INTERACTIONS.ACM.ORG 68 INTERACTIONS NOVEMBER–DECEMBER2019
FORUM COMMUNITY + CULTURE
Intersectionality. Polity Press, Malden,
6. Hill Collins, P. Black Feminist Thought:
Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics
of Empowerment. Routledge, New York,
7. Crenshaw, K. W. Mapping the margins:
Intersectionality, identity politics, and
violence against women of color. In Critical
Race Theory. K. Crenshaw, N. Gotanda,
G. Peller, and K. Thomas, eds. The New
Press, New York, 1995, 357–383.
8. Combahee River Collective. Combahee
River Collective Statement. Kitchen Table:
Women of Color Press, Albany, N Y, 1986.
9. Gregory, S.L. African American Female
Engineering Students’ Persistence in
Stereotype-Threatening Environments: A
Critical Race Theory Perspective. Completed
Dissertation, Utah State University, 2015.
10. Cho, S., Crenshaw, K. W., and McCall,
L. Intersectionality: Theorizing Power,
Empowering Theory. Signs 38, 4 (Summer
11. Prins, B. Narrative accounts of origins: A
blind spot in the intersectional approach?
European Journal of Women’s Studies 13, 3
12. Kumar. N. and Karasula, N. Intersectional
computing. Interactions 26, 2 (Mar.–Apr.
13. Thomas, J.O., Joseph, N., Williams, A.,
Crum, C., and Burge, J. Speaking truth
to power: Exploring the intersectional
experiences of Black women in computing.
Proc. of 2018 Research on Equity and
Sustained Participation in Engineering,
Computing, and Technology. DOI: 10.1109/
14. hooks, b. Feminist Theory: From Margin to
Center. Taylor & Francis, 1984.
15. St. Jean, Y. and Feagin, J. R. Double Burden:
Black Women and Everyday Racism. M.E.
Yolanda A. Rankin is an assistant professor
in the School of Information at Florida State
University and the director of the DEsigning
TechnOlogies for the UndeRserved (DETOUR)
Jakita O. Thomas is an associate professor
of computer science and software engineering
in the Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn
University. She is also the director of the
CUltuRally and SOcially Relevant (CURSOR)
to name just a few) that promote the
design and use of technology to rectify
social injustices around the globe.
While these efforts may not necessarily
result in endless publications, this
work has made immeasurable positive
impacts to people’s lives, much more
than a paper publication would make.
Second, collaboration is the key. It is
not necessary to reinvent the wheel,
as there are numerous researchers
and organizations (e.g., American
Education Research Association,
Center for Gender Equity in Science &
etc.) external to the HCI community
that have engaged in intersectional
research for years, do it well, and
disseminate the results of these efforts.
In essence, there is no excuse for not
being aware of and citing Black women
both within or external to HCI that
conduct intersectional research, not
getting to know these Black women on
a personal and professional level, nor
engaging them to form coalitions for
change as HCI continues to take up and
leverage intersectional frameworks and
• Acknowledge that the existence
of a Black women’s standpoint does
not suggest that all Black women are
alike or the same. One Black woman’s
viewpoint does not represent the
entire population of Black women.
In the words of Patricia Hill Collins,
“There is no archetypal Black woman
whose experiences stand as normal,
normative, and thereby, authentic”
[ 6]. At the same time, individual
Black women have, historically, and
continue to construct what Collins
calls a “collective wisdom on how to
survive as U. S. Black women” that
they’ve shared with each other because
of the similarity of experiences faced by
Black women [ 6]. As such, a collective
Black women’s standpoint exists. It
is a standpoint that is defined by the
heterogeneity of Black women from all
walks of life “who aggressively push the
theme of self-definition,” refusing to be
silenced or ignored [ 6].
In summary, for the authors,
intersectionality invites us to think
deeply about for whom we design
technology, the implications of
deploying this technology in the
world, and who it advantages or
disadvantages. Black women, along
with Chicanas, Latinas, and Native
American women, have historically
been engaged in intersectional work as
they navigate and address the unique
positioning and challenges they face
in their everyday lives [ 5]. To ignore or
erase Black women from this significant
research initiative sends the message
that Black women are not valued within
the HCI community. Consider the
editorial vibe of this article to be one
that implores a different perspective
on how these historical actions
have reinforced the very systems of
oppression within the HCI community
that so many of us are fighting
desperately to oppose and change for
the better. It is not our intent to be
provocative, but it is the work of Black
feminist tech activists to examine and
critique, as scholars and intellectuals,
the status quo, and to leverage
that examination and critique as a
mechanism for agency to enact change.
Intersectionality shows us the way.
Beloved community is formed not by
the eradication of difference but by its
affirmation, by each of us claiming the
identities and cultural legacies that shape
who we are and how we live in the world.
1. Schlesinger, A., Edwards, W. K., and
Grinter, R. E. Intersectional HCI:
Engaging identity through gender, race,
and class. Proc. of the 2017 CHI Conference
on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
ACM, New York, 2017, 5412–5427.
2. Wong-Villacres, M., Kumar, A.,
Vishwanath, A., Karusala, N., DiSalvo, B.,
and Kumar, N. Designing for intersections.
Proc. of the 2018 Designing Interactive
Systems (DIS) Conference. ACM, New York,
3. Dombrowski, L. Socially just design and
engendering social change. Interactions 24,
4 (Jul.–Aug. 2017), 63–65.
4. Harrington, C.N., Borgos-Rodriquez, K.,
and Piper, A.M. Engaging low-income
African-American older adults in health
discussions through community-based
design workshops. Proc. of the SIGCHI
Conference on Human Factors in Computing
Systems, ACM, New York, 2019.
5. Hill Collins, P. and Bilge, S.
DOI: 10.1145/3363033 © 2019 ACM 1072-5520/19/11 $15.00