchy, imperialism, colonialism, homophobia and transphobia.

Intersectional analysis recognises that inequities are certainly not the consequence of single, distinctive factors. Rather, they result from the intersections of different social locations, experiences and dominant relations and the simultaneous interactions between diverse social-categories that form social identity. Mass shootings are distinctively intersectional issues because the acts, and the victims and perpetrators, are bolstered and constructed by intersections of hate and oppression that are entrenched in American history. Are we really shocked that a country built on the enslavement of black people, the violent persecution of LGBT Americans, and the oppression of women rights, produces mass shootings/hate crimes constructed around these forms of tyranny? Through this frame, mass shootings are not singular issues, but intersectional. The violence directly targets and threatens the lives of women, LGBT Americans, people of colour, the disabled and many other communities. American gun violence occurs in structures of racism, patriarchy, white-supremacy, as such, it should be understood as an intersectional issue. Failure to access the healthcare system due to consistent barriers, including classism and ableism, further highlights the need for an intersectional intervention. Those working with marginalised populations must cognise the impact of these processes and systems of oppression, in order to avoid further spreading health inequities that currently exist. Without considering this, policies will privilege only certain members of humanity.

By exploring the dynamics of ‘difference and sameness’ Crenshaw’s, intersectionality has played a key role in facilitating consideration of gender, race, and other axes of power . To unravel the trauma that gun violence incites, two high-profile cases of gun violence highlight the marked distinctive racial dynamics of gun violence: the state-deemed ‘justifiable’ homicide of Trayvon Martin, 2012 and the shooting that occurred at Newtown, 2012.

The survivors of the Newtown and Trayvon Martin tragedies traversed racially distinct contexts of social provision. As Butler understood, life is supported and conserved differently – whilst ‘certain lives will be highly protected […] Other lives will not find such fast and furious support and will not even qualify as “grievable. ” Sandy Hook was followed by an instantaneous outpouring of public empathy and resources, mental health services, memorials, and public remembrance. Within days, communal events were held to offer space for families and friends to mourn and process the loss and tragedy; shrines were quickly erected and conserved for months. Such resources should not suggest that the long-term/for some life-threatening trauma that survivors experienced was absolutely attended to; these substantial resources proved insufficient in resolving trauma. For instance, there have been two Parkland related suicides: Sydney Aiello, aged sixteen, Calvin Desir, also sixteen, and forty-nine-year-old Jeremy Richman, the father of six-year-old Avielle, one of twenty children killed in the December, 2012, Newtown shooting, also died by suicide. After the suicides, some Parkland students condemned the memorial events asserting that they had been “expected to brush aside our grief and deep mental wounds. ”

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We must contemplate that a large majority of gun crimes do not permit such an outpouring of public grief and support. Prior to his parents transforming his death into a public cause, Trayvon Martin’s murder was largely hidden from the US public at large. His death did not allow any specially organized resources in the form of mental health counselling or other social provisions because his death was considered “justifiable”. Martin was not only murdered but also outlawed. We must too acknowledge the ways in which suffering is diversely presented to us, and how that presentation affects our responsiveness. Grieving provides a sense of community, and it does this first of all by ‘bringing to the fore the relational ties that have implications for theorising fundamental dependency and ethical responsibility’ . Studying trauma is a “political enterprise” as it calls attention to the lives of oppressed people . The violent deaths of African American/Black boys and men are likely to be disregarded by the public and are mainly perfunctorily engaged with by law and legal officials. As a consequence, Martin’s parents and relatives were essentially left to traverse the legal and emotional repercussions of their son’s killing alone. Intersecting with disparities in social provisions in the aftermath of gun violence, the survivors of the Trayvon Martin and Parkland tragedies also experienced variances in the reaction of political and legal networks to their calls for justice and recompense. 

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Intersectionality And Mass Gun Violence. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
“Intersectionality And Mass Gun Violence.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
Intersectionality And Mass Gun Violence. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 11 Dec. 2023].
Intersectionality And Mass Gun Violence [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 29 [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from:
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