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ERIC Number: EJ1143315
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1946-7109
Intersectionality as Education Policy Reform: Creating Schools That Empower Telling
Beck, Brittney
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v13 n2 Win 2016-2017
Brittney Beck wrote this commentary two days after the act of terror and hate that occurred at Pulse in Orlando, Florida in which Omar Mateen murdered 50 people at a queer night club during a celebration of LatinX cultures and identities. Historians have long observed that social movements are preceded by tragedy. Anyon (2014) argued that schools in general and teachers in particular occupy a practical and theoretical space at the center of community crises. As a result, educators--consciously or not--are irrevocably tethered to the oppression or liberation of their students and share responsibility in responding to and further preventing community atrocities (Anyon, 2014). In the wake of this tragedy, Beck urges educators to not neglect their unique and essential role in the movement for the safety and empowerment of queer identities and identities of color and to be attentive to how these identities intersect to create matrices of oppression in schools and communities. The commentary begins with a brief description of intersectionality and then provides insight into how Beck began to see the intersections of queer and racial issues as they manifested in her first grade classroom. Following a glimpse of the consequences for not understanding intersectionality, which left her complicit in the oppression of her students, she then reframes intersectional issues in education through the lens of anti-discrimination policy reform. This reframing offers a first step schools can take to begin providing students and educators with discourses to share their full narratives, respond to their unique oppressions, and advocate for their civil rights and human dignities in more effective ways. As a White, cisgender, queer woman and educator, this commentary is shaped by an ever-deepening understanding of Beck's own role as an ally to queer communities, communities of color, and the intersections of these identities in P-12 and higher education contexts.
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A