Spatialized Intersectionality: Gendered and Racialized Residential Segregation and the Milwaukee Lead Crisis

In this recently published article, Dalvery Blackwell, Executive Director of UWPRC community partner African American Breastfeeding Network (AABN), and her colleague introduce the term spatialized intersectionality to connote interlocking, geographically embedded forms of social identity marginalization. From the article:

The past tense recognizes that prior and ongoing forms of complex white capitalist heteropatriarchal Western imperialism have left an imprint on all present-day geographies, and, as such, it urges us to interrogate the particular mechanisms by which this embedded inequity has come to be. To illuminate spatialized intersectionality and the insights into contemporary environmental, food, and reproductive (in)justices it can provide, we offer a case study of the interlocking emergence of gendered and racialized residential segregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We argue that this form of spatialized intersectionality is essential to understanding how Black women became uniquely entrenched in the 53206, 53208, and 53210 zip codes that are also the most environmentally degraded and lacking of food and reproductive justice in Milwaukee County today. Through the lens of spatialized intersectionality, the reality that Black babies experienced especially severe outcomes during Milwaukee’s current lead crisis can thus be understood in part as a tragic, yet predictable, intergenerational legacy of inequitable and intersecting geographic burdens. Taking this more seriously, we believe improved solutions can be addressed. In these and additional ways, we thus aim for spatialized intersectionality to unite and increase historically focused and forwardly applicable environmental scholarship.

You can read the article here or download the PDF version here.