Essay Example on Social Movements are involved in conflictual Relations

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Social Movements are involved in conflictual relations with clearly identified opponents they are linked by dense informal networks and share a distinct collective identity Porta 2006 A movement is not merely a crowd it involves collective behaviour innovation networking multi centeredness fluid boundaries of membership and willingness of the members to disrupt the existing social order This paper aims to understand the emergence and growth of the Black Feminist Movement with an insight to the theories of social movements The Black Feminist movement grew because of gender and sex discrimination in the Black Liberation movement and the Women s movement respectively In the Women s movement black women were racially oppressed and sexually oppressed in the Black Liberation movement as a result the Black Feminist Movement was formed Black women came to the terms that black was equated with the black men and woman with the white women Due to which the black women were treated as an invisible group and their needs were ignored To develop theory which would address the intersectionality of class gender and race in their lives and policies that would take action against the discrimination of class sex and race were the main purpose of the movement Black Women in Black Liberation Movement In the Black Liberation Movement the black women were facing constant sexism 



The interest of the black men in the movement was in controlling the sexuality of the black women To explain their disapproval of inter racial relationships black men emphasized that white men sexually exploit the black woman Hooks 1960 Again indiscrimate access and control over the women s body was considered as freedom and right of men Sexual discrimination was a part of daily life for the black women Elaine Brown in her book A Taste of Power sites an incident where in the Black Congress organizational meeting she and other women were forced to wait to eat the food for which all of them have contributed money until the men were served It was explained to her that sisters should stand behind their black men to support and respect them it was unsisterly of them to want to eat with the brothers The black men disregarded the equality of black women and men Black Women in Feminist Movement During 1960 the black women who participated in the Feminist Movement have faced racial discrimination which was there in the form of exclusion Black women were never being invited to participate in the conference panels which were specifically on white and middle class women In most of the women s movement writings the experiences of the white middle class women were considered as universal women s experience completely ignoring the different experiences of black and white women due to race and class Black women felt that in the women s movement white feminists were unwilling to admit their racism 



White women believed that those who are oppressed cannot oppress others which gave rise to the unwillingness White women who were challenging the oppression by the white men were supporting and advocating racial ideologies and were acting as racist oppressors to black women Towards Black Feminist Movement By the end of the nineteenth century Black women started organizing themselves into their own network of clubs These groups supported women suffrage but their priority was to address the social and political issues that affected Black communities specifically the Black women Journalist and activist Ida B Wells Bernett challenged racist terrorism as well as sexual stereotyping of Black women as immoral in contrast pure white women The National Association of Colored Women was formed in 1896 which brought together more than hundred Black women s clubs During the first half of the twentieth century the primary focus of Black women s activism was to challenge racism and demoralize the social and economic problems In the weekly newspaper of the United Negro Improvement Association Amy Jacques Garvey wrote about the women s rights and expressed her concern about the situation of Black women in America In 1947 an article was published by novelist Ann Petry in the widely circulated Negro Digest entitled What s Wrong with Negro Men criticized sexism within the Black community In 1950s and 1960s when Black women participated in the Civil Rights Movement the male dominance as well as the narrowness of the white feminist s agendas was the reason they began to confront the gender oppression in their own lives In 1973 a group of Black feminists formed the National Black Feminist Organization NBFO in New York and held a conference which was attended by hundreds of Black feminists all over the country 



For the first time more and more Black women started questioning the reality of sexual oppression within the Black community as well as the sexism in the society as a whole impacted them as Black women The work of Black feminist writers and theorists such as Alice Walker Michele Wallace etc led to national debates about sexual politics in the Black community In 1977 the Combahee River Collective a feminist organization in Boston issued a paper that highlighted the intersection of oppression in Black women s lives This work broke significant new grounds because it was socialist addressed homophobia and called for sisterhood among the Black women of various sexual orientations The role of Black lesbian feminists such as Barbara Smith Audre Lorde Pat Parker and others in the initial phase of the movement was crucial when many heterosexual Black women were reluctant to identify themselves as feminists As the decade continued the Black feminist challenged the white feminists to eradicate racism to broaden the scope of women s issues to integrate their organization and to share leadership with women of color


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