Welcome to This AND That, Gender Across Border’s series on Global Identities and Intersectionality!
While many of us have been subjected to check boxes that describe our personal identities as either this or that, I for one have always questioned which box I was supposed to fit into. Which category do I stick with? What label should I wear? But, I know I don’t fit into one simple box. I am this and that, and I am not the only one.
Throughout this series, readers will have the opportunity to hear stories from women whose identities have crossed paths along the lines of gender, culture, ethnicity and nationality. The impetus for creating a space such as this stemmed in large part from my own experience growing up, when identifying as a multi-cultural young women often signaled confusion, frustration and loneliness regarding my individual place in the world as well as my communal belonging. Simultaneously, being a Pakistani-Italian-American Muslim girl presented me with the opportunity to grow and evolve in a complexly multi-layered way, which in turn, acts as the reason behind some of my most fervent passions and ideals, such as feminism and gender equality.
In a February, 2011 article published in The New York Times, members of the Multiracial and Biracial Student’s Association at the University of Maryland described their experiences of being multi-ethnic as both challenging and empowering. The stories of people who identify as multiracial, youth in particular, are becoming more and more present as our social boundaries expand across streets, states and oceans, especially with the help of the ever-present world wide web. Still, the fact remains that identifying as a member of multiple socio-cultural communities all across the world does not often occur without complication or questioning. While the result of any self doubt may ultimately be positive and uplifting, coming to terms with a multifaceted identity is a journey unto itself.
When one couples their ethnic or racial identity with their gender, there is an added level of nuance that contributes to the human experience. We do not simply live our lives as one or the other, but we live through the intersections of our identities. I see, hear and understand the world as a woman in addition to my ethnic associations, which further contributes to my senses of privilege, oppression and equality.
All of the authors who have contributed to this series address issues surrounding global identities and intersectionality. Each woman sees herself and identifies herself differently. Each woman has traveled a different path to where she is today; each has approached different forks in the road along their voyages to understanding their identities. Ranging in geographic location from California to Ireland, The Netherlands to Portugal and many places in between, these stories describe moments, days and years that encapsulate the essence of having a multicultural, global identity. From stories about wearing identity as an image, to being caught between the tides of western liberalism and tradition, from the confusion of configuring an identity to knowing exactly who you, these stories share sentiments of anger, disillusionment and frustration as well as peace, understanding, beauty and hope.
This AND That: Global Identities and Intersectionality
Edited by Tahira Khalid
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Identity for Beginners by Deidré Matthee
Nepantla: Passing by Juliana Britto Shwartz
If a Place Will Never “Know” You by Elizabeth Nelson
Back and Forth by Hanneke van Velzen
Friday, April 29, 2011
Somalia, and its Discontents by Idil Holif
Worlds by Zahra Thioune
Everything I Am by Tahira Khalid
I Am From… by Syahidah Ismail