An exploration of the intersection of race, gender and generation in African American women doing social justice work

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This article examines how Black women from varying generations articulate their perceptions about race. The 183 participants, ranging in age from 21 to 69, were Black women committed to social justice work. An under-researched area is the exploration of generational perspectives about race among Black women social activists. Utilizing an exploratory sequential mixed-methods design, data were collected through six in-depth personal interviews, four focus groups, and an online survey. Intersectionality, standpoint and social identity theories were used in a complementary way to interpret the findings. Analysis of the data suggests that Millennials perceive race and social justice work differently than the Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers. The Millennials more readily acknowledge the intersectionality of their multiple identities and tend to characterize their racial experiences as gendered. Furthermore, like the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, the Millennials expressed a need for and a commitment to social justice work, but seemed more open to collaborating with other socially oppressed groups.

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