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But Some of Us Are Brave: In an effort to meet the needs of black women who felt they were being racially oppressed in the Women's Movement and sexually oppressed in the Black Liberation Movement, the Black Feminist Movement was formed.
All too often, "black" was equated with black men and "woman" was equated with white women. As a result, black women were an invisible group whose existence and needs were ignored.
The purpose of the movement was to develop theory which could adequately address the way race, gender, and class were interconnected in their lives and to take action to stop racist, sexist, and classist discrimination. Although neither all the black men nor all the white women in their respective movements were sexist and racist, enough of those with powerful influence were able to make the lives of the black women in these groups almost unbearable.
This section investigates the treatment of black women in these two movements and aims to show how, due to the inability of black men and white women to acknowledge and denounce their oppression of black women, the movements were unable to meet the needs of black women and prompted the formation of the Black Feminist Movement, which, though it had been gathering momentum for some time, marks its "birth" with the founding of the National Black Feminist Organization in New York.
Although there were several different movements for black liberation the Civil Rights Movement, Black Nationalism, the Black Panthers, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and others for the purposes of this paper they are all considered under the title Black Liberation Movement.
The movement, though ostensibly for the liberation of the black race, was in word and deed for the liberation of the black male. Race was extremely sexualized in the rhetoric of the movement. Freedom was equated with manhood and the freedom of blacks with the redemption of black masculinity.
Take, for example, the assumption that racism is more harmful to black men than it is to black women because the real tragedy of racism is the loss of manhood; this assumption illustrates both an acceptance of masculinity defined within the context of patriarchy as well as a disregard for the human need for integrity and liberty felt by both men and women.
Many black men in the movement were interested in controlling black women's sexuality. Bell hooks comments that during the Black Liberation Movement of the s, "black men overemphasize[d] white male sexual exploitation of black womanhood as a way to explain their disapproval of inter-racial relationships.
Again, part of "freedom" and "manhood" was the right of men to have indiscriminate access to and control over any woman's body. As well, there was disregard for the humanity and equality of black women.
Black men in the Black Liberation Movement often made sexist statements which were largely accepted without criticism. Consider these two statements, the first by Amiri Baraka and the second by Eldridge Cleaver.
And so this separation [of black men and women] is the cause of our need for self-consciousness, and eventual healing. But we must erase the separateness by providing ourselves with healthy African identities. By embracing a value system that knows of no separation but only of the divine complement the black woman is for her man.
For instance, we do not believe in the 'equality' of men and women. We cannot understand what the devils and the devilishly influenced mean when they say equality for women.Picture "You can create lots of different looks for my dates with Barbie doll.
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