Black Fem Thought a History Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Another distinction central to the Black feminist's thoughts is the alienation she suffers due to the omission of her presence in history. This omission is not only found in traditional examples of history, but also in Eurocentric feminist views of history. The following quotation from Lorde in her letter to Daly shows the frustration and lack of understanding about the reason such an omission is propagated even among those of her same sex. "…why doesn't Mary deal with Afreket as an example? Why are her goddess-images only white, western-european, judeo-christian…Where are the warrior-goddesses of the Vodun, the Dohomeian Amazons and the warrior-women of Dan…Mary has made a conscious decision to narrow her scope and to deal only with the ecology of western-european women (Lorde, 1979, p. 94)." The exclusion of African goddesses from Daly's text, which described the historical roots of women's power, is only a slight example of the chronological precluding of Black women's presence in histories both traditional and otherwise. Understandably, the inclusion of the Black women's history is a priority for Black feminists, and is another key distinction separating them from other socio-ethnic stratifications.

The cumulative effects of racism, classicism, and sexism, when combined with a systematic omission from history, have served to alienate the Black feminist so that the overcoming of these obstacles and the inclusion of her past is at the forefront of her social and political agenda. The aggregate of these obstacles has presented Black feminists with a position unique to those of oppressed people. The following quotation from the Combahee River Collective elucidates how unique a position it is. "Our situation as Black people necessitates that we have solidarity around the fact of race, which white women of course do not need to have with white men, unless it is their negative solidarity as racial oppressors. We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism (Carby, 1982 p.213)." The need to unite with Black men against the common foe of racism, and also to distinguish themselves from these same men's sexism, is a dual front which typical feminists do not encounter.

Works Cited

1. Carby, H. (1982) "White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood" in Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain. London: Hutchinson.

2. hooks, b. (1981) Aint I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston: South End Press.

3. hooks, b. (1990) Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End Press.

4. Lourde, A. (1981) "An Open Letter to Mary Daly" in Moraga C. And Azadula G. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour. Watertown: Persephone Press.

5. Mohanty, C. et al. (1991) Third World Woman and…

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