People are multi-dimensional and they lead multi-dimensional lives. One is not merely a man. There are multiple characterisitics on how society defines us: everything from our physical attributes such as “race” and “curly haired” to culture and background relative to everyone else in this world. As humans we take pride (or shame) on just our (lack of) prestige from out background. Just like how there is a classification between the “new” rich and the “old” rich, there are different people based on many different levels that affect one’s social, economic, and political wellbeing. When one’s wellbeing is negatively affected through oppression, it is crucial that one recognizes the fact that there are many different types of oppression at work depending on who you are. Without realizing that all inequalities at play, the issue at hand for the individual and similar others cannot be solved appropriately. Think of it like a Rubik’s cube. It is impossibe to solve the puzzle (balance the inequalities) without recognizing that there are multiple sides that could be affected when one tries to solve only one side (inequality).
For example, a Black, lower class woman has at least three clear inequalities in play in American society: being a “minority” due to one’s ethnicty, being a women in a patriarchal society, and being lower class, affecting economic and political power, which also affects social status. When any one of these characteristics are taken out and changed to the “ideal,” the rest of the inequalities remain, causing an imbalance to remain in society.
In this sense, no inequality is more important than another. WEB DuBois might have stepped on the women of his own race to move up in society, but it is also true that in a general view of the US, the average Black male is considered equal to the average White male due to multiple factors such as education, poverty, and who fills the seats of the elite in American society. Therefore, again, like a Rubik’s cube, one side (inequality) is NOT preferred than another in order to solve the great problem of inequality.