29 January 2015
Response Paper Unit 2
Feminist issues are not and never will be “one size fits all.” What is important to the masses cannot be defined by the few of a common identity; the current hegemony of white feminists leading the movement has resulted in a cause solely concentrated on the challenges they find pressing. Minority feminist groups have felt marginalized from the progression of feminism, and often go undocumented for building a premise of racially tolerant political action groups. The phrase “multiracial feminism” is defined as feminism based on the examination of dominance through understanding social constructs of race, ethnicity, tradition, and culture (Thompson, 33). Moreover, each person experiences gender, class, sexuality, and race unique to their environment. Issues with gender equality are relative to the environment of the oppressed. The opposition argues that feminism is exclusive to women’s issues; race does not play a role in a feminist’s conquest for equality and, in turn, is completely unrelated to the cause at hand. However, racial and class issues become integrated unintentionally due to the diversity of conflict and oppression feminists face within their respective communities. Becky Thompson’s excerpt “Multiracial Feminism: Recasting the Chronology of Second Wave Feminism,” Combahee River Collective’s “A Black Feminist Statement,” and Audre Lorde’s “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” address this topic of Multiracial Feminism. Black women’s struggles and philosophies are challenged through the feminist movement although their ideas are fundamental to the concept of freedom and gender equality. The Combahee River Collective was a black feminist Lesbian organization that produced “A Black Feminist Statement” in 1977. In their “What We Believe” proclamation, they addressed the difficulty with hegemonic white woman’s view of feminism and the marginalization involved with it. The proclamation stated, “we have in many ways gone beyond white women’s revelations because we are dealing with the implications of race and class as well as sex” (Kirk, 28). The issues of gender equality are relative to the upbringing and lively hood of those oppressed in certain environments. Women of color, thus, feel as if the civil rights movement and the movement led by white feminists is too limited for them. Black women are frequently absent from analyses of either gender oppression or racism because of their position in society, since the former focuses primarily on the experiences of white women and the latter on black men. There is a large grey area between both feminist and antiracist theory and practice that neglect to accurately reflect the interaction of race and gender, which leads to the marginalization of all non-white women. Within the realms of feminism lies an even harder issue to combat: being a lesbian black feminist, a concept white women need to acknowledge the harsh conditions that come with this. “A Black Feminist Statement” states that black feminists do not have “racial, sexual, heterosexual, or class privilege to rely on, nor do they have even the minimal access to resources and power that groups who possess any one of the types of privilege have” (Kirk, 30). Black women must face multiple fronts in their war against oppression, dealing with both racism and sexism, something white feminists do not. Black feminism reminds black women that the racism, classism, and sexism they experience on a daily basis are not a figment of their individual imaginations but are real and structural in past and present society. It would be unfair at a Boston College feminist meeting for White women to compare their oppression and claim that it is equivalent or worse to women of color’s oppression. Thus, one could say white women feminists are the lucky ones, fore; they have racial, class and some heterosexual privileges to rely on. This racism in our...
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