Kimberle Crenshaw is a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and the University of California, Los Angeles, and has written in the areas of civil rights, black feminist legal theory, and race, racism, and the law. Crenshaw is director of the Law School's Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS), which she founded in 2011. She is also co-founder of the African American Policy Forum.
Crenshaw's work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the National Black Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, and the Southern California Law Review. She is a founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory workshop and co-editor of Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement. Crenshaw has lectured nationally and internationally on race matters, addressing audiences throughout Europe, Africa, and South America. She has facilitated workshops for civil rights activists in Brazil and in India, and for constitutional court judges in South Africa.
Crenshaw's work on race and gender was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution. In 2001, she authored the background paper on Race and Gender Discrimination for the United Nations’ World Conference on Racism and helped facilitate the inclusion of gender in the WCAR Conference Declaration. In the domestic arena, she has served as a member of the National Science Foundation's committee to research violence against women, and has assisted the legal team representing Anita Hill.
In 1996, she co-founded the African American Policy Forum to highlight the centrality of gender in racial justice discourse. Crenshaw is also a founding member of the Women's Media Initiative and writes for Ms. Magazine, The Nation, and other media, and is a regular commentator on NPR's “The Tavis Smiley Show” and MSNBC. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Crenshaw facilitates the Bellagio Project, an international network of scholars working in the field of social inclusion from five continents.
She was twice named Professor of the Year at UCLA Law School and received the Lucy Terry Prince Unsung Heroine Award, presented by the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, for her path-breaking work on black women and the law. She also received the ACLU Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellowship from 2005 to 2007. She has researched and lectured widely in Brazil as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair for Latin America, and was the recipient of the 2008 to 2009 Alphonse Fletcher Fellowship. She was awarded an in-residence fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science at Stanford University in 2008 to 2009.
|Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw|
Crenshaw in 2017
|Born||1959 (age 58–59)|
Canton, Ohio, U.S.
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (born 1959) is an American civil rights advocate and a leading scholar of critical race theory. She is a full-time professor at the UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School, where she specializes in race and gender issues. Crenshaw is also the founder of Columbia Law School's Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) and the African American Policy Forum (AAPF).
Crenshaw is known for the introduction and development of intersectional theory, the study of how overlapping or intersecting social identities, particularly minority identities, relate to systems and structures of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Her work further expands to also include intersectional feminism which is a sub-category related to intersectional theory. Intersection feminism examines the overlapping systems of oppression and discrimination that women are subject to due to their ethnicity, sexuality and economic background.
Early life and education
Crenshaw was born in Canton, Ohio in 1959, to parents Marian and Walter Clarence Crenshaw, Jr. She attended Canton McKinley High School. She received a bachelor's degree in government and Africana studies from Cornell University in 1981, where she was a member of the Quill and Dagger senior Honors' Society. She received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1984. In 1985, she received an LL.M. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was a William H. Hastie Fellow, and law clerk to Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Shirley Abrahamson.
Following completion of her LL.M, Crenshaw joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 1986. She is a founder of the field of critical race theory, and a lecturer on civil rights, critical race studies, and constitutional law. At the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law she currently teaches four classes with no requisites. Her courses are Advanced Critical Race Theory, Civil Rights, Intersectional Perspectives on Race, Gender and the Criminalization of Women & Girls, and Race, Law and Representation. In 1991 and 1994, she was elected professor of the year by matriculating students. In 1995, Crenshaw was appointed as full professor at Columbia Law School, where she is the founder and director of the Center for Intersectionality & Social Policy Studies, established in 2011. At Columbia Law School, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw's courses include an Intersectionalities Workshop and an Intersectionalities Workshop centered around Civil Rights.
In 1996, she co-founded and is the executive director of the nonprofit think tank and information clearinghouse, the African American Policy Forum, which focuses on issues of gender and diversity. Its mission is to build bridges between scholarly research and public discourse in addressing inequality and discrimination. Crenshaw has been awarded the Fulbright Chair for Latin America in Brazil, and in 2008, she was awarded an in-residence fellowship at the Center of Advanced Behavioral Studies at Stanford.
In 1991, Crenshaw assisted the legal team representing Anita Hill at the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Crenshaw is the co-founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), a think tank focused on "dismantling structural inequality" and "advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, both in the U.S. and internationally."
In 2001, she wrote the background paper on Race and Gender Discrimination for the United Nations World Conference on Racism, helped to facilitate the addition of gender in the WCAR Conference Declaration, served as a member of the National Science Foundation's Committee to Research Violence Against Women and the National Research Council panel on Research on Violence Against Women. Crenshaw was a member of the Domestic Strategy Group at the Aspen Institute from 1992-1995, the Women's Media Initiative, and is a regular commentator on NPR's The Tavis Smiley Show.
Crenshaw's work has been cited as influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the Constitution of South Africa.
Crenshaw gave an hour-long lecture to a maximum-capacity crowd of attendees at Rapaporte Treasure Hall. She explained the role intersectionality plays in modern-day society.  After a three-day celebration of her work, University President Ron Liebowitz presented Crenshaw with the Toby Gittler award at a ceremony following a lecture in December.
Crenshaw was invited to moderate a Sexual Harassment Panel hosted by Women in Animation and The Animation Guild, Local 839. Crenshaw discussed the history of harassment in the workplace and transitioned the discussion to how it plays a role in today's work environments. The other panelists with Crenshaw agreed there have been many protective measures placed to combat sexual harassment in the workplace but many issues remain to be resolved for a complete settlement of the problem at hand.
She contributed the piece "Traffic at the Crossroads: Multiple Oppressions" to the 2003 anthology Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by Robin Morgan.
Crenshaw attended the Women of the World festival which took place from 8–13 March 2016 at the Southbank Centre in London, England. She delivered a keynote speech on the unique challenges facing women of colour when it comes to the struggle for gender equality, racial justice and well-being. A key challenge is police brutality against black women, she highlighted the #SayHerName campaign which is aimed at uplifting the stories of black women killed by the police.
Crenshaw introduced the theory of intersectionality to feminist theory in the 1980s. It is speculated the official date of introduction of intersectionality was a seminal 1987 paper written by Crenshaw for the University of Chicago Legal Forum. The paper attempted to mitigate the widespread misconception that the intersectional experience is solely due to the sum of racism and sexism. Although the concept of intersectionality was not new it was not formally recognized until Crenshaw's theory. Her inspiration for the theory started while she was still in college and she realized that the gender aspect of race was extremely underdeveloped. The realization came after she noticed at the school she was attending that there were classes offered that addressed both race and gender issues. The courses available discussed women in only literature and poetry classes while men were discussed in serious politics and economics.
Crenshaw's focus on intersectionality is on how the law responds to issues that include gender and race discrimination. The particular challenge in law is that antidiscrimination laws look at gender and race separately and consequently African-American women and other women of color experience overlapping forms of discrimination and the law, unaware of how to combine the two, leaves these women with no justice.Antidiscrimination laws and the justice system's attempt for a remedy to discrimination is limited and operates on a singular axis; when one flows into another a complete and understandable definition has not been written in law therefore when the issue of intersectionality is presented in the court of law if one form of discrimination cannot be proved without the other than there is no law broken. The law defines discrimination of singular cases where you can only be discriminated based one thing or the other so when enforcing the law they go solely by the definition and if discrimination cannot be proved based on the single definition of one discrimination or the other then there is no crime committed.
Crenshaw often refers to the case DeGraffenreid v. General Motors in writing, interviews, and lectures. In DeGraffenreid v. General Motors, a group of African-American women argued they were receiving compound discrimination excluding them from employment opportunities. They contended that although women were eligible for office and secretarial jobs, in practice such positions only were offered to white women, barring African-American women from seeking employment in the company. The courts weighed the allegations of race and gender discrimination separately, finding that the employment of African-American male factory workers disproved racial discrimination, and the employment of white female office workers disproved gender discrimination. The court declined to consider compound discrimination, and dismissed the case.
Crenshaw also discusses intersectionality in connection to her experience as part of the 1991 legal team for Anita Hill, the woman who accused then- Supreme Court Nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. The case drew two crowds expressing contrasting views: white feminists in support of Hill and the opposing members of the African-American community that supported Clarence Thomas. The two lines of argument focused on the rights of women and Hill's experience of being violated as a woman, on the one hand, and on the other the appeal to forgive Thomas or turn a blind eye to his conduct due to his opportunity to become only the second African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Crenshaw argued that with these two groups rising up against one another during this case, Anita Hill lost her voice as a black woman. She had been unintentionally chosen to support the women's side of things, silencing her racial contribution to the issue. "It was like one of these moments where you literally feel that you have been kicked out of your community, all because you are trying to introduce and talk about the way that African American women have experienced sexual harassment and violence. It was a defining moment." "Many women who talk about the Anita Hill thing," Crenshaw adds, "they celebrate what's happened with women in general…. So sexual harassment is now recognized; what's not doing as well is the recognition of black women's unique experiences with discrimination."
My Brother's Keeper
A nationwide initiative to open up a ladder of opportunities to youth males and males of color. Crenshaw and the other participants of the African American Forum have demonstrated through multiple means of the media to express that the initiative has good intentions but perpetrates for the uplifting of youth but excludes girls and youth girls of color. The AAPF have started a campaign #WHYWECANTWAIT to address the realignment of the "My Brothers Keeper" initiative to include all youth boys, girls, and those girls and boys of color. The movement has received a lot of support from all over letters signed by men of color, letters signed by women of color and letters signed by allies that believe in the cause.
In an interview on the Laura Flanders Show Crenshaw expressed that the program was introduced as response to the widespread grief from the African-American community after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the case of his shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenage boy. She describes the program as "feel-good", and fatherly initiative but does not believe that it is a significant or structural program that will help fight the rollback of civil rights; the initiative will not provide the kinds of things that will really make a difference. She believes that because women and girls of color are a part of the same communities and disadvantages as the under-privileged males that are focused in the initiative, that in order to make it an effective program for the communities it needs to include all members of the community girls and boys alike.
- #Why we can't wait: Women of Color Urging Inclusion in "My Brother's Keeper"
- June 17, 2014 – a letter from more than 1000 girls and women of color
The letter is signed by women of all ages and a variety of backgrounds including high-school teens, professional actors, civil rights activists, and university professors commending President Obama on the efforts of the White House, private philanthropy, and social justice organizations to urge the inclusion of young women and girls. The realignment would be important to reflect the values of inclusion, equal opportunity and shared fate that have propelled our historic struggle for racial justice moving forward.
- May 30, 2014 – a letter of 200 Concerned Black Men and Other Men of Color calling for the Inclusion of Women and Girls in "My Brothers Keeper"
The letter is signed by a multitude of diverse men with different lifestyles to include scholars, recently incarcerated, taxi drivers, pastors, college students, fathers of sons, fathers of daughters and more. All the men believing that the girls within the communities that these men share homes, schools, recreational areas share a fate with one another and believe that the initiative is lacking in focus if that focus does not include both genders.
She has published works on civil rights, blackfeministlegal theory, and race, racism, and the law.
- Critical Race theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, May 1, 1996. A compilation of some of the most important writings that formed and sustained the critical race theory (CRT) movement. The book includes articles from Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Mari Matsuda, Anthony Cook, Duncan Kennedy, Gary Peller, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and others. All of the articles add something to CRT, and read independently, add significant portions to the CRT movement.
- Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment
- The Race Track:Understanding and Challenging Structural Racism, July 30, 2013
- Reaffirming Racism:The faulty logic of Colorblindness, Remedy and Diversity, 2013
- Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Over Policed and Under Protected. 2016. A report based on new reviews of national data and personal interviews with young women in Boston and New York. What started out as just a report we anticipate the book and how it will perform the same task to readers expressing why black girls cannot be abandoned at the margins.
- Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color. Crenshaw is responding to the tendency within identity politics to overlook or silence intra-group differences, a dynamic repeated throughout anti-racist and feminist movements to the detriment of black women. She explores the simultaneously raced and gendered dimensions of violence against women of color (looking specifically at responses to domestic violence and rape) to draw attention to the way the specificity of black women's experiences of violence is ignored, overlooked, misrepresented, and/or silenced. Crenshaw focuses on both the structural and political aspects of intersectionality with regards to rape and domestic abuse and uses this analysis of violence against women of color to highlight the importance of intersectionality and of engaging with issues like violence against women through an intersectional lens.
- On Intersectionality: Essential Writings of Kimberlé Crenshaw. Forthcoming. Essays and articles that help define the concept of intersectionality. Crenshaw provides insight from the Central Park jogger, Anita Hill's testimony against now Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and other significant matters of public interest.
Upon appointing Crenshaw to Columbia Law School, law school dean Lance Liebman described Crenshaw as a "leading law scholar" who "has shed important light on central issues of civil rights law."
Awards and honors
- ^"Reunion Renews Commitment to William H. Hastie Fellowship Legacy | University of Wisconsin Law School". law.wisc.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^ abcde"Kimberlé Crenshaw on intersectionality: "I wanted to come up with an everyday metaphor that anyone could use"". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^ abMiller, Hayley (2017-08-11). "Kimberlé Crenshaw Explains The Power Of Intersectional Feminism In 1 Minute". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- ^"Marian Williams Crenshaw's Obituary on The Repository". The Repository. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^ ab"Race, gender scholar Crenshaw on campus Oct. 16-21 | Cornell Chronicle". news.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^"Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw | Faculty | Columbia Law School". www.law.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^ abcd"Canton native Kimberlé Crenshaw receives legal scholar award". The Repository. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^"William H. Hastie Fellowship Program | University of Wisconsin Law School". law.wisc.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^"Courses Page". law.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- ^ abc"Columbia University Record" (2 ed.). September 15, 1995. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
- ^Foundation, American Bar. "UCLA and Columbia Law Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to Receive 2016 Fellows Outstanding Scholar Award - American Bar Foundation". www.americanbarfoundation.org. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^"Kimberle W. Crenshaw". Columbia Law School. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- ^"Where Are All the Black Feminists in Confirmation?". ELLE. 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
- ^"Our mission". African American Policy Forum. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^ abPoole, Shirley L. The Crisis. NAACP/The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
- ^Knubel, Fred (September 16, 1995). "Kimberle Crenshaw Named Professor at Columbia Law". New York, NY: Columbia University, Office of Public Information. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- ^"Kimberle Crenshaw biography". The African American Policy Forum. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- ^"About the Tavis Smiley Show". The Tavis Smiley Show. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- ^"Kimberlé Crenshaw accepts Gittler Prize for career works". The Justice. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- ^"Sexual Harassment Panel Offers Definitions, Strategies". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- ^"Library Resource Finder: Table of Contents for: Sisterhood is forever : the women's anth". Vufind.carli.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
- ^"WOW – Women of the World | Southbank Centre". wow.southbankcentre.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
- ^"#SayHerName". AAPF. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
- ^"Kimberlé Crenshaw - On Intersectionality - keynote - WOW 2016: Southbank Centre". Southbank Centre at YouTube. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- ^"Black Women Still in Defense of Ourselves". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^"My Brother's Keeper". The White House. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^"Why We Can't Wait: Women of Color Urge Inclusion in "My Brother's Keeper"". AAPF. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^ ab"Canton native wins fellowships to study race". The Repository. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^report, CantonRep.com staff. "Kimberlé Crenshaw named to Ebony Magazine's 'Power 100'". The Repository. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^Foundation, American Bar. "UCLA and Columbia Law Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to Receive 2016 Fellows Outstanding Scholar Award - American Bar Foundation". www.americanbarfoundation.org. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
- ^"Kimberlé Crenshaw honored with Gittler Prize | BrandeisNOW". BrandeisNOW. Retrieved 2017-12-16.