We can’t claim liberation or gender equality for women if we don’t recognise and eradicate racism.
The Black Lives Matter movement was started by women – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi – in response to institutional racism. Many of the historic movements for women’s rights were started/led by Black women, whose names are forgotten. For example, women’s suffrage. Racialised women were deeply involved across the world in women’s fight to vote but they seldom get the same recognition as their white counterparts. In the UK, there were a few prominent women of colour at the front of the suffrage movement and at least one Black woman is known to have signed the first petition on suffrage in the UK – Sarah Remond.
Black women not only are often ignored for their work in activism, they also often have excessive force used against them, and also face sexual violence at the hands of police.
Deaths or violence against Black women is rarely the subject of protest.
The stereotyping of Black women expresses itself most in objectification. Women are seen as a fetish or as ugly and aggressive but rarely as simply women. This discrimination can affect marriage, educational attainment and employment possibilities.
Combined with gender, the classist and racial connotations of darker skin across communities have created a hierarchy amongst people of colour, in general negatively affecting solidarity and social mobility for all.
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