CHAPTER 1 Intersectionality in Therapy for African American and Black Women Candice Nicole Hargons Natalie Malone Chesmore Montique* Black women’s identities—the social groups they claim membership in and the personal meaning they make from them—inform their lived expe- rience. Beyond the two identities of Blackness and womanhood, other social locations such as age, ethnicity, sexuality, and socioeconomic status influence how Black women are treated, how they understand the world, and how they act (Collins, 2000). Clinically, treatment that isolates their identity to one defining identity, rather than the intersection of many, misses the mark. This has been a long-standing critique of theory and therapies applied to Black women. During the second wave of feminism, women were striving for equal rights. However, discussions continued to develop around the question of which women were being considered. The origins of intersectionality emerged from Black women realizing mainstream feminism was about middle-class, educated, White women. In 1977, the Combahee River Col- lective, a group of Black feminists, articulated the need for an interlocking understanding of racism, sexism, and classism for Black women (Com- bahee River Collective, 1995). They saw the need for a framework that * All coauthors contributed equally to the writing of the manuscript thus, the authorship order reflects alphabetical organization by last name.
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