Dear Beloved Reader, we're going to be real with you.
We're asking you to join our membership program so we can become fully financially sustainable (and you'll get cool perks too!) and avoid shutting down.
Every year, we reach over 6.5 million people around the world with our intersectional feminist articles and webinars. But we now depend 100% on reader support to keep going.
If everyone reading this only gave $12, we could raise enough money for the entire year in just one day.
For the price of a single lunch out, you can help save us. We're an independent feminist media site led entirely by people of color. If Everyday Feminism has been useful to you, please take one minute to keep us alive. Thank you!
It’s a term that refers to the connections between our various identities and the different forms of oppression that we deal with.
And because we each have a unique set of identities, intersectionality has a unique meaning to each of us – so we can learn a lot from each other by finding out what being intersectional means to each of us.
So here’s a short video from #RaceAnd that shines light on a perspective we don’t get to hear from nearly enough. Social justice educator and musician Sonny Singh shares what navigating the world is like for him as a South Asian, turban-wearing, Sikh man – who also holds some positions of privilege.
If you don’t already know how racial profiling and religion relate to one another and to intersectionality, here’s your chance to learn – and if this already sounds familiar, then here’s a reminder that you’re not alone.
The Editors at Everyday Feminism
Click for the Transcript
My name is Sonny Singh. I’m a musician and a social justice educator.
Race and religion.
We all have multiple identities, and those multiple identities are intersecting to affect our experience, to affect the way that we walk through the world. I am South Asian. I also consider myself Punjabi. I am Sikh, as in S-I-K-H, the faith. I am a cisgender man.
[Text: Cisgender: Describes a person who identifies with their assigned-at-birth gender.]
I am straight, and I grew up middle class. I am able-bodied. Structural racism, structural religious oppression, or Christian hegemony, structural patriarchy, or sexism, all of these things are actually interlocked in society. Intersectionality means that we acknowledge that, that we actually all have to fight against all forms of oppression if we actually truly want to get free.
[Text: Why is race important to consider along with other identities?]
I can’t think about my racial identity as a brown person or as a South Asian American without also experiencing the racialized aspect of being a Sikh, right? Being someone who wears a turban, who has a beard, those are very racialized things, even though for me, they have to do with my religion. I haven’t been able to walk through this world or to walk through this country as a brown skinned, turban wearing, beard having man, without that being just very apparent in the stares that I get, in the derogatory comments, the “terrorists,” the “Osamas,” the “ISIS.”
My religion, Sikhism, has sort of been compounded with this vilification of Muslims and Muslim looking people at large. You know, that might technically be religious oppression, for example, or that might be tied to Islamophobia.
[Text: Islamophobia: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias & discrimination.]
But those things are deeply tied to racism and white supremacy more broadly.
[Text: What about people who think talking about our differences divides us?]
My race, my gender, my religion, might very well have consequences on whether I make it walking down the street alive. That’s the reality that we’re living in, so to not talk about them, to not confront those things very directly, to me, is really the divisive thing, right? That’s allowing these divisions and allowing these hierarchies and allowing these injustices to continue perpetuating against themselves. If we don’t stand up against them, if we don’t amplify our voices against these things, they’re going to continue on whether we like it or not.
[Text: Last words?]
What’s been harder is thinking about my intersectional self along the lines of the ways I think about privilege, right? So my cisgender maleness, right? My heterosexuality, the class privilege I had growing up. Those things have always been much harder to look at. If we have sort of a choice whether to implore one or more of our identities, it probably means that we have a relative amount of privilege. If we really want to be intersectional, we really have to challenge ourselves to also implore the ways which we experience privilege, and the ways that we can be in solidarity with folks that don’t have as much privilege.
Sonny Singh gives us insight on how he navigates the world as a South Asian turban wearing Sikh man but also sheds light on how his privileged identities as a cishet abled bodied middle class man can be utilized to stand in solidarity with others. Learn more about Sonny’s work as a social justice educator here, listen to his band Red Baraat, and make sure to follow him at @brooklynsingh.
#RaceAnd is a video series produced by Kat Lazo exploring the ways that race compounds and intersects with all the other issues faced by people of color. Each video features a different artist, activist, or thinker, sharing their lived experience of how race intertwines with their other identities, and how that mix impacts their lives both personally and systemically. Learn more by visiting our website.