The land of milk and cookies. The west; home to the most abundant societies the world has ever seen. However these gift were brought forth by the most bloody and violent colonial campaign in human history, one thats ongoing.
The society largely ignores that reality, and presents itself as simply superior to other cultures and because of this people confined to a western world view lack perspective when it comes to global issues.
This becomes an issue when they attempt to solve global problems. Without a full understanding the solutions they arrive at are unable to account for status quo thinking that create the conditions that allow these problems to exist.
Black intersectional thought provides a solution to this. Intersectionality is a framework that allows individuals and organizations to analyze complex issues by locating their position within them. After applying intersectionality its easier for members of this society to understand their privilege, when its illegitimate, the limits to their knowledge, and their role in the problem. All of which are vital to developing a course of action, which leads to progress on the issue.
This is why its important that designers, especially those limited to a western world view, apply intersectionality when attempting to use design to solve social issues.
Section 1: Exploring western privilege
The West’s ability to have input in global issues is largely an attribute of illegitimate privileges gained as a result of colonialism. All while colonialism often is the root cause of global social problems.
It's well-known that more wealth is extracted out of Africa than aid flows into Africa, which is the result of geopolitical and economic activities which extended the colonial project long after the wave of independence.
The West benefits from the conflicts and social political economical instability which came into existence and continues to be maintain by colonialism today. It is for this reason that self interested Western governments and organizations often seek to maintain the instability.
A practice which is often distanced from the public sphere and exist outside of their knowledge. The irony comes when less politically and historically aware individuals take on a mission to end global social problems without fully understanding the scope. As a result the solutions fall short of addressing any real issues and can often lead to more damage than good.
I'm gonna be using an examples like the one below to show how "good intentions" can lead to promoting the systems of oppressions that cause global social issues.
This documentary explores how western education imposes itself onto parts of the world under the guise of altruism but is actually an inadequate way of knowing for those societies when compared to their own ways of knowing.
In the end bringing western education to other societies is presented as altruistic but is actually a self-serving extension of colonialism which strips away a society's culture and creates a dependancy to the west which forces the society to participate in a economic system which mainly benefits the west.
Section 2: Unearned Privilege vs. Situational leadership
Explore how privilege is blinding
Leadership should be based on fittingness to address a issue
Experiential knowledge as an asset to social problem solving
Section 3: Examples
Failing to apply intersectionality in design
Intersectionality being applied in social design
How to apply intersectionality to design
- Summarize why intersectionality is vital to social design