“…the time is now !” by Beverly Pappa
During Miss Kennedy’s speech, she invited her audience onto the stage with her to sing, “tunes of oppression”. This was Kennedy’s way to get the crowds’ emotions going. This leads her to talk about the oppression that was taking place in Boston. She felt that it was time for a change! She ends her speech by saying, “Our society is not really into seeing life, as precious”. Flo Kennedy shares her view on oppression. She does not tolerate oppression in any shape or form.
This article shows the courage of one woman and allows readers to see that if one person stands up for what they believe in, it could help change everyone else’s view. Also, put knowledge into their head about things going in society!
“Beside them, not against them,” by Darlene Harvey
They do not feel “liberated” by the women’s movement but instead confined and controlled. Harvey opens our eyes and allows us to know that Black women often viewed abortion as a way to limit their population and that the only jobs open to them required them to serve others.
Harvey explains that it is a Black woman’s duty to work, not because of the liberation that has been bestowed upon them. She also touches on the dislike of white woman by black, and how it needs to stop since we are fighting for the same causes. United we stand a chance, apart we will fall apart. Darlene Harvey makes the reader aware that Black Women do not feel oppressed by their counterparts but by white society.
Social Justice v. Gender Politics
In her article, Feminism Should Expand and Emphasize Social Justice Rather than Gender Politics , Jessica Valenti argues that feminism has lost credibility on the issue of equality because it has focused exclusively on gender. Within her piece, she cites two flaws in mainstream feminism, failure to bring up the next generation of activists and its focus on gender alone.
Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University said that if African American feminists join the white women’s feminism they are asked to be silent about the ways that gender, class and sexual identity intersect and join a single agenda.
Valenti agrees with Harris-Lacewell by criticizing white second wave feminists for focusing on gender inequities and not looking at the intersections of race class and sexuality as they contribute to gender. She goes on to state that if powerful feminists continue to push for gender alone above all other issues the movement will lose its meaning.
These powerful dynamics reminds us we need to highlight the younger generation of feminists of very critical to the movement. Imploring us to notice that feminism is about standing up against systemic inequities. That it is a movement that believes sexism, racism, and classism exist and intersect and must be challenged.
Feminism’s future affects all American women.
There is a Feminist Bias for Gender Advancement over Racial Equality
In the article, There Is a Feminist Bias for Gender Advancement over Racial Equality, Meredith Tax highlights the importance of political strategy in the feminist movement. The 2008 Democratic race for President revealed that American feminism is indeed divided by those who see gender as the only issue in terms of gaining equality and those who see gender as only part of the intersections of factors that also include race, class, disability and so many other issues.
- In the suffrage movement, mainstream women’s organizations focused only on winning women the right to vote.
- At the start of WWI, mainstream feminists supported the war, and this aided them in winning the vote.
In the 60’s and 70’s left-wing feminists worked on issues such as the Vietnam war, abortion and reproduction rights, sexual freedom, gay rights, union struggles and support for black and other national liberation movements.
- Left-wing feminists did not build national organizations that lasted like the mainstream feminists.
- Mainstream feminists’ strategy was to go through the Democratic party and focus on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
- In the Reagan era, conservatives began to fight back against women’s liberation, affirmative action, and gay rights. They fought against the ERA, fought against the right to abortions, promoted censorship, and attacked sexual freedom for women and gay people.
Tax cites the struggle over political strategy stating that liberal feminists who see women’s issues as separate compared to left-wing feminists who see where race and class and gender intersect. This struggle over political strategy was demonstrated in the 2008 battle for the Democratic nominee. An article, New York Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama, urged feminist voters to remember that war and peace are women’s issues, along with health, the environment, education and job equality.
Kimberle Crenshaw reminded others that for so many feminism is not set apart from the struggles many faces against violence, war, racism, and economic injustice. Tax argues that any issue that affects a group of women must be targeted. Saying that because racism affects black women, feminists should fight racism in every form. She also urges that it is not enough to agree that intersections of oppressions exist, but that we need to be actively working against these systems of oppression.
A Different Standpoint
When looking at the intersection of feminism and viewing the ways that feminists of color have been left out of white feminist spaces I specifically focused on ways in which this has affected the campus community at Salem State University. I interviewed two feminists of color that are members of a student organization for women of color on campus.
I asked questions regarding their demographics, educational experiences and their experiences in white feminist spaces and also spaces for feminists of color. One of them identifies as Italian and African American and the other identifies as Mexican American. Both of them had very different upbringings and had very different experiences with peers and the communities around them one being from a predominately white area and the other being from a Latin community. Both of them stated issues with racism and lots of micro-aggression.
Coming to Salem State both of them stated that they have never specifically felt left out of feminist spaces here on campus but felt wary of the main feminist space on campus. The reason they stated for this feeling was the lack of people of color and lack of willingness or effort to collaborate with their organization on campus. “I feel like it’s a very white space, in not only the people that take up space there but also the decorations and the big vagina that is a depiction of a white vagina.” They both stated that they never had specific experiences with them that made them feel this way but it was just never a space that “felt safe” or a place they “could chill.” Being that the main feminist space on campus is for all feminists but as said above seemingly women of color don’t take up space there.
Media Plays a Part
Youth Building: Instagram post from Michelle Obama, wife of Former-President Barack Obama, who stands as an inspiring symbol for black woman. She surprised young scholars at Cardozo Education Campus in Washington. To help share and motivate young women to pursue ambitions and knock down barriers.
The Woman: A young colored woman, Janet Mock, taking her media spotlight to good use and spread inspiration for those who categorize themselves in any way that they are a part of a bigger whole; those who struggle but push forward for change.
Girlhood into Womanhood: Bringing in positive and better education through an international movement consisting in leaders who know the challenges that exist for young women of color and continue the efforts of spreading education and passion among young and older women.