The Paradox of Intersectionality in Europe

The theory of intersectional discrimination arose to highlight the legal subjectivity of black women through centralisation of the specific discrimination they endured at work and elsewhere. Although designed to give political voice to this group of workers who were eclipsed in discrimination law, the breadth of the intersectional vision was not limited to these women. However, as the theory has travelled to places in Europe where the idea of race is taboo, such as Germany, it has been conflated with ‘multiple discrimination’. This has serious consequences for the theory as well as for black women: if race is rejected, intersectionality continues to marginalize the very women it was designed to protect and beyond this, if intersectionality is conflated with multiple discrimination, it loses its value. This paper explores marginalization, its consequences, as well as a solution to centre the experiences of black women in anti-discrimination law in Europe.