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Pre-2008 Posts

Lynching the Confederate Flag

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Black artist John Sims created the art depicted in the photo above, a Confederate flag hanging on a noose on a 13-foot gallows, and entitled, “The Proper Way to Hang the Confederate Flag.”  He says that when he sees the Confederate flag, he sees “visual terrorism” and a symbol of a racist past, the flag acting as a rallying point for white supremacists.  The exhibit is on display at the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, Florida, and also includes Confederate flags arranged in the shape of a cross, a Confederate flag over a voting machine, and a re-creation of the famous American painting “American Gothic” depicting the artist, John Sims, arms crossed, standing next to a noose with a Confederate flag behind him.

The local chapter of the “Sons of Confederate Veterans” is not pleased, calls the exhibit, “offensive, objectionable and tasteless,” and one representative, Bob Hurst, whose great-great grandfather committed suicide when the South surrendered (and undoubtedly owned slaves) calls the art a “gimmick” created by a no-talent artist.  The organization has asked the museum to remove the exhibit, but the museum says it will stay.

Artist John Sims

I think that this is political art and activism of the highest kind, in the most brilliant revolutionary tradition.  For Americans of good will and anti-racist sensibilities, the Confederate flag is an emblem of racism, slavery, lynchings, rapes, beatings, brutalities of all and every kind, perpetrated by white Americans on black Americans.  It should never be flown.  It should never be displayed, anywhere.   It is no more acceptable to fly the Confederate flag than to display the Nazi swastika, and to turn the tables and illuminate either emblem as the hate speech it amounts to is right and just.  As Sims says, “Nobody will ever think of the Confederate flag the same way again.  It’s like getting an immunity shot.  Now they have this visual antibody with them.”

Opponents of the exhibit have invoked a 1961 law, passed during the height of the Civil Rights movement, that makes it illegal to defile or “cast contempt on” the American flag, and have threatened suit.

I can only wonder whether pornographic magazines hanging from meat hooks in a museum exhibit might similarly immunize people against pornography, might render them unable to think about pornography the same way again.   Then maybe “American Gothic” re-created, say, as a woman with her arms folded over her chest standing next to a disembodied wedding gown and veil, or maybe a wedding gown and veil on a faceless mannequin, with an open Hustler in the background.  Or maybe a bride gown and veil hanging over a voting machine.

Social inequality is substantially created and enforced — that is, done — through words and images.  Social hierarchy cannot and does not exist without being embodied in meanings and expressed in communications.   A sign saying “White Only” … is seen as the act of segregation that it is, like “Juden nicht erwunscht!”  … Elevation and denigration are all accomplished through meaningful symbols and communicative acts in which saying it is doing it. …

Racial and sexual harrassment, separately and together, promote inequality, violate oppressed groups, work to destroy their social standing and repute, and target them for discrimination from contempt to genocide.  …Racial and sexual harassment function just as actively, separately and together, in social inequality; both need to be stopped.  They are no different in the severity of impact on victims or in the degree of damage they inflict on equality rights. 

Catharine A. MacKinnon, Only Words

Link, Link, Link

Heart

Discussion

111 thoughts on “Lynching the Confederate Flag

  1. You know, I have no idea what that flag is supposed to symbolize, especially here where I occasionally see it hanging from or shading windows in a student residence in a northern university, or flying from the back of pick-up trucks. Rebel?! I’m baaad?

    No idea.

    Posted by Pony | March 18, 2007, 5:59 pm
  2. Pony, the Confederate Flag is a symbol of the Confederacy in the U.S., i.e., the union of Southern states which seceded from the Northern states, primarily over the issue of slavery, and which then fought the Northern States in the U.S. Civil War. The past, oh, 30 years or so have witnessed a romanticizing of the pre-Civil War South with all sorts of people, but especially right-wingers and conservative Christians, getting involved in Civil War re-enactments and creating revisionist history around the institution of slavery, especially. One time when I was still a fundie, there were a bunch of people in my homeschooling group who were going to participate in some kind of Civil War-era “historical re-enactment.” I told them the only re-enactment I’d be interested in doing was a re-enactment of slavery and how did they like them raisins. When they say “re-enactment” it’s all about romanticizing a time in history which should never be romanticized. And yes, yes, the whole nation was full of racists, the North definitely had its share. Having said that, the Abolition movement came out of the North, and most of the Abolitionists were also Women’s Suffragists, ultimately, and however imperfect or sexist/racist the North might have been, slavery was a disgusting, intolerable institution which needed to END by any means necessary. The Confederate Flag symbolizes the sentiments and views of those who wanted slavery to continue.

    All that was free fer nuttin and not really directed your way, Pony, just me, giving a heads up to anybody reading who might get the idea they ought to argue with me over the meaning of the Confederate Flag or the comparative racism of North and South, or who wants to holler about “The North Did It Too.” Slavery needed to end. Full stop.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | March 18, 2007, 6:12 pm
  3. “Rebel?! I’m baaad?”

    I think some people do think it means just that. They need to be reminded of what it actually communicates.

    Posted by profacero | March 18, 2007, 6:15 pm
  4. lol Happy to be of use for this worthy explication.

    I’m from the last generation that really did study history all through school, no options (as if…). So my ‘no idea” was in reference to what is going through their heads, these dolts?! It can only be a tv or movie reference because it has no cultural meaning here beyond that; and they aren’t thinking. Thinking!?

    Although, I wonder: is there a southern hockey team that uses this flag, in a non-official way of course?

    Posted by Pony | March 18, 2007, 6:42 pm
  5. Heart, thank you for posting the REAL meaning of the confederate flag. Too many people believe it is just a flag represnting the succession of southern states from the north. You’re right about those northern states and the women sufferage groups and even the abolitionist groups. People thought slavery was wrong, but white supremacy was still prevalent in the groups. In my Africana Studies class, we are studying such now. I am glad that the professor is going over all of this with a fine tooth comb. I had known most of this all along, but its good to have resources. Too often are the movements romanticized as well… People wanting to believe that Lincoln freed the slaves… WRONGO Lincoln saved the north’s ass. He freed the slaves only to undermine the southern economy and to gain support because there were many slaves. If not for the North’s failure in the Civil war… MY WORD we just might have seen slavery prevail another couple hundred years…

    There is nothing romantic, noble, or fun about that damn flag. It represents the evil “ghosts” of the past racism in this nation, and also the silent racism that still exists today.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 18, 2007, 6:46 pm
  6. Heart, while I did emphasize my studies in history on the Antebellum South, and I agree with you that the flag has grown to mean racism, and racism alone, I don’t support a ban of it, or the Nazi flag. No, I’m neither, I just don’t believe banning works. I do believe that symbols change their meanings over time. However, I would like to add that the Boll Weevil ended most slavery, and Carter’s ending of farm subsidies ended the rest of it. The Civil War merely expanded the slave class. But, the real reason I don’t believe in banning is because I believe we all have a right to our opinions. No matter how ignorant they may be, or even appear. We just don’t have the right to shove it down anyone else’s throats. But I do believe we can be strong enough to be free enough to allow all these opinions. Otherwise, we run the danger of just changing the name of the “massa”. Thanks for the article, it was very good. Jim

    Posted by Jim Lunsford | March 19, 2007, 1:31 am
  7. Sorry, I didn’t actually post my comment.

    According to a friend of mine at FL Southern, the Confederate flag is flown in a lot of places. This disturbs her due to the ignorance that people have about the Civil War and Slavery. I find that the impression that John Sims made on society is an enlightening one. The proof that his artwork has made an impact on society is the controversy that it created. This controversy brought to light the social injustices that African Americans had to face throughout history. This includes many of the items displayed in the artwork. I think that he made a wise desicion in his subject matter. I feel that some of the debate coming out of his artwork is a bit outrageous.

    “Opponents of the exhibit have invoked a 1961 law, passed during the height of the Civil Rights movement, that makes it illegal to defile or ‘cast contempt on’ the American flag, and have threatened suit.”

    How is the Confederate Flag an American Flag? My interpretation of the American Flag is one of the United States, not of the Confederate States. Both are peices of American History that have come out of wars. However, the Confederacy is over and gone.

    What I find ironic is the fact that this law was passed during the height of the Civil Rights Movement and it is being brought up in a threatened lawsuit against anti-racist artwork.

    Posted by anitakay | March 19, 2007, 3:52 am
  8. The National Maritime Museum (NMM) in London are this year hosting many lectures and events regarding the Transatlantic slave trade (for those in the UK):
    http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.21415/viewPage/1
    I recommend going, I did attend one lecture last year.

    There are a number of online resources from the NMM:
    http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.21415/viewPage/7

    An area that I’ve been wishing to study in more depth is the role that women played in the abolition movement, because I had suspected for some time that there were many, however, (as usual!) they barely get mentioned or mentioned as footnotes to ‘the main activists’. A link that I’ve just found does show that there were quite a few women involved:
    http://www.nmm.ac.uk/freedom/viewTheme.cfm/theme/abolition
    “Women campaigners
    Women were key players in the anti-slavery movement especially in Quaker and evangelical Christian circles, who were among the earliest campaigners.”

    It wasn’t just the British involved in the slave trade, but the Dutch and several other nations as well. The main maritime powers at the time were the English, Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Most of these countries were involved in the human trafficking, as well as trade in goods such as sugar, spices, fabrics. There was much warring at sea over these trade routes and ports.

    A timeline of slavery:
    http://www.nmm.ac.uk/freedom/viewTheme.cfm/theme/timeline

    One of the worst pictures that I’ve seen was that of how the slaves were packed into these ships (it’s an illustration):
    http://www.understandingslavery.com/learningresources/results/?viewLargeImage=true&id=1681
    Unfortunately, it is not very clear online, but the black shapes all represent people as tightly packed as possible. I took my own photocopy of it when I was last at the Caird Library (at the NMM).

    One of the pivotal events for the abolition of slavery was of the court case involving the slave ship Zong:
    http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=langjohn&book=golden&story=middle

    In 1783, the master of a ship on passage from the island of San Thomé to Jamaica threw overboard one hundred and thirty-two slaves, and his owners [216] in England claimed on the underwriters for the full value of the slaves, on the ground that in order to save ship and crew and remainder of cargo there was absolute necessity to sacrifice these hundred and thirty-two, because the supply of drinking water had run dangerously short, and there was not sufficient on board to preserve the lives of all. The underwriters denied the necessity, and refused payment of the claim, whereupon an action was brought to compel payment.

    The trial brought to light a dreadful tale. Evidence proved that “the ship Zong, Luke Collingwood, master, sailed from the island of St. Thomas on the coast of Africa, September 6, 1781, with four hundred and forty slaves and fourteen whites on board, for Jamaica, and that in the November following she fell in with that island; but instead of proceeding to some port, the master, mistaking, as he alleges, Jamaica for Hispaniola, ran her to leeward. Sickness and mortality had by this time taken place on board the crowded vessel, so that between the time of leaving the coast of Africa and the 29th of November, sixty slaves and seven white people had died, and a great number of the surviving slaves were then sick and not likely to live. On that day the master of the ship called together a few of the officers, and stated to them that, if the sick slaves died a natural death, the loss would fall on the owners of the ship; but if they were thrown alive into the sea on any sufficient pretext of necessity for the safety of the ship, it would be the loss of the underwriters, alleging, at [217] the same time, that it would be less cruel to throw sick wretches into the sea than to suffer them to linger out a few days under the disorder with which they were afflicted. To this inhuman proposal the mate, James Kelsal, at first objected; but Collingwood at length prevailed on the crew to listen to it. He then chose out from the cargo one hundred and thirty-two slaves, and brought them on deck, all or most of whom were sickly and not likely to recover, and he ordered the crew to throw them into the sea. A parcel’ of them were accordingly thrown overboard, and on counting over the remainder next morning, it appeared that the number so drowned had been fifty-four. He then ordered another ‘parcel’ to be thrown over, which, on a second counting on the succeeding day, was proved to have amounted to forty-two. On the third day the remaining thirty-six were brought on deck, and as these now resisted the cruel purpose of their masters, the arms of twenty-six were fettered with irons, and the savage crew proceeded with the diabolical work, casting them down to join their comrades of the former days.” The remaining ten jumped into the sea.

    Unhappily this is not a solitary instance of such brutality; there are many cases as bad to be found in the evidence given before Parliamentary Committees in 1790.

    Posted by stormcloud | March 19, 2007, 12:37 pm
  9. Yeah, Stormy, it was the same in the U.S. where women led in the abolition movement. The Abolitionists, in general, also became Suffragists and many were Quakers. I wouldn’t say many were evangelical Christians– at least not in the current U.S. definition of the word, although Quakers were more orthodox so far as Christianity goes then than they are now, for sure. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the daughter of a great Abolitionist and grew up with regular meetings of Abolitionists in her home. She was an atheist though, heh, creator of the “Women’s Bible,” where she basically went through and cut out all the parts she didn’t like. 🙂

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 19, 2007, 12:58 pm
  10. “…she basically went through and cut out all the parts she didn’t like”

    If I was doing the editing on “The Bible”, it is likely it would end up a tri-fold pamplet. Just turfing the ‘begating’ section cuts it down by an inch or two for starters!😉

    Seriously though, I think that not a lot of importance/research has been done on the English female abolitionists — that one paragraph is about the most that I’ve seen written about women’s role in the movement, but always had that ‘sneaking’ feeling that they were doing more than making the tea and propping up the big men of the movement. As always, the female contribution to anything major gets airbrushed out of history.

    It’s always an internal conflict with me between the activism and doing research like this.😦

    Posted by stormcloud | March 19, 2007, 1:51 pm
  11. I have conflicting feelings about the suffragetts involvement in the abolition of slavery. Too often are they painted out as “innocently” working to abolish the slave trade/slave driven economy of the south. I have done some research on both the sufferagist movement as it pertains to women, and their “involvement” in abolition. Their involvement was not without selfish/more personal reasons. They, just as much as the southern slave owners, in some ways, promoted the cause of womens sufferage at the expense of free and enslaved blacks. I am not too quick to credit a movement which promotes “equality” at the expense of another marginalized group. Does anyone have anything to add to this? I just know that when you are a student, in grade school, you learn about the amazing work of Cady-Stanton, Mott, Shaw, etc… but it is when I did some researching on my own, and took a few Africana Studies courses in college that I learned the truth…

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 19, 2007, 6:49 pm
  12. I dont want to say that they did not stand against slavery, nor do I disagree that wome’s efforts are almost always omitted from history, but well… actually history is truly one big LIE. Lincoln did not free slaves because it was RIGHT, but because he HAD to… The confederacy was closing in on the Union and slaves were freed to join the union troops… If he could have kept the country united and still allowed slavery to stand, he would have.

    Also one thing I was referring to when I mentioned the sufferagetts involvement was, when trying to gain the support of southern women and southern men for women to get the right to vote, they totally shafted black women. They attempted to appeal to the white supremacist way of southern life, confirming that blacks were not equal to whites, and that if southern white women gained the right to vote, they would out number the black vote. I just feel that too often is the credit given to the sufferigist movement… In a way they actually capitalized on the plight of blacks to further their cause. So in that, I am just conflicted, naturally I have mixed feelings.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 19, 2007, 6:56 pm
  13. Hey, DP– I hear you, but don’t agree with that version of the history of abolition/women’s suffrage. I think what happened was, men — black free men and white men — threw women under the truck to get the male vote, which is why men, white and black, got the vote 50 years before any women did, white or black. The leaders of the women’s suffrage movement were not perfect, far from it, but they have also fallen victim to anti-feminist revisionist history which passes for what is “true” about the suffragists as opposed to what is “false”. In fact, male abolitionists betrayed women, and it is this betrayal, which, in part, gave rise to behaviors which anti-feminists, mostly, in my opinion, have characterized as racist.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 19, 2007, 7:46 pm
  14. Ok. I can hear your point in that, but does that take away from the fact that womens suffrage movement were, while in opposition to slavery, racist? I am not trying to rule out the free black men’s perspecive and stance, but to call out their position while, not intentionally but still, hiding the position of the sufferag movement is sort of omissive and evasive, isnt it? Abolitionists betrayed black people period! They stood for, all of them, the abolition of slavery, but the did not stand against, not all of them, white supremacy. The fight for white women to vote, during the campaigning and gathering of support, came at the expense of black’s free and slave. I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I am wanting to make sure that I am understanding you right, and also that I am not viewing this thing one-sided.🙂

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 19, 2007, 8:10 pm
  15. Can you honestly say that attempting to appeal to the white supremacist ideology of the men and women of the south is excusable, or not racist?

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 19, 2007, 8:13 pm
  16. DP (and everybody), I am going to post a series of paragraphs about the suffragists and the Civil War. I think this is way important. To me, the revisionist history around the suffragists and abolition/anti-racism work is egregiously dishonest. It is despicable the way the suffragists have been vilified and demonized including at the university level, something I attribute, again, to the backlash against feminism.

    Okay, here goes. To minimize confusion, please nobody post until I’m done posting this material. I will include footnotes/references.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 19, 2007, 8:35 pm
  17. BEGIN QUOTED MATERIAL; FOOTNOTES WILL BE IN THE LAST COMMENT POSTED

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton moved to New York City in the spring of 1862. …As a political abolitionist, she was eager to support a war to end slavery. “The war is music to my ears,” she wrote. “It is a simultaneous chorus for freedom.” (1) By supporting the Union, Stanton believed feminists would earn the gratitude of both abolitionists and Republicans and be rewarded with suffrage. She did not anticipate any alternate outcome, so she dedicated herself to equal rights for [black people] and [white] women. …

    In a city teeming with soldiers, freed blacks, draft resisters, and displaced Southerners, the war seemed more immediate than in… Seneca Falls. Battle news and casualty lists were posted outside the telegraph office, where crowds gathered daily. …

    In the summer of 1863 the war came …close to home. Draft rioters burned a black orphanage one block from the Stantons’ brownstone, sacked the offices of the Tribune, and hanged innocent freedmen When the mob surged past her house, Stanton … remained at the door mentally preparing a speech to expel the ruffians… [Stanton and her family] spent the night [at friends’ house in Johnstown] From there, Stanton reported the incident to Gerrit and Ann Smith.

    Last Thursday I escaped from the horrors of the most brutal mob I ever witnessed … The riot raged in our neighborhood through the first two days of the trouble…[since] Henry [Stanton’s husband], Susan and I were so identified with reform and reformers, we [thought] we might at any moment be subjects of vengeance… But a squad of police and two companies of soldiers soon came up and a bloody fray took place near us which quieted the neighborhood.(2)

    Like antiabolition mobs, the draft rioters seemed to intensify antislavery commitment, including Stanton’s.

    Stanton’s belligerence galled Anthony, who opposed the war. … Anthony was a pacifist. But her primary objection was that the war would interrupt and reverse the progress being made on behalf of women’s rights…A newly elected, conservative Assembly had taken away the right of mothers to equal guardianship of their children and eliminated the right of widows to control property left at the death of their husbands. Anthony was outraged. It angered her that few of their former allies even noticed this setback, swept up as they were in the war…. To Martha Wright, Anthony complained, “I have not yet seen one good reason for the abandonment of all our meetings and am… more and more ashamed and sad… that the means must be sacrificed to the end.” The practical Martha responded that it was foolish to call a meeting “when the nation’s whole heart and soul are engrossed with this momentous crisis and… when nobody will listen.” (3)

    Unlike Anthony, Stanton gave the war priority. She understood that women’s rights could not compete for public attention with war and emancipation. While she accepted the facts of Anthony’s analysis about war as a setback, Stanton drew another conclusion. She believed that if women aided the war effort wholeheartedly, their good efforts would be rewarded with equal citizenship and suffrage. … Stanton was so sure that women would soon enter politics that she worried about their lack of preparation. Anthony was unconvinced and pessimistic. She had no confidence in “man’s sense of justice” and remained skeptical and critical. (4)

    This disagreement over policy was the first major conflict between Stanton and Anthony. Each woman was hurt and angered by the other’s recalcitrance. …In the end Anthony’s analysis proved correct and Stanton’s wrong. Stanton admitted her error in her autobiography. “When the best of men asked us to be silent on our question during the war, and labor for the emancipation of the slave, we did so, and gave five years to his emancipation and enfranchisement. To this proposition, my friend, Susan B. Anthony, never consented, but was compelled to yield because no one stood with her. I was convinced at the time that it was the true policy. I am now equally sure it was a blunder.” (5) Women’s war work was not rewarded, but neither would Anthony’s single-minded strategy have succeeded.

    (Continued)

    Posted by womensspace | March 19, 2007, 11:56 pm
  18. CONTINUING QUOTED MATERIAL

    Although they could not agree on feminist tactics, as abolitionists Stanton and Anthony were allied. Both spoke and wrote for the abolition cause. Both believed that the war must end slavery. Both were critical of Lincoln’s hesitation to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. As Stanton admitted to Martha Wright, “The administration is too slow and politic to suit my straightforward ideas of justice and vengeance.” (6) Both Stanton and Anthony believed that black slaves and freedmen deserved citizenship and suffrage [just as they, themselves, did].

    … Stanton … adapted the metaphor of bondage to [the struggle for all] women’s rights and genuinely believed that a middle-class white wife was as powerless as a Southern field hand. But whenever a choice had to be made, Stanton put [universal suffrage] first. Until the war she had never had to make a choice…

    Unlike most nineteenth century white Americans, Stanton did not believe [black people] or [white] women to be physically or mentally inferior [to white men]. Her eventual hostility to black men was the result of her [belief] that they behaved exactly like white men. She believed that black and white men opposed equal rights for women because it was in their self-interest to keep women subordinate. She later attacked black men on account of gender rather than race.

    … Committed as they were to abolition [Stanton and Anthony]… [pushed] for emancipation in the political arena.

    The abolitionists did not hesitate to criticize the [Lincoln] administration they were credited with electing… In speeches and newspaper articles they castigated Lincoln for not moving fast enough to free the slaves. To prove that emancipation had popular support, they initiated a massive petition drive. After Lincoln’s proclamation, issued January 1, 1863, they became even more demanding.

    Eager to play a visible role in this activity and prompted by Henry Stanton, Stanton and Anthony decided to create a political organization for Northern women. In March 1863 they issued “An Appeal to the Women of the Republic” urging them to band together to “determine the final settlement” of the war. … Stanton proposed that the women “canvass the nation for freedom.” The women would serve as a national conscience, reminding the politicians that they were willing to sacrifice their husbands and sons only in a war that would end slavery. [7]

    The women decided to collect three million petition signatures in favor of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution to free the slaves permanently. The connection between slaves and [free] women was reiterated in a typically controversial resolution that was narrowly adopted. “There never can be a true peace in this republic until the civil and political rights of all citizens of African descent and all women are practically established.” [8] … Stanton was convinced they were working both to free slaves and to enfranchise [all] women.

    After a two-day meeting the National Woman’s Loyal League was established. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was elected president and Susan B. Anthony secretary. Angelina Grimke Weld, Antoinette Blackwell, Lucy Stone and Ernestine Rose were members. … The [Loyal League] … [was] suspect to the establishment. The New York Herald reported that the Loyal League, “originally designed for the most patriotic and praiseworthy motive, had been distorted into… a revolutionary women’s rights movements.” Its editors hoped that the feminists would “beat a hasty retreat until further notice,” since no one had “time for such nonsense and tomfoolery.” Ignoring such insults, the Loyal League flourished. … As Stanton concluded from the vantage point of old age:

    The leading journals used to vie with each other in praising the patience and prudence, the executive ability, the loyalty and the patriotism of the women who, when demanding civil and political rights… for themselves, had been uniformly denounced as “unwise,” “impudent,” “fanatical” and “impracticable,”… and thus it ever is. So long as woman labors to second man’s endeavors and exalt his sex above her own, her virtues pass unquestioned, but when she dares to demand rights… for herself, her motives, manners, dress, personal appearance, and character are subjects for ridicule and distraction.[9]

    (Continued)

    Posted by womensspace | March 19, 2007, 11:58 pm
  19. CONTINUING QUOTED MATERIAL

    Lincoln’s procrastination about emancipation, his impunitive reconstruction plan, and the vacillating course of the war caused abolitionists to seek an alternate candidate… Although the Stantons had met Lincoln in Washington, they refused to support him. … Abolitionists and radical Republicans believed that Lincoln’s reelection was a disaster for the nation. When Lincoln was shot, many abolitionists saw it as a “terrible exhibition of God’s wrath.” As Anthony wrote to Stanton, an angry God who resembled John Brown in appearance had struck the president down, “just at the very hour he was declaring his willingness to consign those five million … [black] people of the South to the tender mercies of the ex-slavelords of the lash.” At the time Mrs. Stanton agreed with Anthony that Lincoln deserved to die for his moderate reconstruction scheme. [10]

    Unfortunately for Stanton and the women’s movement, the reconstruction plans of Lincoln’s successors were even less acceptable to women or abolitionists.

    Even before the end of the war [Stanton] had traveled independently as an abolitionist speaker, addressed the New York legislature on married women’s property rights and divorce, established the national Woman’s Loyal League, and organized the largest petition drive to date in support of the Thirteenth Amendment to end slavery. After the war she reconvened the annual women’s rights conventions, started four organizations (the American Equal Rights Association, the Working Women’s Association, the Woman Suffrage Association of America, and the National Woman Suffrage Association); campaigned for female suffrage in the District of Columbia, New York and Kansas, ran for Congress as an independent, edited a newspaper; helped stop a move by the legislature to legalize prostitution in New York…

    Stanton was … without role models among women she knew. No one else had been so singularly outspoken. Unable to identify one model, she sought to combine the strengths of the women she admired… and the talents of the men she had known in the antislavery movement…
    She believed that women must be enfranchised because they had a natural right to vote and needed legal guarantees of equality. But she was unwilling to sacrifice her stands on marriage and divorce or working women… in order to win eventual legislative support for suffrage. She did not compromise; she demanded every right.

    Throughout the war Stanton had been a loyal abolitionist. …she had worked for Lincoln’s election after the convention in 1860, joined the antislavery crusade in upstate New York in 1861, postponed her feminist demands, founded the … Loyal League, amassed petition signatures for the Thirteenth Amendment, supported Fremont over Lincoln in 1864, and backed Wendell Phillips when he challenged William Lloyd Garrison for leadership of the American Anti-Slavery Society…. Garrison had moved to disband the organization. He insisted that its work had been completed with the Emancipation Proclamation and the anticipated passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. The majority of the Society, including … Stanton, disagreed. They supported Phillips’ argument that the work was incomplete until the slaves had been made citizens and enfranchised. … Stanton’s candidate, Phillips, was elected president of the group. For her loyalty to Phillips and the anti-Slavery Society, Stanton expected abolitionists to include woman’s suffrage on their postwar agenda.

    Similarly, Phillips and the abolitionists expected the Republicans to enact their suggestions… The draft of the Fourteenth Amendment conferred citizenship on every male born or naturalized in the United States, prohibited states from abridging “equal protection” of citizens, reduced congressional representation for states that denied the ballot to blacks, disbarred ex-Confederates from holding office, and repudiated the Confederate debt.

    (Continued)

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 12:00 am
  20. CONTINUING QUOTED MATERIAL

    … During the summer of 1865, Congressman Robert Dale Owen of Indiana, an ally of Stanton’s on divorce reform, sent her copies of the various drafts of the Fourteenth Amendment. Insertion of the word “male” to define citizens and legal voters jarred Stanton. Previously [free] women had assumed they were citizens. The question of whether or not [free] women might vote had been considered a state matter, similar to property rights or divorce reform. Female property owners had frequently voted before the Revolution and in New Jersey women had voted in all elections until 1808. More recently widows and other female taxpayers had been allowed to vote in some states on some subjects, such as school board members and bond issues. The proposed Fourteenth Amendment equated citizenship with voting rights and made both dependent on gender. Without the word “male,” the language could be interpreted to include women as citizens and voters. With the word “male” it would require another constitutional amendment to enfranchise women.

    … Stanton still believed that women would be rewarded with the vote for their service to the nation. She was outraged at the infidelity of her antislavery allies. She demanded that Phillips and the abolitionists insist that the Fourteenth Amendment include [all] women. He refused to “mix the movements,” because “such mixture would lose for the Negro far more than we should gain for the women.” In order to abolish slavery, Phillips and the abolitionists insisted on recognizing Negro citizenship “where citizenship supposes the ballot for all men.” An angry Stanton shot back: “May I ask in reply to your fallacious letters just one question based on the apparent opposition in which you place the Negro and woman. My question is: Do you believe the African race is composed entirely of males?” [11]

    [Anthony] and Stanton planned several steps, first initiating a petition drive and then convening a women’s rights convention. As Stanton recalled, “Miss Anthony and I were the first to see the full significance of the word ‘male’ in the Fourteenth Amendment, and we at once sounded the alarm.” They sent out petitions for a constitutional amendment to prohibit the states from disenfranchising any of their citizens on the grounds of sex.

    After a six-month effort they had collected only ten thousand signatures, less than three percent of the number who had favored the Thirteenth Amendment.

    …Republican refusal to accept the suffrage petitions contributed to the reluctance of reform women to sign them. Sen. Charles Sumner considered the petitions “most importune”; Rep. Thaddeus Stevens refused to introduce those Mrs. Stanton sent him. [12] The refusal infuriated Stanton and confirmed her worst suspicions about the Republican party. When Stanton and Anthony turned to the Democrats to introduce the petitions, they further angered the Republican majority and undercut any chance they might have had for success.

    The argument that black and white women deserved the vote as much as freedmen had few advocates. The insistence of abolitionists and Republicans that black male suffrage take precedence over female suffrage enraged Stanton. In defense she adopted an antiblack, anti-male, profemale argument. According to Stanton, it was better and safer to enfranchise educated white women than former slaves or ignorant immigrants. The same women she had previously found small-minded and superstitious were now more intelligent and more noble than most men. … Her elitist, racist, nativist appeal appalled even her most stalwart friends…Stanton responded by claiming that without votes or influence, her only weapon was to attack those who opposed her.

    In their efforts to rally the support of women’s rights advocates and the reform community, Stanton and Anthony announced the first women’s rights convention since the war… But because their opposition to the Fourteenth Amendment was well known, few people responded to their call. One who did was Sojourner Truth, the former slave, famous for her, “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. She attended the Eleventh National Women’s Rights Convention and stayed with the Stantons. [13]

    The Eleventh National Women’s Rights Convention had been called for May 1866. It was scheduled to coincide with the first meeting of a new organization, the American Equal Rights Association (AERA), the brainchild of Theodore Tilton, the young, long-haired editor of the Independent. He proposed the AERA as a coalition for supporters of black and [white] female suffrage and persuaded the leaders of both groups to merge into one body. Stanton accepted Tilton’s proposals so that “the same conventions, appeals, and petitions, might include both classes of disenfranchised citizens.” At Stanton’s urging, Lucretia Mott accepted the AERA presidency. Stanton was elected first vice president, and Anthony became corresponding secretary. All three… served on the executive committee. Stanton wrote the preamble to the platform. At Anthony’s insistence it promised “universal suffrage”.[14]

    It was soon apparent that the feminists had been naive. The vehicle that Stanton and Anthony hoped would unite reformers behind their cause ended up being used against them. At the end of May 1866, Wendell Phillips convened the executive committee of the AERA in Boston. In the absence of Mott and Stanton, the committee approved his plan to make black male suffrage paramount. With the support of the AERA and without the opposition of any other organization, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in July 1868, excluding women from citizenship and voting rights.

    Unable to change the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment, Stanton next tried to reinterpret it. She claimed that nothing in the Constitution forbade women from holding office, whether or not they could vote. In August of 1866 she nominated herself as an independent candidate for Congress, the first woman to run for that office. In a letter addressed to the electors of New York City’s Eighth District, Mrs. Stanton advocated “free speech, free press, free men, and free trade.” She chose an independent candidacy because the Democrats did not have a “clear vision of personal rights,” and because the Republicans lacked “sound principles on trade and commerce.” Finally, of course, she endorsed women’s rights. “I would gladly have a voice and vote in the Fortieth Congress to demand universal suffrage, that thus a republican form of government might be secured to every state in the union.

    … Mrs. Stanton received only 24 votes…

    Stanton suffered one more defeat in 1866. In December a Senate bill to extend the vote to Negroes in the District of Columbia again raised the issue of [universal] woman suffrage. Sen. Thomas Cowan, Republican of Pennsylvania, moved to strike the word “male.” His motion resulted in the first congressional debate on woman suffrage. It was marked by ridicule, disdain and contempt. Suffrage advocates in the Senate used arguments provided by Stanton and Mott. They stated that women were citizens with legal rights equal to those of men and therefore deserved to vote. The opposition countered with claims that would be repeated for the next fifty years. Women did not need to vote because they were well represented by husbands, fathers, brothers, or sons. Women lacking protective male relatives were ignored. Further, the opponents argued, women were physically and mentally unfit for the “turmoil and battle of the public eye.” Indeed, female suffrage would create a sexual “state of war.” The Cowan Amendment was defeated thirty seven to nine. [15]

    Unable to win suffrage for women at the federal level or in the federal city, Stanton and Anthony spent 1867 trying to assure it at the state level in New York and Kansas. … Had Stanton and Anthony been more realistic about the political climate o the country in 1867, they might have been able to predict the outcome of the Kansas referendum. … The women lost, tallying less than one-third of the votes cast. Despite support from Republican politicians and the press, black suffrage was also defeated. Before woman suffrage was enacted as a constitutional amendment in 1920, there would be 56 such state referenda. Kansas was only the first. [16]

    Eastern reformers blamed the double defeat in Kansas on … [Anthony’s and Stanton’s] association with [George Francis] Train… Tall, handsome, wealthy and eloquent, Train was a flamboyant young man with presidential ambition. … As sincere as a showman could be, Train espoused women’s rights, an eight-hour workday, paper currency, and free trade, but he vehemently opposed black suffrage…

    The strange misalliance was based on a shared commitment to women’s rights and “educated suffrage,” positions on which Stanton agreed with Train. She also wanted to exclude blacks and immigrants unless [all] women were enfranchised at the same time.

    …What made Train … more appealing to Stanton and Anthony than his politics was his money. … he had promised them a newspaper of their own. He arranged for them to publicize it with a sixteen-city lecture tour on their return east and paid all the bills for their trip…

    …criticism made Stanton and Anthony more stubborn and less discriminating about Train’s flaws. “Mr. Train…” Stanton wrote to Martha Wright in defense, “.. has some extravagances and idiosyncrasies, but he is willing to devote energy and money to our cause when no other man is.” … Train met Stanton’s single standard for loyalty and friendship: he supported woman suffrage….

    … it was [Train’s] promise of a newspaper that Stanton found most seductive. … Stanton was no longer assured coverage of her activities or publication of her speeches. Since the end of the war she had been trying to find the means to establish her own journal. She had even solicited funds for the project but to no avail. Now, with Train’s help, she had her forum.

    [Stanton] plunged into publication of the Revolution. … Its motto was “Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.” The name suited Stanton’s vision of her own newspaper:

    The establishing of woman on her rightful throne is the greatest revolution the world has ever known or will know. To bring it about is no child’s play. You and I have not forgotten the conflict of the last 20 years– the unmixed bitterness of our cup…A journal called the Rosebud might answer for those who come with kid gloves and perfumes to lay immortal wreaths on the monuments which in sweat and tears others have hewn and built; but for us… there is no name like the Revolution.[17]

    The first issue of the Revolution was published January 8, 1868… The first four pages contained editorials and articles written by Stanton. She reported on the status of women tailors, divorce reform, suffrage in Colorado, European feminists, anything to do with women. …

    Page 5 was devoted to the views of George Francis Train favoring greenbacks, open immigration, organized labor, the abolition of standing armies and penny ocean postage. …

    Ten thousand copies of the first issue were distributed…

    Circulation in the reform community was low. Stanton’s decision to remain in league with [Train] appalled the abolitionists. They sent one angry letter after another. With boldness that was becoming characteristic, Stanton reprinted many of these letters and then answered them point by point. To Thomas Wentworth Higginson she responded, “Time will show that Miss Anthony and myself are neither idiots nor lunatics.” She reminded Gerrit Smith that “Tyranny on a southern plantation is far more easily seen by white men in the North than [white men’s own] wrongs [against] women in their own households.” [18]

    … As senior editor, Stanton refused to run ads for patent medicines, the largest newspaper advertisers at that time. … skeptical of medicine and physicians, she was convinced that patent medicines were dangerous and that some were thinly disguised abortifacients. Stanton opposed abortion because it was dangerous for women… but she did not blame the women who [had] them. … Stanton believed women were forced into these desperate measures by … men…

    With few subscriptions or advertisements, Stanton and Anthony became more dependent on Train for financial support. But soon after the first issue of Revolution appeared, Train left for England. There his outspoken support of Irish rebels resulted in a one-year jail sentence. No longer able or willing to subsidize the pair, Train insisted that the women remove his name from the masthead…

    After two and a half years, the Revolution failed. In May 1870, for the consideration of one dollar, it was sold…[leaving Anthony $10,000 in debt.]

    [When the Revolution had been published for five months] the American Equal Rights Association convened its annual meeting…. The major battle of the convention was waged over the Fifteenth Amendment, granting suffrage to black males. Stanton and Anthony stubbornly refused to endorse voting rights for black men only. They insisted that the proposed wording be changed to include black and white women. Olympia Brown and Lucy Stone demanded an explanation of the male-only strategy… Frederick Douglass, Stanton’s ally since Seneca Falls, now claimed that black male suffrage was more urgent than female suffrage because women were less vulnerable than blacks. “The government of this country loves women, but the Negro is loathed,” exclaimed Douglass. Black male suffrage was a matter of life and death; only the vote protected “unoffending” blacks from the Ku Klux Klan and the Regulators. Woman suffrage, Douglass concluded, “meets nothing but ridicule.”[19]

    … Stanton and Anthony [consequently] argued for the defeat of the Fifteenth Amendment altogether. Why should she support voting rights for black men, demanded Stanton, when she could not trust them to ensure hers?

    … Stanton was the center of attention again at the May 1869 meeting of the AERA. In Mrs. Mott’s absence, Stanton, a first vice president, presided. Stephen Foster objected. … Henry Blackwell tried to restore peace. He reminded the membership that… Stanton and Anthony had long been pro-Negro. Discussion of the Fifteenth Amendment opened the sore again. During the debate, both Anthony and Stone supported [universal] female as well as black suffrage. Stanton, wielding the gavel, remained neutral. Foster, fed up, led a walkout of the New England delegates.

    Although Stanton had played no immediate part in these incidents, they were decisive for her. She realized that the Equal Rights Association would never give women suffrage priority…

    Stanton’s refusal to admit men to membership in the National Women’s Suffrage Association, … her opposition to the Fifteenth Amendment, and her association with working women, union organizers, unwed mothers, murderers, and advocates of free love, shocked …the reform community. … Nor did they share Stanton’s view of men as tyrants. “Society,” Stanton had editorialized, “as organized today under the man power, is one grand rape of womanhood. … The woman question is more than a demand for suffrage… [It] is a question covering a whole range of woman’s needs and demands, including her work, her wages, her property, her education, her physical training, her social status, her political equalization, her marriage, and her divorce… Suffrage is not the only object but it is the first to be attained… Suffrage for women gained and all else will speedily follow.”

    END QUOTED MATERIAL

    — From In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, by Elisabeth Griffith, New York, Oxford University Press, 1984.

    (I will provide the footnotes later on, I have an errand to run right now.)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 12:11 am
  21. P.S. Bolds mine.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 12:12 am
  22. FOOTNOTES:

    1. Letter from ECS to William H. Seward, 19 Sept. 1862, Elizabeth Cady Stanton as Revealed in Her Letters, Diary and Reminiscences, ed. Theodore Stanton and Harriett Stanton Blach (New York: Harper & Bros, 2933), 88.

    2. ECS to Gerrit and An Smith, 20 July [1863], Letters, 44.

    3. Letter from SBA to Lydia Mott, [April 1963]. Quotation from Alma Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian (Boston, Beacon, 1959), 95; SBA to Martha Wright, 23 May 1861, and MW to SBA, 31 May 1861, William Lloyd Garrison, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College.

    4. ECS to MW, 20 Aug. 1862, Theodore Stanton, Mabel Smith Douglass Library, Douglass College, Rutgers University.

    5. ECS to SBA, not dated, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Library of Congress; 80Y, 254.

    6. ECS to MW, 10 Aug. 1862, Theodore Stanton, Mabel Smith Douglass Library, Douglass College, Rutgers University.

    7. Ida Husted Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, 2 Vols., (Indianapolis, Bowen-Merrill, 1899; reprint, Hollenbeck, 1908), 1:226; The History of Women Suffrage, 2:50-78.

    8. ECS to SBA, not dated, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Library of Congress; 80Y, 236-239.

    9. New York Herald, Mary Elizabeth Massey, Bonnet Brigades: American Women and the Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966)164-65; 80&, 240-41.

    10. SBA to ECS, 19 April 1865, ECS-LC.

    11. Wendell Phillips to ECS, 10 May 1865, ECS to Phillips, 25 May 1865, and ECS to SBA, 11 Aug. 1865, Letters, 104-6.

    12. AL, Anthony, 115.

    13. History of Women Suffrage, 2:152. Harriot Stanton Blatch remembered that during the 1866 meeting Sojourner Truth stayed at the Stantons’ house. As a little girl of ten, she read the morning papers to the former slave, who could not read. Said Sojourner Truth: “I can’t read little things like letters. I read big things like men.” Challenging Years, autobiography of Harriot Stanton Blatch, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s daughter.

    14. HWS, 2:152-53.

    15. HWS, 2:103; Eleanor Flexner, A Century of Struggle:The Women’s Rights Movement of the United States(Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, Belknap Press, 1959; paperback, New York: Atehneum, 1972), chaps. 2, 8., 148-49.

    16. ECS, Speech to Judiciary Committee, Jan. 1867, ECS-LC; HWS, 2:271.

    17. AL, Anthony, 115.

    18. William Lloyd Garrison to Theodore Tilton, 5 April 1870, WLG-Boston Public Library; ECS to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 13 Jan. 1868, Theodore Stanton, Mabel Smith Douglass Library, Douglass College, Rutgers University; HWS, 2:317.

    19. HWS, 2:310-11.

    ***

    END

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 3:26 am
  23. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was overly optimistic, and got badly burned for her idealistic trusting of her male supposed allies. “Suffrage for women gained and all else will speedily follow,” she thought. If only it could have been that simple.

    That grossly patronizing claim that “women did not need to vote because they were well represented by husbands, fathers, brothers, or sons,” sounds to me much like the rationale that women do not need to organize an independent political movement, because they are well represented by the Democratic Party.

    Cynthia McKinney had something to say about how well she feels represented by that party at the demonstration in front of the Pentagon this past Saturday. After denouncing Democratic complicity, she said, “As an American of conscience, I hereby declare my independence from every bomb dropped, every threat leveled, every civil liberties rollback, every child killed, every veteran maimed, every man tortured.

    “And I sadly declare my independence from the leaders who let it happen.” http://www.allthingscynthiamckinney.com/node/22

    Posted by Aletha | March 20, 2007, 6:33 am
  24. “Unlike most nineteenth century white Americans, Stanton did not believe [black people] or [white] women to be physically or mentally inferior [to white men]. Her eventual hostility to black men was the result of her [belief] that they behaved exactly like white men. She believed that black and white men opposed equal rights for women because it was in their self-interest to keep women subordinate. She later attacked black men on account of gender rather than race.”

    I have read many books about this, there are a few different perspectives and too often the black abolitionists of the time were thrown in with the lot of white men whose argument was that women did not want or need the vote because they were represented by husbands and fathers. The handful of BLACK men often opposed black women’s fight to earn the vote because of white supremacy. It was not safe for a black person period to attempt to vote, and often the opposition to black women voting was fear that they were unable to defend themselves against the white mobs. I would not take that to be that they, the majority, there were those who truly felt, as did their white male counter parts, felt that black women were inferior. Actually in the black community, at the time, you did not find that same dynamic of male supremacy as you did in white community. Women were ministers, leaders in the church, the organization which gave blacks power until they were able to have representation at the congressional level, it was particularly rare that this sort of blatant disregard for women was found in the black community, though we were not exempt from it.

    “She believed that women must be enfranchised because they had a natural right to vote and needed legal guarantees of equality. But she was unwilling to sacrifice her stands on marriage and divorce or working women… in order to win eventual legislative support for suffrage. She did not compromise; she demanded every right.”

    “She also wanted to exclude blacks and immigrants (unless [all] women were enfranchised at the same time.)”

    I disagree with your interpretation of the above quote. I cannot remember how to place bolds, but the latter piece, placed in parenthesis by me, was bolded meaning your words. From what I have read independently, and from what you have posted here, she was opposed, as were many others of her time, to the suffrage/enfranchisement of blacks and immigrants BECAUSE women white women did not have it. She took on a NASTY tone of “it was better and safer to enfranchise educated white women than former slaves or ignorant immigrants.” This is exactly the question I had. Yes she was one who advocated actively for the abolition of slavery, but blacks were undercut by her agenda for the enfranchisement of white women. Too often in feminist movements and groups are women of color undercut by a white agenda, wouldnt you agree?

    “…What made Train … more appealing to Stanton and Anthony than his politics was his money. … he had promised them a newspaper of their own. He arranged for them to publicize it with a sixteen-city lecture tour on their return east and paid all the bills for their trip…”

    “…criticism made Stanton and Anthony more stubborn and less discriminating about Train’s flaws. “Mr. Train…” Stanton wrote to Martha Wright in defense, “.. has some extravagances and idiosyncrasies, but he is willing to devote energy and money to our cause when no other man is.” … Train met Stanton’s single standard for loyalty and friendship: he supported woman suffrage….”

    Train was a racist. Stanton and Anthony gladly accepted his support of womens suffrage. ALL of them were advocating for law and decision makers not to raise the negro above the heads of their own mothers, sisters, daughters… can you explain to me why this should be celebrated? I will not ever say that Stanton and Anthony, even Mott, werent diligent workers and served dutifully as abolitionists, but they did in fact, even if because they were betrayed by male abolitionists, scapegoat blacks for their own agenda. No they were not perfect, neither were many of the black abolitionists of the time. But I do not support, nor will I, any praise of these women which completely omits their negative actions. I am just as opposed to black leaders, historically and currently, guilty of the same.

    Suffraist Henry Blackwell, was among the advocates of “educated suffrage” which was to serve as a means of eliminating the black vote. The NAWSA (National Americen Women Suffrage Association) was the largest suffrage orgaanization in the nation, in 1903, and passed a resolution stating that there were more white native-born women who could read and write than all black and foreign-born voters combines, so that the enfranchisement of such women would settle the question of literacy. This was YET another attempt to exclude black women from suffrage. Suffrage leaders of the NAWS, such as Ms. Susan B. Anthony, accepted this resolution for political reasons. They were willing, all too willing I might add, to sacrifice principal for the sake of “expediency.” Anthony’s radical feminist politics were compromised as she succumbed to the southern conservative, white supremacist, political agenda.

    Furthermore, the question of literacy just enrages me… exactly whose fault was it that blacks were illiterate? Was it the blacks, or the white supremacist ideology and laws which made it illegal to educate a slave, and then further the “school’s” set up to educate newly freed blacks? To attack blacks, even under the guise of literacy, is to also blame them. Blacks were scapegoated by many of these suffragists, and some suffragists were willing, Catt, Griffin, Stanton, and Anthony too, to argue that non-white women held no claim to sffrage.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 4:14 pm
  25. Heart, thank you for posting that. There were many organizations/movements which were geared at abolition and equality. But womens suffrage was just as shoddy and faulty as the rest of them.

    I disagree that the opposition to black suffrage was only due to betrayal, and I also disagree that it was not racist. There was rage among women, that black men were able to vote attain enfranchisement when they, white women, werent, and they opposed black women’s inclusion above their own. These northern white abolitionists were just as racist as the conservative southerners.

    One other reference would be Anna Shaw’s depiction of blacks as standing in opposition of woman suffrage. She like many suffrage leaders criticized blacks, men, for opposing woman suffrage but not whites who opposed teh enfranchisement of blacks…

    There were black supporters of woman suffrage:

    W.E.B Du Bois, Francis Grimke, James Weldon Johnson, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary Church Terrell, Judge Robert Terrell, A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen.

    One of the strongest arguments, by black men, was not exactly against black women or white women’s suffrage/enfranchisement. For example, Professor Kelly Miller argued that the plight of black women was similar to the plight of all women. Miller saw the gender issue separately from the race issue. Miller’s argument was that ” “the nero” (man) could not get justice without the right to suffrage, but (white) women were privileged, and therefore held no such claim to protection.” (From Slavery to Freedom:A history of Negro Americans) “The Politics of the Anti-Woman Suffrage Agenda: African-Americans Respond to Conservatism” By Rosalyn Terborg-Penn.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 4:43 pm
  26. There was rage among women, that black men were able to vote attain enfranchisement when they, white women, werent,

    Absolutely. As there should have been and should still be. Deep, deep rage. Why should any man vote, any time, when women, any woman, is not similarly given the right to vote? I see no good reason not to rage. I also see no reason at all why any woman should should put a man’s right to vote — any man’s — before her own.

    How that woman handles her rage? Yeah, I might be critical of what she does with her rage. I might say I would have done this, that or the other. How easy is that. To me, it’s way too easy.

    The bottom line is, it would be 60 years before women were enfranchised as citizens and received the vote. Women lost. Big time.

    I am not of a mind right now, though, either to defend or condemn the suffragists, neither to debate whose commentary and actions were or were not racist, whose commentary and actions were woman-hating and whose were not, who should have done whatever. I am going to let what I’ve posted here stand as it is without additional comment.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 5:09 pm
  27. I see your point Heart. Women should have been enraged, but their rage was directed at black men, not all men. There were undertones of superiority in that rage, almost as if to say “why should black men get to vote when we as white women still cannot?” In that the rage was not at MEN but at black men, yet there is this celebration of the same suffragists for their work in abolition…

    That is what I feel conflicted on. It just seems like their racism is excused because their reasons for such racism, were due to the the betrayal of white male abolitionists, or is seen as an anti-feminist characterization of racism. There were some who were, in fact, against the enfranchisement of black men, because white women had not received the same. History paints a picture of white feminists for the abolition of slavery and equality “the negro” and I, for one, do not support such a half truth… I do not agree with viewing this as some anti-feminist twist of real events, writings and speech. Maybe we will never agree, but I feel that to honor one “effort” without exposing the other is to erase it, to discredit it as being untrue. Especially when labled as anti-feminist. I am just trying to better understand that. They were amazing women, I have enjoyed reading about all of them and studying their work. I would definitely be one to honor their work, but I am not one to justify nor over-look their, or anyone else’s, tactics and methods of achieving goals.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 5:29 pm
  28. DP, Stanton’s rage was definitely directed at all men, white and black. Big time. To the degree that, it is said, she alienated all of them by the end of her life, her husband included. I think a context of women-as-chattel, which was the context in which the suffragists did their work on behalf of women, was, in fact, a context of alienation on account of misogyny, so I wouldn’t agree that Stanton alienated any man. I would say she realized over time how alienated she had always been, from all men, by virtue of their misogyny and oppression of women.

    There were some who were, in fact, against the enfranchisement of black men, because white women had not received the same.

    DP, I see no reason white women should have supported ANY men being enfranchised before they were. Any. White or black. That’s what the suffrage movement was all about– believing that it was wrong for any man to be enfranchised, have the vote, be granted citizenship if the same were forbidden to women.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 5:50 pm
  29. I am placing specific highlights on their contempt of BLACK men, and then the exclusion of black women. Yes I can agree with and understand the belief that it is wrong for any man to be enfranchised while women were forbidden. I do not want it swept under the rug that the focus was, too often, on blacks/foreign-born peoples. The suffrage movemtent held the belief that it was wrong for black men to be enfranchised, have the vote, and be granted citizenship when the same was forbidden to WHITE women. There is a touch, maybe more, of superiority in that. To ignore it is to excuse it, to rationalize it is to excuse it. There was an unequal opposition to men, as it breaks down in racial lines. There was the, “women are able to do the same as men, and are not inferior to men,” argument and then there was the, “white women are more educated then blacks yet black men are able to vote.” That cannot, and should not, be denied.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 6:22 pm
  30. The very first southern NAWSA convention highlights this. Anthony asked Frederick Douglas not to attend the convention, so-called to avoid embarrassmenf for Douglas, but more so to avoid jeopardizing the supporf of women of suffrage from southern white women. Cady Stanton attacked the concept of universal suffrage and denounced the enfranchisment of illiterate people everywhere in the NAWSA convention in Atlanta in 1895. She wanted to remove the race question from the woman suffrage campaign.

    What about the argument that non-white women held no claim to suffrage! What has that to do with any alleged “opposition to men” when the same is forbidden to women?

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 6:30 pm
  31. DP, what would you have to say about the contempt men, both black and white, including the abolitionists, demonstrated towards all women, including white women, as evidenced in what I posted there? What would you have to say about the “touch of superiority” that all men, both black and white, including the abolitionists, displayed towards all women, including white women, as evidenced in those paragraphs? What would you have to say about the “women are NOT able to do the same as men and ARE inferior to men” argument in evidence in those paragraphs, which, in fact, prevailed? That anti-woman contempt, that “touch of superiority” men felt towards women, talking about white and black men, is all over those paragraphs. I don’t want that denied. I don’t want that excused or dismissed or swept under the rug or rationalized or made any less significant than it was. Particularly considering who won!

    Why is it that what becomes most important in these discussions is not the fact that black men and white men were enfranchised, became citizens a full 60 years before any woman, white or black? Why is what becomes critically important too often in these discussions, as Stanton herself described in other words, the *way* a woman fights for her own full humanity–even when she loses! The issue ends up not the oppression and subjugation of women, her fight to end her own oppression, or the fact that, once again, *she lost* for another half century or so. The issue ends up did she fight nice while she was losing?

    The suffrage movement did not “hold the belief that it was wrong for black men to be enfranchised, have the vote, when the same was forbidden to WHITE women.” It held the belief that it was wrong to grant the vote to black men if it were not also granted to ALL women, black and white. That’s evident in a number of those paragraphs up there and particularly in this quote from Stanton:

    In order to abolish slavery, Phillips and the abolitionists insisted on recognizing Negro citizenship “where citizenship supposes the ballot for all men.” An angry Stanton shot back: “May I ask in reply to your fallacious letters just one question based on the apparent opposition in which you place the Negro and woman. My question is: Do you believe the African race is composed entirely of males?” [11]

    Note that it wasn’t the suffragists who posited “black people” as in opposition to “women.” It was those who opposed the suffragists who framed the issues in terms of “black people” (as though women were not included in that group!) and “women,” as though white women constituted “women.” Stanton called that out, and rightfully so. She (and others) wanted the vote for ALL. Universal suffrage. All women, all men. But if she could not have it for all, then she would not support it for any MORE men than those who already wrongly and immorally and oppressively had it (who should not have to begin with).

    As to “denying” anything, well, there are many, many paragraphs up there which illuminate all sorts of stuff, and deny nothing. I would like it to not be denied that it was all women who, in fact, ended up shafted, and it was men, black and white, who prevailed. I would like it noted that all women were treated with contempt and as inferior by men, both black and white, so overwhelmingly that women remained disenfranchised for decades. I would like it not to be dimissed or denied that the suffragists were betrayed, and that they lost, and women lost, for 60 more years, including women who until this time had already had the vote, to include both black and white women in certain jurisdictions (i.e., New Jersey).

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 6:52 pm
  32. “DP, what would you have to say about the contempt men, both black and white, including the abolitionists, demonstrated towards all women, including white women, as evidenced in what I posted there? What would you have to say about the “touch of superiority” that all men, both black and white, including the abolitionists, displayed towards all women, including white women, as evidenced in those paragraphs? What would you have to say about the “women are NOT able to do the same as men and ARE inferior to men” argument in evidence in those paragraphs, which, in fact, prevailed? That anti-woman contempt, that “touch of superiority” men felt towards women, talking about white and black men, is all over those paragraphs. I don’t want that denied. I don’t want that excused or dismissed or swept under the rug or rationalized or made any less significant than it was. Particularly considering who won!”

    Heart, I am trying very hard to be sure I understand you right. It seems to me, and I could be VERY wrong, that you are saying that the women of the suffrage movement are exempt from any racist tactics they used because they used them to fight male supremacy? What do I feel about mens contempt of women, especially as it pertains to suffrage? I am just as enraged. I’m angry with the fact that it took MORE than half a century before women were able to be seen as human… more than just mother and wife. I will say that here once and for all so that it cannot be questioned. I could easily have said, “Oh Heart you’re right and this is terrible.” But I felt like the betrayal of the suffragists was used as an excuse for their racist platforms! I am not denying that women lost, I am not excusing it I am not happy with it, I do not feel any joy in it, but I also feel that it is pawned off on men, or people of color, and not too many are willing to see that their racism was equally wrong of their male counterpart.

    “The issue ends up not the oppression and subjugation of women, her fight to end her own oppression, or the fact that, once again, *she lost* for another half century or so. The issue ends up did she fight nice while she was losing?”

    FIGHT NICE?!?!? Clearly I am misunderstanding you… Are you telling me it was ok for black women to be excluded from womens suffrage by white suffragist’s, that it was ok for her to stand in contempt of black men’s citizenship by virtue of her white skin and privilaged education?!? THESE are the questions that I am asking… this is what I want to know, and this is what drove me to even ask, or post in the first place. From what I understand you to be saying, Heart, it would appear that you mean this:

    “The issue ends up not the oppression and subjugation of (white) women, her fight to end her own oppression, or the fact that, once again, *she (white women especially since they completely expelled non-white women from any claim to suffrage) lost* for another half century or so. The issue ends up did she fight nice while she was losing?”

    I have too much respect for you to assume anything. I want to know for sure what you mean… This is what I interpreted as your meaning, if I am wrong can you please be sure to word it differently so that I get what you do mean?

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 7:30 pm
  33. Women are not inferior to men! I completely agree with you. We ARE able to hold political office, run agencies, businesses, etc just as, if not more so, efficiencly and correctly as any man! That should go without saying, but there lol I said it.🙂

    It would be great if that little inconvenient truth about the women’s suffrage movement could be erased/ignored… I am sure that that is exactly why every history book/lesson I have ever received has carefully omitted it, and other key evidence of white supremacy, from existence… poisoning the minds of our youth to believe that racism is a thing of the past. Its everywhere, and experienced by EVERY marginalized, subordinated, objectified, person or group of color!

    Women of color, at the time of the suffrage movement black women especially, have supported feminist movements. Yet we are underrepresented, and undercut in the agenda. I am new here, and I will say that maybe I have missed it, but in my short time, I have not seen many blog posts about women of color… Every injustice reported is about a woman who is white, a girl who is white, or some cause that would concern or eventually, if not currently effect the white majority. It is when I go to other blogs that I see posts about women of color. About Asian women, in blogs where the “leader” (I cannot think of a better word) is Asian, about African and African American women in blogs where the leader is African or African American etc. Does no one else see a problem with that? Some are just more comfortable being in a space where people can identify, but it is the division overall that concerns me. I have read one of Cherrie Moraga’s writings which attack just this. Groups where there is a white female majority, and she says, adequately so, that too often is the tone “we opened our doors to them, what more can we do.” If the issues do not include “them” then “they” support the cause of WOMEN, where will “they” go? I read in another blog that women of color are seen as the oppressor… I do not understand this, and I think that this definitely needs to be called out! WOMAN is a race all its own… Frye hits it right on when she says that women are oppressed as women, and then also ethnically… I am just saying that this happened in the suffrage movement, and even today in MANY of the white feminist groups/blogspaces.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 7:48 pm
  34. It seems to me, and I could be VERY wrong, that you are saying that the women of the suffrage movement are exempt from any racist tactics they used because they used them to fight male supremacy?

    No, I’m not saying that. I am, however, being stubborn and resistant to agreeing with you right now– even when, in fact, I do agree with you. Here is an example of why I am feeling stubborn.

    Are you telling me it was ok for black women to be excluded from womens suffrage by white suffragist’s

    I’ve very painstakingly (and time-consumingly) posted arguments and documentation which in some cases cites to original sources, which I’ve carefully extracted and also posted, which supports my view that white suffragists never intended to exclude black women from suffrage. This is an anti-feminist mythology taught in universities to discredit the feminist movement imo. Stanton, in particular, supported universal suffrage, always.

    At this point I would like to see some evidence or documentation that the suffragists we’ve been discussing here, primarily, Stanton, Anthony, Mott, et al, intended to exclude black women. This was a problem in the Amber Abreu thread as well– the statement that many women use abortion as a contraceptive, without any evidence to support the statement. I think it’s fine to post opinions, but where there are important disagreements — and this is, I believe, a basic and important disagreement — I think we have to be willing to do more than just continue to restate our opinions, particularly when the other person has taken pains to document their own position. We have to offer more in the way of support or we can’t really move forward, the disagreement becomes a sticking point we can’t move past.

    *she (white women especially since they completely expelled non-white women from any claim to suffrage)

    When did Stanton, Anthony, et al “completely expel non-white women from anyclaim to suffrage”? Where is the documentation, the evidence, the basis for this belief? I have provided substantial documentation to the contrary to support my own belief that black men and white men expelled ALL women, white and black, from any claim to suffrage, and for this reason, Stanton, et al, refused to support the claims of black *men* (not women, never black women) to suffrage.

    I think Stanton was wrong to stoop to using racist and xenophobic rhetoric, no matter why she did it. That is a no brainer.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 9:18 pm
  35. I am new here, and I will say that maybe I have missed it, but in my short time, I have not seen many blog posts about women of color… Every injustice reported is about a woman who is white, a girl who is white, or some cause that would concern or eventually, if not currently effect the white majority

    I don’t know, Divine Purpose. On this page that I’m looking at right now, the current page, there are articles about:

    * Pornography/prostitution, which hugely affects women of color, proportionately, I believe, more than it affects white women;

    * This post about the racism of the Confederate Flag, slavery, the Civil War, etc. which affect the concerns of people of color more than the white majority;

    * A post on Justice for Filipina Comfort Women, less of concern to the white majority;

    * A post remembering Rachel Corrie who died fighting for the rights of Palestinians, of concern to Palestinians, at the very least, less of concern to the white majority;

    * A post about the fundamentlisms issue of Off Our Back concerned with worldwide fundamentalism, of concern to people of color equally with white people;

    * A congratulations to a black woman musician;

    * Two posts on the banning of Egyptian feminist Nawal Al Saadawi’s latest book and her flight from Egypt, of concern to women of color equally with white women;

    * A post on being a race traitor;

    On the previous page we have:

    * A post on Houzan Mahmoud, Representative of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, having been threatened with death by Islamic fundamentalists;

    * A post on the arrest of 50 Iranian women’s rights protestors;

    * Another post on Anwar Al-Saadawi, the Egyptian feminist;

    * Congratulations to another black woman musician who was a Woman’s History Month honoree;

    * River of Baghdad Burning quoted on the rape of Iraqi women by Americans and Iraqi Security forces;

    * Another post on the Comfort Women, Japanese, Korean and Dutch, kidnapped and raped by the Japanese army during World War II.

    If you go back through the months, you will see the same attention paid to issues which the white majority could not care less about, sadly.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 9:32 pm
  36. DP, one more thing: While I blog a lot about issues of concern to women of color throughout the world, because issues of concern to women of color are issues of concern to *all* women, I am careful what I blog, and how I blog about these issues because I have taken certain criticisms of feminists of color to heart, i.e., that too often white feminists have presented women of color as helpless victims and themselves or white feminism as some sort of hero, come to save the day, or something like that, which is bullshit. If you read, you will see that I work to provide information not only as to the oppression of women of color, but also as to the fierceness of their own resistance to that oppression, i.e., the Comfort Women, Al Saadawi, the Iranian women protestors, etc.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 9:46 pm
  37. Heart, I have taken note of, and appreciated your time and effort to post this. I will respond with the references that I have handy, currently. This time I do have the resources to back it up.😉

    I do want to say that I did make references in what I was saying. I didnt list EVERY reference, but I will. I am going to take the time, now, to assemble the references that I have which helped formed, and back up, my “opinions.”

    I dont want you to feel that I am attacking you, nor that I take what you posted lightly. I asked you a question and you not only posted your opinion and perception, but the references which you based your opinion from.

    It is true that too often do white feminists present women of color as helpless victims with the heroin being white femin(ism)(ists.) My concern is with that reality.Even if you are exempt, it does happen, and there I cited a few sources but will more carefully assemble all of them.

    When I asked you this question:

    “Can you honestly say that attempting to appeal to the white supremacist ideology of the men and women of the south is excusable, or not racist?”

    This answer:

    “I think Stanton was wrong to stoop to using racist and xenophobic rhetoric, no matter why she did it. That is a no brainer. ”

    was what I was aiming for. I wanted to know where you stood and to understand WHY you stood there. As I have said, and it is more than mere words, I have very much respect for you, and for your writings. I did not, couldnt come to terms with really, want to entertain the possibility that you would think otherwise… That is why I asked you and kept questioning, because based on your answers and what I gathered from them, it really wasnt “a no brainer.”
    Ok I am getting to work with the “proof” to back up my position.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 10:24 pm
  38. I remembered Samantha’s old post about the relationship of Stanton and Anthony to George Francis Train from a thread elsewhere, and went and found it. It’s good and relevant.

    ***

    Samantha Writes:

    … I’d like to mention something I read in the book “Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist”.

    It is commonly considered that Anthony “threw her lot behind” Train and invited him to tour Kansas with her speaking for women’s suffrage. Letters held by the Stowe-Day Foundation from Isabella Beecher Hooker have since revealed that it was Henry Blackwell, husband of Lucy Stone, who actually conspired to have Train join Anthony and when the experiment turned out to be a disaster he pinned it all on Anthony.

    Henry Blackwell wrote in The Women’s Journal, “After my wife and I returned from our campaign work in Kansas, George Francis Train was invited into the State by Miss Anthony…”

    However, in December 1980 Isabella Beecher Hooker had a conversation with Blackwell reported in complete confidence to her friend Susan Howard, who kept her confidentiality and the contents of the letters were only revealed after her death.

    Hooker wrote, “Mr. Blackwell & Gov. Robinson & two or three others who were conducting the W.S. campaign thought it might be well for Susan to accompany Train & so get democratic votes while at the same time she could perhaps keep him straight on the negro question.”

    Because for two years Isabella Beecher Hooker had heard the story spread that the association of Train with the movement was Anthony’s idea, she was stunned at Blackwell’s account. She wrote, “I could hardly believe my ears when Mr. Blackwell quietly told me this, the beginning of the story, & so I waited a while & then asked him if I understood him rightly in saying thus & so, he said I did & then went on to show me that the thing didn’t work out well, that they lost more republican votes for W. Suffrage by Train’s advocacy than they gained themselves and were disgusted with the experiment.”

    Henry Blackwell and Lucy Stone publicly joined with republicans and abolishionists in blaming Anthony for the Train association. Elizabeth Cady Stanton said that she and Anthony did not “see through the game of the politicians until nearly the end of the canvas.”

    Whatever version of events you choose to believe, I think this revelation is interesting and seems more congruent with Anthony’s rigid anti-slavery and pro-suffrage ethics than the Blackwell version of events.

    ***

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 20, 2007, 10:50 pm
  39. “Every injustice reported is about a woman who is white, a girl who is white, or some cause that would concern or eventually, if not currently effect the white majority. It is when I go to other blogs that I see posts about women of color.”

    Whoa, Divine Purpose, that is just not true! Heart has posted recently about the Iranian women protesters, the Comfort Women, Egyptian feminist Nawal Al Saadawi and others, as she has listed above and I, for one, really appreciate that. How could you miss those posts?

    Regarding the suffragists, I too smell a rat in the way that they have been systematically discredited. They were nowhere near as objectionable about racial justice than ALL male freedom fighters are about sex, yet they get erased for being imperfect. How convenient for those who gain by erasing women’s narratives of struggle.

    Posted by roamaround | March 21, 2007, 12:57 am
  40. “I have not seen many blog posts about women of color… Every injustice reported is about a woman who is white, a girl who is white, or some cause that would concern or eventually, if not currently effect the white majority.”

    That is the whole quote, and I will say that I really should not have began that second piece with “every injustice.” I dont wish to discredit their work. But I also do not wish to just call them imperfect… I dont know… I am really rethinking even bring up issues women of color face as women of color and then as women here… It appears that few want to hear that.

    “Does no one else see a problem with that? Some are just more comfortable being in a space where people can identify, but it is the division overall that concerns me. I have read one of Cherrie Moraga’s writings which attack just this. Groups where there is a white female majority, and she says, adequately so, that too often is the tone “we opened our doors to them, what more can we do.” If the issues do not include “them” then “they” support the cause of WOMEN, where will “they” go? I read in another blog that women of color are seen as the oppressor… I do not understand this, and I think that this definitely needs to be called out! WOMAN is a race all its own… Frye hits it right on when she says that women are oppressed as women, and then also ethnically… I am just saying that this happened in the suffrage movement, and even today in MANY of the white feminist groups/blogspaces.”

    This is what I am attacking! maybe that makes it more clear…

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 3:31 am
  41. BEGIN QUOTED MATERIAL

    “Following the Civil War, men attempted to vindicate their manhood largely through asserting their authority over women. For their part, women sometimes welcomed that assertion, sometimes were forced to acquiesce to it, and sometimes resisted it. Influencing the masculine determination was the history of the White man’s proprietary “rights” over Black women, and the consequent struggle of Black men to reclaim them. ‘To the ordinary American or Englishman,’ said W.E.B. DuBois, ‘the race question at bottom is simply a matter of ownership of women; white men want the right to use all women, colored and white, and they resent the intrusion of colored men in this domain.’ (1) Black men, in turn, resented the accusation that they wanted similar “rights” to White women. ‘What do we want with their daughters and sisters?’ riposted the Black nationalist minister Henry McNeal Turner in 1866. ‘We have as much beauty as they. All we ask of the White man is to let our ladies alone, and they need not fear us. The difficulty has heretofore been our ladies were not always at our disposal.'” (2)…

    “After emancipation… [some] Black men were determined to establish their authority in the household. ‘Almost immediately after the end of the war,’ wrote historian Peter Kolchin,’there were signs of a fundamental alteration of the matrifocal structure that had previously prevailed under the slave regime. There was a new determination for men to reassert their position as head of the family.’ (3)…

    “Some aspects of this new male determination were beneficial in the eyes of their women. The freedmen’s desire to exempt their women from field work, for example, served a mutual want and need. The Black woman’s obligation to perform double duty in both home and field had dissipated her role as wife and mother, and symbolized the low esteem in which she was held in society. If men welcomed their escape from domestic tyranny, women welcomed their escape from the fields.

    “However, attempts to establish a traditional family structure among the masses of Blacks were doomed virtually from the beginning. For when women stayed home, the economy suffered. ..It would not be long before the decision to work or not to work whether in the fields or in the cities would be taken out of Black men’s hands. As early as 1863, Black lawyer William J. Watkins noted that ‘the determination of the white man is to starve us out.’ (4) As a result Black women were driven not only back to work, but to take organized action. In 1866 Black washerwomen in Jackson, Mississippi announced that they were heretofore going to charge a standard rate for their work… Their demand was the “first known colletive action of free Black workingwomen in American history,’ and ‘the first labor organization of Black workers in Mississippi.'(5)

    …”the responsibilities of Black women did not diminish their men’s demand for dominance… In 1868 the Mobile Daily Register noted an alarming increase of wife-beating among Blacks in the city…

    “The effort to keep women ‘in their place’ went beyond that of individuals. Such institutions as the Black Church ‘sought to affirm the man’s interest and authority in the family… The church attempted to do this in much the same way that Whites had used religion, by putting a new emphasis on the biblical ‘sanction for male ascendancy.’ The male hierarchy of the Church was also capable of using its formidable social power in this regard…

    “It was against this background that Black women made the choice whether or not to support the Fifteenth Amendment, which would permit Black men to vote but not women of any race. For the Black female acivist, the choice was not so much race versus sex, as of finding the best means to secure their own well-being….

    “In 1867, [Sojourner] Truth delivered her views on the issue before the American Equal Rights Association, an organization founded by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Frederick Douglass. Its purpose wsa to bring together abolitionists and feminists to agitate for Black and women suffrage. When it became clear that either, but not both, would be enfranchised, the AERA forums became more heated than ever.

    “Sojourner Truth took the position of not supporting the amendment. She was fearful that putting more power into the hands of men would add to the oppression of Black women. ‘There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women,’ she said in a famous speech, ‘… and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before.’ (6) …

    “That perspective was often articulated by White feminists. Earlier that year, before a meeting of Pennsylvania abolitionists, Susan B. Anthony had declared that Black men, trained so well by their Saxon rulers in the ways of ‘tyranny and despotism’ would play the role of the domineering husband with uncommon ease. In the same meeting, Elizabeth Cady Stanton warned that if Black women weren’t given the ballot, they would be fated to a ‘triple bondage that man never knows.’ (7)

    “Frances Ellen Harper was no less aware of Black women’s struggles [but]… As Harper saw it, the greatest obstacle to the progress of Black women was not Black men but White racism… At an 1869 convention, Harper expressed her support for the Fifteenth Amendment. …

    “[At the convention] Frederick Douglass made an eloquent plea for the greater urgency of Black men’s attaining the vote. He said:

    When women, because they are women, are hunted down through the cities of New York and New Orleans, when they are dragged from their houses and hung upon lamp posts; when their children are torn from their arms and their brains dashed upon the pavement; when they are objets of insult and outrage at every turn; when they are in danger of having their homes burnt down over their heads; when their children are not allowed to enter schools; then they will have an urgency to obtain the ballot equal to our own.

    (8)

    “But was this not true for the Black woman? someone asked. ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ replied Douglass. ‘It is true for the Black woman but not because she is a woman but because she is Black!’

    “As heated words flew back and forth… Douglass also accused Stanton of slandering the freedmen and making negative comparisons between ‘the daughters of Jefferson and Washington, and the daughters of bootblacks and gardeners.’ Stanton, Douglass said, was ‘advancing the cause of women’s rights on the backs of defenseless slave women.'”(9)

    “Harper supported Douglass on all counts. ‘If the nation could handle only one question, she would not have the black women put a single straw in the way…’ Harper realized that the White feminists did not make dependable allies. ‘The white women all go for sex, letting race occupy a minor position,’ she said….

    “The support of the Fifteenth Amendment by Black women did not mean that they had less interest in their suffrage, economic independence, education, or any other issue…And their support … didn’t mean a collective willingness to be oppressed by men, Black or White. But Harper and others [believed] that the rights of Black men had to be secured before Black women could assert theirs. If the race had no rights [they believed] the women’s struggle was meaningless…”

    “Author’s Note: The feminist and abolitionist camps weren’t neatly divided. Leading White feminists like Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe did not believe that the world would come to an end if Black men — whose leadership was sympathetic to woman suffrage and promised to work toward that end — were enfranchised first. On the other hand, in addition to [Sojourner] Truth, several prominent Blacks, like Charles Remond, Robert Purvis, and his wife, Harriet (Forten), leaned toward enfranchising women in tandem with or even before Black men, despite the political difficulty of accomplishing that goal. ‘In an hour like this I repudiate the idea of expediency,’ Remond had said at an earlier AERA meeting. ‘All I ask for myself I claim for my wife and sister.'(10)

    (1)Irene Diggs, “Du Bois and Women: A Short Story of Black Women, 1910-1934,” in A Current Bibliography on African Affairs, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Summer 1974) p. 260
    (2) Herbert G. Gutman, The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1976) p. 388
    (3) Peter Kolchin, First Freedom: The Response of Alabama Blacks to Emancipation and Reconstruction (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1972), p. 62
    (4) Gutman, pp. 167-68
    (5) Philip S. Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement: From Colonial Times to the Eve of World War I (New York: Free Press, 1979) p. 119
    (6) Gerda Lerner, ed., Black Women in White America: A Documentary History (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972) p. 569
    (7) Ellen Carol Du Bois, Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women’s Movement in America. 1848-1869 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1978) p. 69
    (8) Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Anthony and Mathilda Joslyn Gage, eds, The History of Women’s Suffrage, Vol. II (Rochester, N.Y. 1881) p. 382
    (9) E.C. DuBois, p. 187
    (10) Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, “Afro-Americans in the Struggle for Woman Suffrage,” Ph.D. dissertation, Howard University, 1977 (University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Mich.), p. 82

    — Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America, (New York: Bantam, 1984), quoted material from Chapter III, “To Choose Again, Freely.” (Giddings capitalizes “White” and “Black,” so I did as well in quoting her.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 4:10 am
  42. Oh, I get it, I think, Divine Purpose. You were saying that all around in the blogosphere, not talking about here particularly, you see white bloggers blogging about what affects white women and women of color blogging about what affects women of color. Am I hearing you correctly? And you’re saying women are a people, and we all ought to be blogging about what pertains to all of us. Totally and completely agree with you 200 percent there!

    I know you’re new to the blogosphere, I very much appreciate your writings, your energy, your enthusiasm, your intelligence, your compassion, your woman-centeredness. I hate to see you become discouraged. I hate hearing you are wondering whether WOC issues are of interest here. It is complicated. It seems at times in bloglandia as though the thoughts of white women around issues of race are suspect, are not entirely welcome, and in some cases, are resented. It can be risky for white women to talk about race, other than in ways that are sort of impersonal, shallow, superficial (and more often than not, boring, academic and dry). Chasingmoksha and I have both attempted to write out of our experiences in multiracial families. Pony has written of her experiences as an indigenous woman. Our observations, thoughts — even when we’ve been directing our thoughts primarily towards white women — have sometimes been deeply resented by women of color for various reasons. Men, especially white men, but white women, too, for their own reasons, have jumped into the resulting conflicts, the divides, a bit too gleefully sometimes, exploiting them to get as much mileage out of them as possible, it has seemed, because they are opportunistic, sometimes misogynist assholes, even though they think they are feminists, no need of me mincing words, this is how I feel. It’s tangled, and, again, complicated, many-layered, and everybody affected by it feels it pretty intensely, I’m betting. I sure do.

    So, you come along, innocently, posting away with such a good heart! It has to be disturbing and confusing trying to make sense of it.

    Divine Purpose, I do want to discuss these issues with you, for sure. I want you to be free to speak your mind, and I want to be free to speak mine, and I want all the women here to feel free to speak theirs, too. Even if we screw up. Even if we get things wrong or say stupid or ignorant things. Even if we offend each other. Even if we embarrass ourselves and evidence that we haven’t thought things through, or whatever. I wish we could read one another generously, give one another the benefit of the doubt. I think you generally do do that and that’s something I’ve appreciated about you.

    I don’t think any women are my oppressors. Zero. Certainly not women of color! I think we’ve all been schooled in the ways of oppression, though, and that we sometimes hurt each other for that reason, usually, I choose to believe, unintentionally. I think we lash out at one another because we can, in a way we can’t usually lash out at the real oppressors, because it isn’t safe to. And then the misunderstanding and offense and shunnings and de-linkings and everybody is pissed with everybody, patriarchy 1, women, 0.

    I don’t know. I am willing to keep at it. I’m slow but I get there. I can be stubborn at times, but I blow over quickly. Most of the regulars here I’ve interacted with on the internet for years and I know them to be committed to women, women of good faith.

    Again, I’m glad you’re here and hope you keep posting. I value what you have to say.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 4:38 am
  43. Seeing that I did not directly quote material, I am having a difficult time placing my words, which are based on the material, with the actual quote and references. So I will instead begin a quote from written material, which I referenced when I stated them in my own voice, with the title, date and author/credentials if applicable.

    “Woman suffrage, like all controversial issues, had its skeptics and its opponents.” The politics of The Anti-Woman Suffrage Agenda: African American’s Respond to Conservatism chapt 4. “Dimensions of Black Conservatism in the United States” by Rosalyn TerBorg-Penn

    “Moreover, the popular view evolving among feminist writers who generalized about blacks who critiqued the movement made little distinction between those who chose universal suffrage ofer oman suffrage cersus the minority of blacks who chose to oppose women voting entirely.”
    The Ladies of Senecca Falls: The Birth of the Woman’s Rights Movement” Miriam Gurko p. 215

    -For details on the black male response to those who accused them of opposing woman suffrage, and for an analysis of teh myth of anti-woman suffrage sentiments among black men, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn “Afro-Americns in the Struggle for Woman Suffrage” (Ph. D. Diss., Howard University, 1977), chaps. 3,6
    Direct Quote:

    “Although anti-black suffrage sentiments did not come only from southern white women who believed in white supremacy, some northern suffragists said it was expedient to ignore black women while wooing support for the movement in the South” Rosalyn Terborg-Penn “The politics of the Anti-Woman Suffrage Agenda

    The editors of a national journal, The Suffragists, published several news items aimed to show white southern suffragists how even with a federal woman suffrage amendment, black votes would be countered by white female votes in the South. “The southern States Woman Suffrage Conference,” The Suffragists, 14 (November 1914), p. 2; “Cheif Justice Clark on Woman Suffrage and the Race Problem.” The suffragists, 16 (october 1815), p.2; “Southern Chiva’ry.” The suffragists, 1 (January 1916), p. 2.

    The strongest outcry among black men and black women on behalf of black women became evident during the last two decades of the ninteenth century, after white feminists ceased to call for the enfranchisement of black women. (Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al. eds., The history of Woman Suffrage 2:94-95, 216, 396, 443-44. New York Tribune, January 13, 1869; New National Era, October 24, 1872.)

    Overt discrimination against African Americans in teh suffrage movement became most apparent in the 1890’s. i.e. passage of a resolution in the NAWSA stating that there were more white native-born women who could read and write than all black and foreign-born voters combined. “Womens Era, 2 (August 1985) HWS 4:216, 246; James M. McPherson, Abolitionist Legacy: From Reconstruction to the NAACP (Princeton University Press 1975), pp. 320-21.

    Anthony explaining compromising her ideals against racial discrimination to Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Anthony asking political ally Douglas not to attend the NAWSA’s southern convention. “Crusade for Justice: The autobiography of Ida B. Wells,” ed. by Alfreda Duster

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton attacking the concept of universal suffrage in the south and denouncing the enfranchisement of illiterate people everywhere.
    Abolitionist Legacy p. 319-320, McPherson.

    Anthony wanting removal of the race issue from woman suffrage. Refference to Carrie Catt Frances A. Griffin. Votes for Women: the Woman suffrage Movement in Tennessee, the South and The Nation,” ed. (edited) by Marjorie Sprull Wheeler, p. 102

    Professor Kelly Miller (prof. of sociology at Howard Univ) [somewhere up there I made reference to him… I am too tired to post any more but I am working on it and I will go through what I wrote tomorrow. Lets just hope I didnt misspell all of this, huh? I have a feeling I will regret this in the morning, like a bad hangover. Let it show that I wish not to discredit the work of the abolitionists, but I also wish not for their racist policies to be shifted onto black men, or black women/other marginalized groups of color.]

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 5:21 am
  44. I think I runed the friggin “” use… errrrr…. if there are questions, just ask me… fault my sleep deprived mind, (studying, and writing a paper on abortion, also catching up on my readings for other classes… never a break not even during spring break huh? and most college kids are off flashing skin… I’m here workin and studying lol… no rest for the weary.) and not my heart.

    ok… now sleep.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 5:25 am
  45. “Oh, I get it, I think, Divine Purpose. You were saying that all around in the blogosphere, not talking about here particularly, you see white bloggers blogging about what affects white women and women of color blogging about what affects women of color. Am I hearing you correctly? And you’re saying women are a people, and we all ought to be blogging about what pertains to all of us. Totally and completely agree with you 200 percent there!”

    YES!!! HALELULA!!! YES. That is what I am saying. And also calling you out, in a sense, because there are serious issues that effect the women of color HERE in the good ol US of A baby! But prior to any knowledge of old bad blood among women here and women elsewhere. Initially I did not think that you were some horrible racist, look at me white woman/mother of half black children I know ur struggle I have a badge black men are bad blah blah blah… and I so dont want that to ever change! This is why I questioned you, Heart, because it really felt like it was heading the wrong way a bit. I know u worked ur ass off on them damn resources, citing evidence and such the like, I JUST DID IT SO BELIEVE ME I KNOW… LOL. and that is only a few… of the many, but you get the idea… I am actually educated to what I am talking about and not spitting some racist propaganda or anything of the sort. I think there SHOULD be more blog’s about the injustices women of color in THIS COUNTRY face. That was what I was calling out because I had not seen many… There was the one about the black musician, something like that, where a black woman was commended for her work. GREAT!!! But what about the white men behind the record industry, pimping black men to pimp black women? what about the hidden incest in the black community, what about the analysis of WHY THE HELL all of this is even a friggin problem…. WHITE SUPREMACY… lets all sing it together…. WHITE SUPREMACY… This is as much an issue to women as is male hetero supremacy. Too often do white fems downplay that and focus on gender… I dont want to see that here too. But at the same time, given the whole white privilage factor, I can see why WoC dont WANT you (not YOU but you… I am making no sense to my damn self right now and promise to shut up soon) to. long discussion, tomorrow? lol helps me get through the RACIST job I hate… lol. OH MY SANITY IS SLIPPING!!!!!! good night.🙂

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 5:36 am
  46. start calling out the racism in feminism. That is what I was trying to point out. It is deep routed… the origins should never be used as a means to excuse. Originally white racism was to rationalize their abuse of africans. To make it ok to rape their women, treating them as freakin breeders, to sell and degrade their men, to disrupt the family structure, so much so that TODAY still the family dynamic suffers greatly in black america, this ideology made it ok to buy and sell persons, because their black/brown/yellow etc skin made them LESS than human. I dont really care to excuse suffragists for their racism, dont care… what it is in plain ol black and white is racism. As much as white southern men are cited for racism, so should be the male/female abolitionists, and male female suffragists. Why am I still writing. I’m turnin off this damn computer lol

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 5:44 am
  47. Divine Purpose, have you read Angela Davis’ “Women, Race & Class”? I found her analysis of the suffrage movement really interesting–as well as most of the rest of the book. I’m betting you’ve read her though.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | March 21, 2007, 6:05 am
  48. DP: But what about the white men behind the record industry, pimping black men to pimp black women? what about the hidden incest in the black community, what about the analysis of WHY THE HELL all of this is even a friggin problem…. WHITE SUPREMACY… lets all sing it together…. WHITE SUPREMACY… This is as much an issue to women as is male hetero supremacy.But what about the white men behind the record industry, pimping black men to pimp black women? what about the hidden incest in the black community, what about the analysis of WHY THE HELL all of this is even a friggin problem…. WHITE SUPREMACY… lets all sing it together…. WHITE SUPREMACY…This is as much an issue to women as is male hetero supremacy. Too often do white fems downplay that and focus on gender… I dont want to see that here too. But at the same time, given the whole white privilage factor, I can see why WoC dont WANT you (not YOU but you… I am making no sense to my damn self right now and promise to shut up soon) to.

    EXACTLY. Like you said, DP, HALLELUJAH! :p Given the white privilege factor, WOC really don’t want us going the places you’ve just described. That is exactly right. Or, fairer to say, as I think I already said, if so, sorry to be redundant, that WOC view us going there with a jaundiced eye and a lot of skepticism. But if we don’t go there, that’s not right either. :/ Also, it seems like the further away white feminists actually are from any real investment in anti-white-supremacy work, the more cerebral, pedantic, or detached they are about racial issues, parroting various books or whatever — the less they are actually invested iow in the struggle! — then the better the reception their words often seem to receive, whereas, the more vested and invested a white feminist actually is, if she talks about it honestly and forthrightly, then it sometimes seems the greater the resistance on the part of some WOC to what she might want to say about it.

    Thanks for posting those quotes, DP. I still disagree with you on some things, though. 😛 But I think we agree more than we disagree. I agree with everything you say about white supremacy and the importance of fighting it with everything we have. And yeah, where the suffragists said things that were racist, well, they said things that were racist and there is no excusing that. I think what happened in that really important time in history needs contextualizing though, particularly given the now 30-year backlash against feminism, and how much all women have lost because of it. It’s too easy for a certain kind of white liberal or “progressive” man, especially, to shut the discussion up to, “The Suffrage movement was racist!” which usually is actually serving as a handy smokescreen for those guys’ own white male supremacist projects, in which they are, in fact, working hard to protect their own societal dominance, their place at the top of the hierarchy, or especially, their rights and unfettered access to, for example, pornography — using it, making it, selling it — or to the bodies of prostituted girls and women of all races. These guys have no problem doing all they can to discredit white feminists/white women who get in the way of these white male supremacist projects, including by feigning feminism or pro-feminism and attempting to align themselves with feminists of color against white feminists on various spurious bases, i.e., “See, I wore a skirt once, so I’m not a privileged white het guy anymore, I’m actually queer and therefore oppressed and an ally to WOC; just look how those anti-porn radfems oppress me!” or, “I practice sm and therefore I’m no longer a privileged white het male, I’m an oppressed sub and an ally to WOC.” Or similar stupidities. The failings and foibles of the suffragists stand alongside their work on behalf f women during a time when, as all women were, they were men’s property, chattel. All visionary people will have failings and foibles, sometimes big, glaring ones, maybe big, glaring ones more often than not. There are no real heroes or sheroes in the traditional sense, they all have the feet of clay. I think the whole story needs to be out there and evaluated, not *only* the failings and foibles (especially if the intention is, sexist men trashing and attempting to discredit feminists or feminism) and not only the accomplishments either, as though to idolize anyone or make them bigger than life, because nobody ever is, not anybody, or as though their failings are irrelevant, because they never are. There are just no heroes, not really. There are only courageous human beings.

    Why am I up at 2:33 a.m. Hee.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 9:37 am
  49. [I’m going to have to play ‘catch up’ on the mega-thread between Heart and DP, but…]

    Regarding the suffragists, I too smell a rat in the way that they have been systematically discredited.
    Thank you Roamaround.

    Women activists, of all shapes/sizes/colours, routinely get discredited (‘somehow or another’!). It doesn’t matter if they are promoting feminism, fighting slavery/racism, fighting rape/violence against women, or environmental issues, “somehow” something is held against them.

    Men who fight against racism = “hero”, men who fight against slavery = “hero”, men who fight against [….] = “hero”.

    Women keep getting ‘written out’ of history, or discredited (or ‘footnoted’). Time and time again. No matter what field, and that includes stuff like mathematics, science, DNA, whatever.

    If I ‘had’ to choose the trump between racism and sexism, it would be the latter. Yes, even as a feminist (WW), I certainly recognise that WOC are ‘at the bottom of the heap’, but I frequently see MOC get much more privilege in ‘the system’ than WW. Certainly this is no equal contest, as sometimes WW trump MOC in the system, other times MOC trump WW in the system, but I think the latter happens (slightly) more often, especially now.

    Let me put it another way. I see WW fight against sexism and racism. I see MOC fight only against racism (and not against sexism). Does that not say anything? MOC want up in ‘the system’, but still want to retain the privilege over WOC (and sometimes even WW).

    I will put my sisters, of whatever colour, above men, any day of the week. I think that is the main fight. I can easily turf over a WM in favour of a WOC. No contest for me. I guess that is race non-allegiance?

    BTW, a recent story of the sentencing of a MOC raping an murdering a WW got far harsher sentencing than a WM would have, that it certain, but that is merely the WM way of doing ‘token justice’ towards violence against women in general, because even MOC violence against MOC gets harsher sentencing than the WM violence against WW. That is my rationale.

    Posted by stormy | March 21, 2007, 1:21 pm
  50. [Heart, please delete first version with dodgey html tag!!!]

    xxx

    Posted by stormy | March 21, 2007, 1:21 pm
  51. I don’t think Mar Iguana will object to her comment being dropped in here. From IBTP “Meatloaves of Austin” thread.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Mar Iguana Mar 19th, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    saltyC Mar 17th, 2007 at 9:31 am

    “It’s not alwaystrue that sex trump race, often race trumps sex and we need to recognize that. Why do women of color not feel welcome by white feminists? Is it their problem? I don’t thik so.
    It’s time we shape up.” saltyC

    I said sexism precedes racism. Practically everything trumps sexism, especially racism. Patriarchy assures the root oppression remains obscured otherwise it falls. It takes a heap of sexism to maintain racial purity.

    I’m part arrogant, superior, white-like-gaud Austrian and half lazy, inferior, dark-like-demon Mexican. It’s kinda given me a different take on racism since I was knee-high to a bigot. I think it made it clear for me early on that until women make Woman the primary imperative, they are forever divided and conquered.

    I can value no race, religion, nationality or culture over any other because they all hate women. Therefore, I think they all suck. If WOC demand white feminists solve racism before ending sexism, the quest for the liberation of women (and everybody and everything else) is doomed.

    In what ways do white feminists make WOC feel unwelcome? I don’t know. I’m asking.

    ~~~~~~~

    Nothing I can add to that.

    Posted by Pony | March 21, 2007, 1:29 pm
  52. Heart is the only feminist blogger who has dedicated a thread to the murdered Vancouver east-side women, all of whom are Metis.

    Posted by Pony | March 21, 2007, 1:43 pm
  53. “The failings and foibles of the suffragists stand alongside their work on behalf f women during a time when, as all women were, they were men’s property, chattel. All visionary people will have failings and foibles, sometimes big, glaring ones, maybe big, glaring ones more often than not. There are no real heroes or sheroes in the traditional sense, they all have the feet of clay. I think the whole story needs to be out there and evaluated, not *only* the failings and foibles (especially if the intention is, sexist men trashing and attempting to discredit feminists or feminism) and not only the accomplishments either, as though to idolize anyone or make them bigger than life, because nobody ever is, not anybody, or as though their failings are irrelevant, because they never are. There are just no heroes, not really. There are only courageous human beings.”

    Well let me first start with, I went to bed waay before you Heart HA!

    My primary problem is that too often, white privilage allows feminists to ignore, excuse, or reason away the facts. I am not some het. male, I am a WOMAN but a woman of Color FIRST! It is my reality, too often, that white supremacy and racism is swept under the rug. I still hear undertones of a GENDER focus in your words. Heart, I dont expect that you will EVER understand. You just cannot, neither can any white feminist whether she is also white supremacist or not. I have, ex, friends who held the idea that their friendship with a black woman, or their residence in a majority minority community, or seat in a school, helps them “understand” the plight of the black community. Now it is one thing to want to be an ally, it is another to think that you know MORE than any person of color. It is another thing to, even if for a second, sweep under the rug any part of history which was oppressive to the black (WOC, POC) community. (I said black because we were talking here about abolition/enfranchisement)

    “start calling out the racism in feminism. That is what I was trying to point out. It is deep routed… the origins should never be used as a means to excuse. Originally white racism was to rationalize their abuse of africans. To make it ok to rape their women, treating them as freakin breeders, to sell and degrade their men, to disrupt the family structure, so much so that TODAY still the family dynamic suffers greatly in black america, this ideology made it ok to buy and sell persons, because their black/brown/yellow etc skin made them LESS than human. I dont really care to excuse suffragists for their racism, dont care… what it is in plain ol black and white is racism. As much as white southern men are cited for racism, so should be the male/female abolitionists, and male female suffragists.”

    This is what I am looking at. No, there will never be perfection in any effort. BUT that does NOT excuse the suffragists. It is not only a part of my history, but my experience as a woman of color. I will never be one to stand and watch any woman, even if she means well, downplay or shift focus. It is what it is, and it is/was/shall be racist. These woman, suffragists, were operating, with well intentions, under white supremacy both internally and externally. I was very offended by you placing it in terms of,

    “The issue ends up not the oppression and subjugation of women, her fight to end her own oppression, or the fact that, once again, *she lost* for another half century or so. The issue ends up did she fight nice while she was losing?”

    You’re focus is/was only on GENDER inequality. That is why I added in the word “white” because it appears to me that its the focus. HER fight to end HER oppression, though losing, is lost when the issue becomes did she fight nice while she was losing her fight. Fighting “dirty,” in this context means RACISM. Why shouldnt that be questioned, attacked, rebuked!? Why shouldnt that be called out?

    “There were some who were, in fact, against the enfranchisement of black men, because white women had not received the same.” (DP)

    “DP, I see no reason white women should have supported ANY men being enfranchised before they were. Any. White or black.” (Heart)

    When I made the above comment I was saying white women were opposed to black men, not because they were men but because they were black. Black men were not the oppressor, black men were just as oppressed, as blacks, as were white women, as women. There is something that is missing here! BLACKS, men women alike, are oppressed as blacks. Like wise with, east asian’s, peoples of hispanic decent, foreign-born peoples. There are different cultural/racial forms in which people of color are oppressed. Including MEN. You’re fight, not just you Heart but many of the women here, is against male hetero oppression/supremacy. OUR fight, is a double fight…. We fight in a double bind. We fight that age old demon called MALE het supremacy, AND we fight that super nasty demon called white supremacy. In the latter we are not to find refuge as we can in being women, with feminists. You, not you but you, dont know that fight. Not as a mother to half black kids, wife to a black husband etc… Its difficult, but it is reality and that is something that HAS to be recognized. It was offensive, to me, to read that…

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 1:48 pm
  54. Pony how does that relate to the discussion about women of color in suffrage? I do not wish to downplay what you have said, but I am trying to understand… Is this a defense, did you misunderstand or what?

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 1:50 pm
  55. Note: My question came before I saw this post from you taken from another thread.

    “I can value no race, religion, nationality or culture over any other because they all hate women. Therefore, I think they all suck. If WOC demand white feminists solve racism before ending sexism, the quest for the liberation of women (and everybody and everything else) is doomed.

    In what ways do white feminists make WOC feel unwelcome? I don’t know. I’m asking.”

    and then your end quote saying that there is nothing you can add to it…
    LET ME START by saying that WOC are not asking white feminists to solve racism before ending sexism. I have always felt, and this was said much more eloquently by Ms. Y Carrington, that white women cannot solve racism. My objection is to white women ignoring race issues and allowing or focusing on GENDER above all else.

    I was told it would be pointless to attempt to have this discussion here… I am beginning to see why.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 4:02 pm
  56. I still hear undertones of a GENDER focus in your words. Heart

    Yeah, DP– gender is and will always be my central focus. This is very true. My experience is one of having been repeatedly raped, brutalized, battered, beaten, sexually assaulted, and abused in every way on account of the fact that I am female. This has happened to me at the hands of white men; this has happened to me at the hands of black men. I was nearly murdered by my first husband, who went to prison for attempting to kill me.

    Central to feminism is this: that each woman fights for her own life first. Each woman makes herself, her own life, her own lived experience, of paramount importance. Also critical to feminism is rejecting self-sacrifice — the self-sacrifice which white male heterosupremacy requires of all women, that we put others’ needs before our own. Feminism gives us permission (1) to fight for our own lives first; (2) to honor and value ourselves by fighting for our own lives first, taking ourselves seriously enough, in other words, that we view our own lives as worth fighting for. I can fight alongside women whose experiences are different from my own for whatever reason — disability, race, religion, ethnicity, size, class, etc. — but in the end, my own fight, for my own life, has to be central. It doesn’t always have to be first, but it always has to be central, and out of my own integrity, I can’t sacrifice fighting for my own life for any other fight. To do so is to betray my own commitment to my own full humanity.

    I dont expect that you will EVER understand. You just cannot, neither can any white feminist whether she is also white supremacist or not.

    I completely agree with this.

    This is what I am looking at. No, there will never be perfection in any effort. BUT that does NOT excuse the suffragists.

    I agree, and said so in my last post:

    Me, Heart: And yeah, where the suffragists said things that were racist, well, they said things that were racist and there is no excusing that.

    Me, Heart “The issue ends up not the oppression and subjugation of women, her fight to end her own oppression, or the fact that, once again, *she lost* for another half century or so. The issue ends up did she fight nice while she was losing?”

    D.P. You’re focus is/was only on GENDER inequality. That is why I added in the word “white” because it appears to me that its the focus. HER fight to end HER oppression, though losing, is lost when the issue becomes did she fight nice while she was losing her fight. Fighting “dirty,” in this context means RACISM. Why shouldnt that be questioned, attacked, rebuked!? Why shouldnt that be called out?

    It should. And you have. And so have I.

    At the same time, as important to me is the way men — black abolitionists and white — fought dirty. You know? Fighting “dirty” in that context meant SEXISM. It meant throwing all of the women, white and black, under the truck so men, all of them, white and black, would be enfranchised.

    It meant, for example, Frederick Douglass, justifying throwing women under the truck, despite the way Stanton had supported him and issues paramount to him since Seneca Falls. It meant Frederick Douglass throwing women’s issues under the truck, even though Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the ONLY suffragist who stood with him publicly in his marriage to a white woman, going so far as to publish a wedding picture of the couple in her newspaper, enraging Susan B. (credited with being more moderate and well behaved always.)

    Do I justify the racism of the suffragists? No. Do I justify the sexism of the abolitionists, whether black, white, male or female. NO. It was all dirty pool, all of it, and the egregious sexism on the part of abolitionists, black and white, including towards white suffragists, was no less dirty than the suffragists’ racism. I knew what I wrote would be offensive; one reason I wrote what I did was to get us to this point right here. Just as what I wrote was offensive in the way it seemed to dismiss or minimize racism as “playing dirty,” THE ONGOING OBLIVIOUSNESS, DISMISSIVENESS, AND MINIMIZING OF THE HORROR OF MISOGYNY AND SEXISM TOWARDS WOMEN WHO WERE CHATTEL, INCLUDING THE SUFFRAGISTS, ON THE PART OF THE ABOLITIONISTS, AND IN DISCUSSIONS LIKE THIS OFFENDS ME.

    Sorry to yell. But it’s that important to me.

    When I made the above comment I was saying white women were opposed to black men, not because they were men but because they were black.

    First, there is no “white women,” here. The suffragists were ALL over the place. They were white, they were black. Some, both white and black, supported the Fifteenth Amendment, some didn’t. Some, both white and black, refused to support the Fifteenth Amendment because they wouldn’t compromise on universal suffrage. I have documented all of this. It is not
    going to work to speak in terms of “white women” here because I don’t know what that means.

    So far as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B., Lucretia Mott, and a few others, I do not for one second believe any ultimately opposed the 15th Amendment because they were “opposed to black men because they were black.” I think I’ve fairly thoroughly documented my views so far as that goes. I think history shows they opposed the 15th Amendment because it gave all men the vote and enfranchisement and no women the vote and enfranchisement. They knew for women to be enfranchised, ANOTHER constitutional amendment would be required. They fought tooth and nail to see to it, therefore, that women would be included in the 15th Amendment. They lost.

    You’re fight, not just you Heart but many of the women here, is against male hetero oppression/supremacy. OUR fight, is a double fight…. We fight in a double bind. We fight that age old demon called MALE het supremacy, AND we fight that super nasty demon called white supremacy. In the latter we are not to find refuge as we can in being women, with feminists. You, not you but you, dont know that fight.

    You are absolutely right. I agree.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 4:12 pm
  57. DP, not to speak for Pony, but I believe she (as I did, too, and roamaround) thought you were talking about this blog only up there where you said:

    I am new here, and I will say that maybe I have missed it, but in my short time, I have not seen many blog posts about women of color… Every injustice reported is about a woman who is white, a girl who is white, or some cause that would concern or eventually, if not currently effect the white majority

    I realized later you were speaking more broadly about the entire feminist blogosphere. I think Pony may think you were talking just about this blog.

    Indigenous women, Egyptian women, Iraqi women, Iranian women, Palestinian women, Korean, Filipina, Japanese, Burmese women, Karen women, Amber Abreu, a Dominican woman, all of these women are women of color. I’ve covered issues pertaining to them on this page, on the previous page, on the previous page and consistently on this blog from the beginning. I’ve also blogged about issues specific to black and biracial women from the time I began blogging but for reasons I’ve already provided, I’m cautious about that and recently, reticent.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 4:19 pm
  58. With every post that gets through I am seeing more and more just why WOC take offense and the position we do as it pertains to feminism…

    “If I ‘had’ to choose the trump between racism and sexism, it would be the latter. Yes, even as a feminist (WW), I certainly recognise that WOC are ‘at the bottom of the heap’, but I frequently see MOC get much more privilege in ‘the system’ than WW. Certainly this is no equal contest, as sometimes WW trump MOC in the system, other times MOC trump WW in the system, but I think the latter happens (slightly) more often, especially now.”

    That is easy for you to say, especialy as and with the privilage of being a WW. You do not know the double negative suffered by women of color. Naturally you will be driven to fight against the struggle that binds you. MOC do not get the privilege as MOC but as MEN! They too, are subject to the racism that WOC face.

    I cannot believe that you would say that here… nor that it would go uncalled. I mean REALLY, dont you see how your privilage as a WW can allow you to feel that sex trumps race? WHY cant the fight among feminists be against BOTH?!?! Is this not an issue that WOMEN face as well? Or is it just because it pertains to women of color, that it is not as important in the great spectrum of womens issues? It is easy for you as a WW to say that…. EASY for you because you never HAVE and you never WILL experience the struggles the women of color face. A focus on gender by these terms would mean a focus on what concerns WW period. RACE is not a concern of WW feminists, it is a concern of WOC feminists and since feminism is supposed to be the doctrine advocating for EQUAL social, political rights of WOMEN with no race specifications, then exactly where do you stand as a feminist Stormy? Do you stand with the white supremacist majority, not just you anyone her who would consider race as a non-issue to women, or are you truly an unadulterated feminist?

    I am completely enraged by this, I cannot believe that this would be said here by so-called feminists… So long as this is the mentality of feminist WW, the true cause and goal of feminism will get NO WHERE!!! Or maybe it will, but yet again WOC will be shafted by the white majority.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 4:22 pm
  59. D.P. I cannot believe that you would say that here… nor that it would go uncalled.

    HOLD UP.

    D.P. I *just* approved about 10 comments. *I* haven’t even read them yet. They’ve only been up for less than half an hour and I’ve been responding to other things.

    In fact, *you* are calling it out right now, so it has *not* gone “uncalled.” Let’s just let women read and respond as they feel they are able. The fact that someone hasn’t called something out could mean anything: (1) They haven’t read it; (2) They don’t have time; (3) They don’t know what to say or how to call it out; (4) They are intimidated and really upset by conflict; (5) They figured someone else would call it out. And so on. If something doesn’t get called out, it might get called out later. I don’t want this thing of, “You didn’t call it out!” within half an hour or so, or whatever, here. Let women respond as they are able to respond, all of us.

    There are lots of things, lots of things, D.P. that you have commented that people have asked you about, including me, asked for clarification, called you out on, that you didn’t come back and explain or clarify. From my perspective, that’s fine, you didn’t have to. But I want that same benefit of the doubt extended to every woman here, by every woman here.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 4:31 pm
  60. I was told it would be pointless to attempt to have this discussion here… I am beginning to see why.

    Who told you this, Divine Purpose? Who told you.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 4:32 pm
  61. A focus on gender by these terms would mean a focus on what concerns WW period.

    There are no concerns which concern WW period. Pornography, prostitution, rape, domestic violence, incest, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harrassment, violence against women, the glass ceiling, lesbian rights, the rights of mothers, rights in divorce, issues of size/eating disorders, the disciplines of the physical body, abortion rights, reproductive rights, women’s health care rights, are all issues which “white feminists” are said to have focused on and ALL of them affect ALL women, not white women, “period.” Most of them affect women of color on a larger scale and more deeply than they affect white women, in fact, but all affect all women, white, black, of color.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 4:42 pm
  62. “First, there is no “white women,” here. The suffragists were ALL over the place. They were white, they were black. Some, both white and black, supported the Fifteenth Amendment, some didn’t. Some, both white and black, refused to support the Fifteenth Amendment because they wouldn’t compromise on universal suffrage. I have documented all of this. It is not
    going to work to speak in terms of “white women” here because I don’t know what that means.”

    Oh dear lawd somewhere up there is the reference I was talking about. There were a key number of women/men, whose names I listed when I was talking about suffragists being opposed to black men as black not as men.

    To address the white male’s enfranchising black men, I feel it was all political stragtegy. Frye talks about this best, I dont have my references handy presently, when she says that men are not oppressed as men. They won the vote/enfranchisement because they were men… it was a political perk that they were black. I know that suffragists were all over the place. There were MANY suffragists and it was diverse, crossing class, race, age, etc.

    “I knew what I wrote would be offensive; one reason I wrote what I did was to get us to this point right here. Just as what I wrote was offensive in the way it seemed to dismiss or minimize racism as “playing dirty,” THE ONGOING OBLIVIOUSNESS, DISMISSIVENESS, AND MINIMIZING OF THE HORROR OF MISOGYNY AND SEXISM TOWARDS WOMEN WHO WERE CHATTEL, INCLUDING THE SUFFRAGISTS, ON THE PART OF THE ABOLITIONISTS, AND IN DISCUSSIONS LIKE THIS OFFENDS ME.”

    White Women were chattle POC as a whole were chattle… our struggles are different but close. I never wished to minimize, dismiss, the misogyny and sexism towards women on the part of abolitionists. I am saying that it does NOT excuse their racism. They were undercut by men time and again! II STILL HAPPENS. My anger is when women play that up while downplaying the racism… painting them as heroins of the black community. The undertones of “shut up and be grateful because WE helped you have the freedom to speak,” that I have experienced, not only here and actually only more recently, are painful.

    I hear what you’re saying though, Heart. I see now why roamaround and pony posted as they did. I sent through a post prior to this one though, and in that your’s hadnt come througn.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 5:12 pm
  63. “In fact, *you* are calling it out right now, so it has *not* gone “uncalled.” Let’s just let women read and respond as they feel they are able. The fact that someone hasn’t called something out could mean anything: (1) They haven’t read it; (2) They don’t have time; (3) They don’t know what to say or how to call it out; (4) They are intimidated and really upset by conflict; (5) They figured someone else would call it out. And so on. If something doesn’t get called out, it might get called out later. I don’t want this thing of, “You didn’t call it out!” within half an hour or so, or whatever, here. Let women respond as they are able to respond, all of us.

    There are lots of things, lots of things, D.P. that you have commented that people have asked you about, including me, asked for clarification, called you out on, that you didn’t come back and explain or clarify. From my perspective, that’s fine, you didn’t have to. But I want that same benefit of the doubt extended to every woman here, by every woman here.”

    LOL I just posted about this… I realized that after going back and reading it. While I was posting, actually I am at work now and have to break every so often so I will definitely consider that too, some other posts were coming up. Thank you Heart.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 5:15 pm
  64. So long as this is the mentality of feminist WW, the true cause and goal of feminism will get NO WHERE!!!

    There is no such thing as some homogenous “feminist WW.” There are just lots of feminists, each with her own view and her own perspective. Stormy speaks for Stormy, I speak for me, cm speaks for cm, Pony speaks for Pony, you speak for Divine Purpose. What one of us here says isn’t representative of what all believe.

    Also, feminists disagree as to the cause and goal of feminism. We see things differently. What we can say is this, or what I can say, because I have seen this in my lifetime:

    * In 1960 there were no laws against spousal rape. Now there are, in every state.

    * In 1960 there was no such thing as a domestic violence center.

    * In 1960 there was no such thing as a rape crisis line.

    * In 1960, there were no laws against domestic violence, per se.

    * In 1960 there was no sexual harrassment law. If you were sexually harrassed on the job, you were out of luck.

    * In 1960, to divorce, women had to prove they had “grounds.”

    * In 1960, women could not work in the construction trades, as policemen, as firemen, and in a host of other trades.

    * In 1960, women did not have any contraception available to them, to speak of.

    * In 1960, if you got pregnant, you had to quit school and have your baby. Even if you were raped or incested, abortion was not available to you.

    * In 1960, you could not be out if you were a lesbian and expect to rent an apartment, buy a house, or get or keep a job.

    * In 1960, if you were a lesbian and you went to the local lesbian bar, the police could enter, round you up, arrest you and gang rape you and you were without recourse. The police and judges looked the other way. You might get out if one of you agreed to sleep with the judge.

    * In 1960, if you were an out lesbian, you would lose custody of your children.

    * In 1960, women were paid half what men were paid, or less, for the same job, if they could get the same job.

    * In 1960, girls couldn’t wear slacks to school or work or court or “to town.”

    * In 1960 home birth with midwives was illegal.

    * In 1960 public breastfeeding was illegal.

    * In 1960 there were virtually no woman doctors, attorneys, corporate officers, or holders of public office.

    * In 1960, married women could still not get loans, buy homes, get certain medical procedures or get credit without their husbands’ consent.

    It is 2007 and all of the above has changed, and women have all of these rights, thanks to feminism. Feminists have achieved their goals, and we will continue to.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 5:19 pm
  65. Heart, when I said:

    “So long as this is the mentality of feminist WW, the true cause and goal of feminism will get NO WHERE!!!”

    I was referring to the context of the discussion, which is racial oppression suffered by women of color, as it pertains to the list you provided, and the things unsaid and yet to be done.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 5:41 pm
  66. Yeah, Divine Purpose, there’s a lot of work to do for sure, no argument, as well as a lot we have to RE-do that has been undone. When it becomes heated like this, I think it’s important to be more careful than usual to be precise in what we say and that’s what my post was really about, to remind ourselves what feminism already has accomplished, and also to point out that there isn’t really one “true cause” or goal of feminism that all feminists agree upon nor is there really such thing as “white woman” feminism. Feminism is grass roots and always has been. It’s just women, saving their own lives, together. Nobody sets unified goals or policies or votes on what the true cause is, or not when feminism is at its best (my opinion, speaking for myself only). I think feminists accomplish most when we fight for ourselves, and our own goals and true causes, alongside one another.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 6:04 pm
  67. “I think feminists accomplish most when we fight for ourselves, and our own goals and true causes, alongside one another.”

    This is a very good, and very key, point! It is that unity that we need. Not one cause or injustice above another.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 6:08 pm
  68. My anger is when women play that up while downplaying the racism… painting them as heroins of the black community. The undertones of “shut up and be grateful because WE helped you have the freedom to speak,” that I have experienced, not only here and actually only more recently, are painful.

    Any woman who plays that angle – white, black, blue, or fuchsia – is ignorant of history and the realities of the suffragist and abolitionist movements. I remember learning about the political alliances made between the abolitionist and feminist movements, and how when black men received the right to vote the abolitionist support of the feminist movement deterioriated. I remember reading the racist, xenophobic statements of certain early American feminists. Most women just don’t know a fucking thing about their own history, which is sad, but is an ignorance perpetuated by our education system. This is particularly bad regarding history, where content is always predominately male focused unless specifically relegated as learning about “women’s rights”.

    I can understand why black women were displeased with the feminist movement of the early 1960’s. Their experience was excluded. This is one of the greatest challenges facing the feminist political movement – the fact that, as women, we are all oppressed, but from that point on our problems differ based on our race, our social class, our nationality, and other divisions. These specific group issues are still feminist issues, but as white women we have not personally experienced the dual-impact of oppression black women experience in this country and we never will.

    This concept makes me think of when I read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. The descriptions of the little black girls playing with the white dolls, wanting to dye their hair blonde to make themselves pretty by societal standards. It’s something I had never thought about because, hey, I didn’t live it, but I ‘m damn glad I was exposed to it.

    I think that’s part of why global feminism fascinates me so much. It’s unbelievable, almost, that as women all over the world we universally experience some form of sexist based oppression.

    That aside, I have seen the “which is more important – racism or sexism?” argument used before to divide feminists. It makes me angry. The goal of modern feminism, in my mind, is to hear, support, and incorporate all of these experiences. It was not always that way. Does that mean I can personally speak for a black woman? No, because her experience is distinctively different from mine, but we do share a sense of oppression based on the fact that we’re both women. Racism still exists today and it still plays a role in the way we interact with each other. Being a feminist doesn’t automatically negate you from being a racist, a homophobe, or even a sexist. Those divisions do not mean that there is no universality of oppression based on being a woman, and that we all don’t want common goals. It just means that our experiences are different and that we have to make a conscious effort to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

    Personally I like the art piece. It’s incredibly thoughtful, poignant, and does exactly what the artist wants it to do – promote thought and discussion about racism in modern America.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 21, 2007, 6:25 pm
  69. Oh Heart, I hear you on the clarity piece. It was all together in one place, which is why I am a stickler for reading EVERYTHING. Some pieces tie in together and if taken aside or apart to stand on their own, they can easily be misinterpreted.

    “feminism is supposed to be the doctrine advocating for EQUAL social, political rights of WOMEN”

    Is that not a goal, or rather the purpose of feminism? This all went together:

    “A focus on gender by these terms would mean a focus on what concerns WW period. RACE is not a concern of WW feminists, it is a concern of WOC feminists and since feminism is supposed to be the doctrine advocating for EQUAL social, political rights of WOMEN with no race specifications, then exactly where do you stand as a feminist Stormy? Do you stand with the white supremacist majority, not just you anyone her who would consider race as a non-issue to women, or are you truly an unadulterated feminist?

    I am completely enraged by this, I cannot believe that this would be said here by so-called feminists… So long as this is the mentality of feminist WW, the true cause and goal of feminism will get NO WHERE!!! Or maybe it will, but yet again WOC will be shafted by the white majority.”

    and not as an attack but as a question.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 6:27 pm
  70. “most women just don’t know a fucking thing about their own history, which is sad, but is an ignorance perpetuated by our education system.”

    Ginger, THANK YOU! I completely agree with you there. Also here:

    “That aside, I have seen the “which is more important – racism or sexism?” argument used before to divide feminists. It makes me angry. The goal of modern feminism, in my mind, is to hear, support, and incorporate all of these experiences. It was not always that way. Does that mean I can personally speak for a black woman? No, because her experience is distinctively different from mine, but we do share a sense of oppression based on the fact that we’re both women. Racism still exists today and it still plays a role in the way we interact with each other. Being a feminist doesn’t automatically negate you from being a racist, a homophobe, or even a sexist. Those divisions do not mean that there is no universality of oppression based on being a woman, and that we all don’t want common goals. It just means that our experiences are different and that we have to make a conscious effort to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.”

    It is true. I would not ever equate feminism to racism… NO that is not my angle at all. I am saying, however, that feminism is not exempt. I am just as enraged at the black men who pulled their support of feminism after receiving citizenship and enfranchisement. On the part of black abolitionists and white suffragists, we can find supporters and opposers. We find instances where one under cut the other, threw the other under the truck, etc. I just didnt like the sound, in the beginning and a few places throughout, of suffragists as pure never faltering saviours of blacks and black women. Not in a thread about white supremacy… Not in a thread where exposure of white supremacy’s existence in this day, is present… That is what I was questioning, and will continue to question it should that continue.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 21, 2007, 7:03 pm
  71. That is what I was questioning, and will continue to question it should that continue.

    I would expect you to! I just wanted to mention the whole “division” issue because it is so important and what you’re saying is important as well.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 21, 2007, 10:05 pm
  72. I have been working today and shouldn’t have just popped a comment in and then left, actually to finally sleep because I’ve been working since 5 a.m.

    So I want to say yes, I thought we were discussing this thread. I wouldn’t presume to comment on Stanton because although I know the name and something of her significance, I don’t know the history. I’m not American. That’s not a limiting factor in and of itself, but because I chose it be so. I have other more important histories to keep, like that of the native people’s of Canada, and what their cultures were and are. I don’t think anyone should feel they cannot enter into discussion about it, but please lay the fuck off Say No with your new age version of my history.

    Posted by Pony | March 22, 2007, 2:32 am
  73. “I have other more important histories to keep, like that of the native people’s of Canada, and what their cultures were and are. I don’t think anyone should feel they cannot enter into discussion about it, but please lay the fuck off Say No with your new age version of my history.”

    Where the hell is this coming from? If you dont want to discuss Stanton, or any of the many other people discussed in this thread, that’s fine… No one should be pushing you to do so, but I do not understand this bit about the “new age version of *your* history”

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 22, 2007, 2:44 am
  74. I’m really enjoying this thread, even though it’s kind of heated and uncomfortable. I agree that it’s important and there’s a lot to think about. DP, I understand your points much better now about the whiteness of blogs in general. Very true. That’s why I fight for more computer resources for urban schools to end the digital divide!

    One thing I have to throw out there is that I, a WW, don’t really see the need for me to focus on issues of American women of color because I know so many who can do it just fine for themselves. I have WOC bosses and professors and colleagues. Sometimes we agree and sometimes I think they are wrong, and either way I say so. It just seems condescending to be any other way.

    I am an ally in struggles against racism, always, but if I had a blog I guess I wouldn’t focus on race most of the time either. Heart and Chasingmoksha have interracial families, so it’s natural that they do. Is that wrong? It seems sometimes (and I don’t mean you DP) that everything WW do is wrong.

    I do speak out a lot on U.S. foreign policy and how it affects women (and children and men) around the world since that feels like a direct responsibility. I guess I don’t feel responsible for American women of color in the same way since there has been progress in civil rights legislation and I figure they can speak for themselves…on the other hand, I do see the horrific racism in our school system and I do fight that. Hmmm. I guess I need to think this through!

    Lots to consider. Thanks to all for the thought-provoking comments.

    Posted by roamaround | March 22, 2007, 2:55 am
  75. “I am an ally in struggles against racism, always, but if I had a blog I guess I wouldn’t focus on race most of the time either. Heart and Chasingmoksha have interracial families, so it’s natural that they do. Is that wrong? It seems sometimes (and I don’t mean you DP) that everything WW do is wrong.

    I guess I don’t feel responsible for American women of color in the same way since there has been progress in civil rights legislation ”

    HMMM… well let me say that there has also been progress in legislation, as it pertains to women’s rights… yet we still see the divide, the injustices, the conditioning… LAW does not end ideology. Racism, sexism, classism, are ideologies… The racism you see in the public school system is prevalent EVERYWHERE…

    I understand what you mean that everything WW do is wrong. There is a serious distrust, and you (universally said) are under a microscope. It is hard to ally with WW because, though we experience oppression as women, you still have access to white privilege. The history between WW and POC has been bad, and good. There are many negative incidents, and actually too often for every 1 good thing there were like 5 bad things. (Excuse the ratio it is nothing official just trying to illustrate a point) Many POC, myself included, hear that “everything WW do is wrong” and take that to be a cop out. It is not easy to face inner racism… It is not easy to be called out or told that something you said or did is, in fact, racist/racism. But to respond as “i cannot do anything right huh” (not saying you were) is a cop out, and a sorry ass cop out, at most. I am constantly checking myself for that. Don’t ever get it twisted, black’s/POC are not exempt from being racist. I find it an excuse to say: because of this or that I am or say or feel or believe such and so, for any group. WW WOC MOC WM, alike are all guilty.

    I know that I, as a WOC, expect recognition of white supremacy and racism as WRONG, among WW, WM. I dont tolerate any sweeping under rugs, I just cannot stand for it. I do not ever expect for anyone to understand my walk, because you never will, but I also will not tolerate any dismissal or overlooking of my walk as a WOC. Race should be a feminist issue, it is an issue that effects women, just as is misogyny.

    Heart and CM have interracial families. One day, ten long years from now long after undergrad/grad/law school lol but really I’m not kidding, so will I, but I live in the same shoes as the WOC around me. Heart and CM will always face the contempt and skepticism of POC, I feel for them because in this arena ignorance is NOT bliss… Not knowing can, and will hurt you. Not understanding can and will hurt you and break alliances and so on so forth. Pramiti said this to me in a different thread and it was so important and it sticks with me… DO NOT SOUND LIKE YOU ARE THE TEACHER WHEN YOU ARE THE STUDENT. (paraphrased) It’s important… a persons involvement with POC even if through their families, does not grant some almighty pass into the reality of POC. There is a lot of distrust and preconceived notions about and of WW. I am not excusing, rationalizing none of that, but explaining and putting it out there. I know for a FACT that I would NEVER want any WW, married to a black man or raising black children, to ever come off as if she knows the plight and struggle, or as if she lives it. I am not accusing Heart of CM of doing this, because that has not been my experience or at least I havent seen it as such, just to be clear. Its very complicated, I know… Just wanted to thow a few things out there.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 22, 2007, 3:24 am
  76. Those are interesting observations, roamaround. I love a certain Germaine Greer quote where she says, white women have had the privilege of serving — not leading, serving — the “longest revolution,” that it is a revolution that has barely begun, really, that we haven’t seen anything yet, that the times is upon us when female power will be breaking out throughout the world like we haven’t ever seen yet among women of color, especially, women who have nothing to lose, because they’ve already lost it all, and when that time comes, we’d best be on the right side. I think that’s right. I hope my experiences and observations and so on are useful to a movement I see myself as serving. I’m happy to work alongside women whose lives, feminisms are focused in ways different from my own; in the meantime they’re making revolution in their own way and I’m making revolution in my own way. I don’t think my “help” is worth all that much in situations in which my own life and focus make my feminism different from other women’s, adn I’m not looking to other women for their help in making my revolution if mine isn’t theirs. Someone who has no kids, doesn’t want kids, can’t stand kids is probably not going to be really useful to me in my feminist motherhood/women’s birthing rights/home birth/noncoercive parenting feminist work. 😛 I mean, she can say, “you go,” and encourage me, but if she tries to “help,” well, I don’t know about that. If you haven’t had kids, gone through all these paces, defied the laws, all sorts of things, as I have, as a mother, you aren’t going to get it. So yeah, fix dinner for me when I come to town, but don’t try to speak for me like you know, cause you might have good intentions, but you will likely be less than helpful. Someone who has never been battered, never had to go through the whole criminal justice system, victim protection stuf, someone who hasn’t worked with battered women, might feel battered women, might really want to help, but might not be really able to because she just doesn’t know. But I know. I can do my own work and appreciate her encouragement.

    Different subject for a moment, Pony doesn’t need me to speak for her, not sure she’s around, but ftr, DP, Pony is Metis. It’s aggravating to indigenous people when white people appropriate what belongs to Native culture, as New Agers are notorious for. She wasn’t addressing her comments to you but to others in the thread.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 22, 2007, 4:01 am
  77. Someone who has never been battered, never had to go through the whole criminal justice system, victim protection stuf, someone who hasn’t worked with battered women, might feel battered women, might really want to help, but might not be really able to because she just doesn’t know.

    No fucking kidding. I was in a meeting once where a very vapid young woman who pictured herself socially conscious decided to talk about how important it is to discuss domestic violence with people. In her mini-speech, she said, “we might even know someone it’s happened to!” This made me livid, personally living in an abusive home for the majority of my early life, and when I left the meeting with a friend of mine I went off on how much I hated this girl. My friend, who is inherently a nice, trusting person, said the girl probably meant well. Yeah. That didn’t matter.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 22, 2007, 7:00 am
  78. I don’t have the time for a long comment, as I must get some sleep before my next shift of hell.

    But I’m not really sure HOW, by me saying that I support WOC ABOVE WM makes me some sort of white supremacist? Fair enough that I perhaps wasn’t as eloquent as I should have been (because I’m worked into the ground at the moment). But surely my preference was clear enough? (Lemme spell that one out, I prefer to support women, of any colour, over men, of any colour, esp WM).

    I have had WOC friends since childhood, probably 30-50%, which doesn’t sound that high, but living/working in mainly majority-white areas, does make it a huge percentage.

    I do like what Roamaround said:
    “Sometimes we agree and sometimes I think they are wrong, and either way I say so. It just seems condescending to be any other way.”
    Because I am the same.

    So to you (DP) I say, fuck off. And take your bloody stupid “majority of women are using abortion as birth control” crap with you.

    For you to insinuate that I cannot comprehend the double bind of racism/sexism that WOC face, that is just fucking offensive. I have always said it.

    Nope, I’m not articulate at the mo’, I’m tired, cranky, and get really fucking offended when people call me a white fucking supremacist. I actually couldn’t help being born white, no more than anyone else can help being born whatever race/shape/sex/?? that they are. But go ahead, sling shit at me because I’m a WW. And I’m sick of your overly long posts, and really cannot be bothered to read any more dribble, much of which on the abortion thread sounded like it was coming from a MRA/religious nutter.

    Posted by stormcloud | March 22, 2007, 12:30 pm
  79. Everything is so nice and fresh after a good thunderstorm.

    Posted by Pony | March 22, 2007, 2:18 pm
  80. “Nope, I’m not articulate at the mo’, I’m tired, cranky, and get really fucking offended when people call me a white fucking supremacist. I actually couldn’t help being born white, no more than anyone else can help being born whatever race/shape/sex/?? that they are. But go ahead, sling shit at me because I’m a WW. And I’m sick of your overly long posts, and really cannot be bothered to read any more dribble, much of which on the abortion thread sounded like it was coming from a MRA/religious nutter.”

    If you have a problem with my comments in the abortion thread keep them there! As far as I am concerned, what I said here, with references to show why I said it and where I read it, the two really arent similar at all.

    You’re tired and over worked… welcome to the club!🙂 I was questioning the confusion in your post. I did not accuse you, did not blame nor put words in your mouth, but I questioned you as I did EVERYONE.

    “I do like what Roamaround said:
    “Sometimes we agree and sometimes I think they are wrong, and either way I say so. It just seems condescending to be any other way.” I have always said it.

    For you to insinuate that I cannot comprehend the double bind of racism/sexism that WOC face, that is just fucking offensive. ”

    I didnt mean to offend you, but you can imagine how offended I was in reading your post. So yeah, I questioned you. I didnt like what you said, didnt understand where you stood and I questioned you! I have always felt better to ask than to assume. When I said

    “You do not know the double negative suffered by women of color.”

    I meant it. You dont. Comprehension, and LIVING it are two different things. Was it inaccurate of me to say that you dont know the double negative/double bind that WOC face? Is my saying that you, as a WW, dont know the walk of a WOC some additional MRA/religious rant? Please tell me, because you are linking things together that I don’t understand, nor do I see any connection between the two.

    “I cannot believe that you would say that here… nor that it would go uncalled. I mean REALLY, dont you see how your privilage as a WW can allow you to feel that sex trumps race? WHY cant the fight among feminists be against BOTH?!?! Is this not an issue that WOMEN face as well? Or is it just because it pertains to women of color, that it is not as important in the great spectrum of womens issues? It is easy for you as a WW to say that…. EASY for you because you never HAVE and you never WILL experience the struggles the women of color face.

    Do you stand with the white supremacist majority, not just you anyone her who would consider race as a non-issue to women, or are you truly an unadulterated feminist?”

    Where did I call you a white supremacist? lol I was asking you where you stand. I wanted to know do you consider race to be a non issue of women. I was telling you that it is easy for you, or anyone, to see it as a non issue because you havent and wont experience the struggles WOC face as WOC.

    You’re right, you could not help being born white, I could not help being born let alone born black. None of us had a choice in the matter, and I never attacked you as a WW. It is hard when someone puts in your face the reminder that you are a WW and you dont live the struggle of a WOC as a WOC. That is truth is it not?

    If you’re sick of my overly long posts, STOP FUCKING READING THEM! I’m sick of hearing about it. All of my posts, as Hearts, and Roamaround’s and Ginger’s, had points, and quotes pulled from other posts to address questions asked, and comments made. Get over it.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 22, 2007, 3:12 pm
  81. Heart, I totally agree with your post. I have a comment similar, still in moderation, about WOC and WW.

    “Different subject for a moment, Pony doesn’t need me to speak for her, not sure she’s around, but ftr, DP, Pony is Metis. It’s aggravating to indigenous people when white people appropriate what belongs to Native culture, as New Agers are notorious for. She wasn’t addressing her comments to you but to others in the thread.”

    Yes I am aware that Pony is Metis. I dont try to make myself guardian of whose culture is whose lol so no, she wasnt addressing me. Thank you for that clear up, Heart. I am just leery, not without reason, of any posts where I have commented.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 22, 2007, 3:26 pm
  82. “Comprehension, and LIVING it are two different things.”

    I agree with you, DP, on this. I once had a male Marxist (former) ally scream at me, “If you think that I don’t get women’s oppression as much as you do just because I’m a man, then fuck you!”

    I just said, quietly because angry males terrify me in a way he would never understand, “No, you don’t and you can’t.” Then I resigned.

    I’m not sure where the disagreement between you and Stormcloud really lies, but I still think this is a mostly productive dialogue and I hate to see it degenerate.

    “It is hard to ally with WW because, though we experience oppression as women, you still have access to white privilege.”

    This is true, but I would say that 90% of our privilege comes through the white men we “belong” to, i.e. fathers and husbands. So I, as a single fatherless working class white woman, am in a very precarious position. You, DP, if I understand your situation, may become a wife of a white man which means your privilege *in some ways* will be greater than mine.

    I live in the “most likely to be eating cat food at seventy” demographic, so maybe that’s why talk of my white privilege sometimes wears thin. Even though I do know that white supremacy is alive and well in America, it is still white MALE supremacy when it comes down to the bottom line.

    Posted by roamaround | March 23, 2007, 2:26 am
  83. Divine Purpose, I appreciate that what you’re saying is true, however, I am perturbed by this statement:

    EASY for you because you never HAVE and you never WILL experience the struggles the women of color face.

    That’s true. We will never experience what it’s like to be a black woman. However white women and women of color do share many of the same struggles. We have all been subjugated by men. Men in general, regardless of their color.

    I’m often disturbed by the way racism seems to trump sexism with many women in the sense that they can fully acknowledge and accept racism as a struggle they’ve personally experienced, and unite with other people based on this belief, but not sexism. It seems that many women feel they share no common experience with women of other races. I don’t believe that’s true. I believe that black men often oppress women purely because they’re women just as white men have often done the same. Have white men oppressed black women based both on their race and sex? Most resoundingly yes, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t treat both groups like shit for some of the same reasons. Men exploit this rift between races and they use it to divide women.

    I have to say that, in my experience, I have been bothered by racism that has been directed at me and considered acceptable because I was white. I wouldn’t expect people to find it acceptable if I was openly and unapologetically racist towards black women or other women of color. I understand that there is a difference – that racism directed at white women is a direct reaction to our history – but does that make it acceptable?

    Posted by gingermiss | March 23, 2007, 5:39 am
  84. Divine Purpose, you seem to keep harping on this idea that “it is easy for you, or anyone, to see it as a non issue because you havent and wont experience the struggles WOC face as WOC.”

    I think it might be easy for people who deliberately blind themselves to what goes on in this world to see race as a non issue. Some feminists, including myself, see both race and gender as social constructions with no intrinsic basis in reality. I see that viewpoint as diametrically opposed to being oblivious to the effects of those social constructions. While feminists may distinguish sexism from racism, or think sexism trumps racism, that hardly implies seeing race as a non issue. I think most people who think racism is not an issue also think sexism is not an issue, or that both were problems of the distant past, or that reverse discrimination is now the big problem. A form of feminism oblivious to racism would be so shallow as to be meaningless, IMO.

    Posted by Aletha | March 23, 2007, 8:00 am
  85. DP, a problem I am having is, you do not know what it is like to find yourself pregnant when you don’t want to be. In the Amber Abreu thread, you were fairly harshly judgmental of Abreu for having aborted, and you had various reasons for that which made sense to you, but the bottom line was, you stood in fairly harsh judgment of someone having never stood in her shoes. I didn’t see you making a lot of effort to put yourself in her shoes or to imagine what it would feel like to be Amber Abreu– a Dominican immigrant, new to this country, poor, abandoned by a no-good boyfriend, already feeling shame and guilt for having become pregnant before and relying on her mother, who she knew couldn’t afford it, to pay for an abortion. All of that was not what was most important to you; in essence you said, “Too bad, she should have thought about that before she had the sex that made her pregnant.” And of course, we don’t know whether she even consented to the sex that made her pregnant, but that also did not seem to factor into your consideration.

    What that tells me is, you haven’t been in her shoes. You don’t know what that feels like, to be pregnant, to be trapped and desperate and terrified.

    I know what that feels like. A lot of women here do. And although you do not know what that feels like, we nevertheless engaged in good faith with you in a long debate about the rightness or wrongness, morality or immorality, of Abreu’s attempts to her abort her pregnancy, and about whether or not the charges Massachusetts brought against Abreu were just and justified.

    What if, instead of engaging your arguments, everybody here who has been in the situation of having an unwanted pregnancy, being poor, battered, scared, terrified, just kept reasserting, “You have not faced the struggles women with an unwanted pregnancy will face.” What if we’d said to you:

    DO NOT SOUND LIKE YOU ARE THE TEACHER WHEN YOU ARE THE STUDENT

    Because when it comes to being in the situation of experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, those of us who have had one are the teachers, you know? We’re the ones who know.

    It’s particularly troublesome in that you have made statements like the above, but have then qualified them by saying that nobody here is doing that. Why are you yelling at us if we’re not doing what you’re yelling about?

    None of us has had the same experiences as any other woman here or anywhere. But we’ve all had many experiences in common because we are women, and we can draw on those common experiences in our discussions and debates. Where it gets tricky is where someone hasn’t had a certain lived experiences and so doesn’t viscerally “get it,” but takes a hard line, judgmental approach towards those who *have* had the experience. But even there, I think sometimes we have to work to give the benefit of the doubt, understand where people are coming from, or try to, make allowances for deep and passionate convictions and so forth. We’re better off, when we can, to try to understand one another’s positions. Which is why I came to your defense in that thread, even though I didn’t agree with you. I think it’s important to make room for women’s passionate, intense views so long as they are woman-centered, which I believe you to be.

    That’s one reason your stance isn’t sitting so well in this instance.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 12:26 pm
  86. roamaround: This is true, but I would say that 90% of our privilege comes through the white men we “belong” to, i.e. fathers and husbands. So I, as a single fatherless working class white woman, am in a very precarious position. You, DP, if I understand your situation, may become a wife of a white man which means your privilege *in some ways* will be greater than mine.

    Yeah– this is important. Our privilege, as white women, depends on our connection with white men, just as roamaround says. And women of color will also gain privilege when they are connected with white men, particularly if the man is older than they are, has money, is middle class, degreed, etc. Under patriarchy, women have privilege in direct proportion to the men they’ve married. CM and I married black men. That moved us down the hierarchy, not up, a point many seem interested in ignoring. But any woman– of color, white — marrying a white man, moves herself up the hierarchy, not down. (Which is not to minimize the difficulties to be faced from racism in any interracial marriage.)

    One big problem: this idea of white women’s privilege too often ignores white lesbian women, who are connected to no men and who are specifically marginalized and disenfranchised for that reason. They are, Marilyn Frye says, traitors to whiteness because they refuse to connect and bear children with white men. And yet lesbians and white women in biracial marriages get lumped into the “WW” category anyway in a way that keeps us from really analyzing what privilege — whether race or sex privilege — actually consists of. When you get right down to it, as roamaround says, white women’s privilege has to do with her connection with white men. To the degree that connection doesn’t exist, to that degree the privilege is eroded.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 12:44 pm
  87. “I understand that there is a difference – that racism directed at white women is a direct reaction to our history – but does that make it acceptable?”

    Ginger, I never said it was acceptable. Actually I have said that I am opposed to any sense of “reverse racism” just as much, if not more so.

    Roamaround, you’re right. I am soon to be married to a white man. If anything, that does not grant me privilage. I face the contempt of my community, and deal with fear of backlash, not having access to certain jobs, housing, etc. I am daily considering just how dangerous this can, be for me, for both of us.

    Heart, I was not yelling. I am going to work on remembering how the hell to place bolds or something so that words dont need to be in ALL CAPS to place EMPHASIS. lol. I was saying that I learned something from her, I expressed that better in that thread. I was not trying to attack anyone or appear in this know it all form or fashion. You cant, as WW, live through the struggles of racism the way that WOC do. Am I wrong?

    DP: “I mean REALLY, dont you see how your privilage as a WW can allow you to feel that sex trumps race? WHY cant the fight among feminists be against BOTH?!?! Is this not an issue that WOMEN face as well? Or is it just because it pertains to women of color, that it is not as important in the great spectrum of womens issues?”

    This was my question. I’m done here. Thank you.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 23, 2007, 2:16 pm
  88. “All of that was not what was most important to you; in essence you said, “Too bad, she should have thought about that before she had the sex that made her pregnant.” And of course, we don’t know whether she even consented to the sex that made her pregnant, but that also did not seem to factor into your consideration.

    That’s one reason your stance isn’t sitting so well in this instance.”

    I dont think it really matters what I say, doesnt matter how true, backed up, referenced, educated whatever, because there is this misconception. Doesnt matter if I express how much I DO see that it was an issue, in the Abreu thred, her status as an immigrant, how the education system, resources available to her etc were withheld, how many other young girls find themselves in similar situations. Didn’t/doesn’t/won’t matter that I was opposed to aboriton as contraception because of the danger young women/women can find themselves in. Can’t place emphasis on my attack on sex “education”, wont question WHY, or ask to understand just jumping to conclusions. That is fine. I never said, nor implied, that she shouldnt have had the sex that made her pregnant. I attacked the jerk who got her and a 13 child pregnant, then skipped off to fun in the sun, but I feel like, I truly do this is not some weak ass retort, this is being twisted to take away from my points. Your blog, your way, your words, that’s final. I dont feel like this is a discussion at all, more of an attack. I am giving you my perspective and feelings as a WOC… I am going to stop.

    Althea, I was asking if it were considered a non-issue. Just trying to hit as many points in this last post here.

    No need to ban me, I will do that myself.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 23, 2007, 2:32 pm
  89. Hey, DP, I don’t want you to go, and I would not ban you.

    I think that women of color’s issues are women’s issues, are feminist issues, of course they are, and that’s why I blog about them all of the time. I think feminists should be fighting sexism aND racism AND classism AND ableism and ageism and sizeism AND AND AND (not yelling :)) because all of these are battles women must fight and feminism is for and about women. I don’t think anybody has suggested that feminism is not about anti-racism work– it is. But anti-racism work, anti-classism work, anti-ableism work can be done in a woman-centered way, such that, as Stormy says, women of color, disabled women issues, poor women’s issues are viewed as feminist issues in a way issues specific to men are not. Which is not to say that men do not benefit ultimately, because they do. In the end, it is very true that feminism is for everybody. But the focus can be on women and still be anti-racist, anti-classist and so on.

    Going back to suffrage, from my perspective, it was shortsighted to support suffrage for all men if it meant suffrage for zero women. What that meant was, for 60 more years women had no voice in politics, in the public sphere. It meant that for 60 more years, women’s needs in marriage, education, as to divorce, work, ownership of property, criminal justice, went considered only by men. It meant women died in that. It meant Stanton, and Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, and others died without the vote, having given their lives to that cause. What might giving the vote to women have cost men? Given their millennia of dominance. Not much across those 60 years. But having the vote would have given women at least affirmation that they were human beings, not cows, not chickens, not fucktoys. That’s important, to know, for god’s sake, that you are fully human and regarded as such. 😦

    I did not mean to berate you over the Amber Abreu thread. My point was, sometimes people feel intensely and even begin to teach in areas not specifically part of their own personal knowledge, and that I did not attempt to stop you there, you know? White women talking about race will certainly talk out of our asses at times, but we all have to start somewhere? Try to read one another generously?

    Although marrying a white man will certainly mean you will be punished by racists of all races, DP, it nevertheless will grant you privilege which women married to men of color, lesbian women, single women, won’t have. A white man opens doors to money, jobs, connections, memberships, visibility which is withheld from those not connected to white men. That’s how patriarchy works. Men dominate. Most women, including white women, access privilege by connecting with men somehow, whether through marriage or partnership, through their connections with their dads or male relatives, through being mothers of sons. If you are none of the above, you become marginalized.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 5:07 pm
  90. Well, in the NYT it appears that ‘art’ is representations of hanging of women. See Rachel’s post on this matter: http://www.rachelstavern.com/?p=458

    Posted by profacero | March 23, 2007, 6:48 pm
  91. Ginger, I never said it was acceptable. Actually I have said that I am opposed to any sense of “reverse racism” just as much, if not more so.

    I wasn’t trying to censure you for this behavior directly. What you were saying made me think about how often I encounter it – the concept that race seems to trump sex – and how depressing it is, because I think it has a lot to do with men.

    Why can’t we acknowledge and address both? Because heterosexual women don’t want to alienate themselves from men and be labeled a feminist (god forbid!).

    Posted by gingermiss | March 23, 2007, 10:13 pm
  92. The idea of ‘intersectionality’ is that one should address both. Being a white woman is very different from being another color of woman, being a white straight woman is very different from being a gay woman of any color.

    However. I am much more aware of race than I am of gender because, 1. race is real, and 2. I am in such very great denial about the degree to which gender and plain old misogyny/sexism have had a part to play in my very own life.

    One of my students says it is difficult to be radical about race and gender at the same time. I did not understand this at first but now I think she may be right: it is useful to think about race, tout court, and then about gender, tout court, *before* putting them together. It does not mean that the one trumps the other.

    In this blog, we think about gender, radically, first. It is instructive. At least, I find it instructive. Elsewhere we may think about race, radically, first. That is also instructive.

    Posted by profacero | March 24, 2007, 4:33 am
  93. Personally I think intersectionality is bullshyt. I used to think it was a great theory in theory, however, it is conveniently applied. Meaning, a white woman does not seem to get the application of intersectionality applied to her, she is seen as the “NEVER GONNA GET A CLUE!” person, thereby making any of her intersections meaningless.

    For example, in wiki it states that intersectionality is useful say when one is dealing with a battered woman. If the woman is a WOC, care must be taken because of the racist history of the police force. This is true and will very much hinder her ability to get help.

    So where does that leave the white woman? She can supposedly call the police and because she can that makes her husband (white) less likely to stalk her, track her down, and kill her? Will her ability to report give her the means any more so? Will her ability to report give her the protection from the police that she needs? No, it will not, because the police are still the misogynistic brutes that that are whether they are racist or not. They are still the jerks who do not care about women of any color. She will be murdered if her husband wants to murder her. So other than providing the WOC with an additionally perceived reason to remain (stuck) with her husband, the fact is still a woman (any color) is in jeopardy if her husband wants her to be in jeopardy.

    I grew up dirt poor. I grew up with white skin in a black environment. I went to school in the poorest, the very poorest school district in all of the state of Texas. Our school books were over thirty years old. The majority of the teachers could not pass the state test that was imposed on them after many years of teaching. I married a black man. I have bi-racial children. I do not have any financial or emotional support from my family (not because the color of my husband, but because of their victim mentality). We make middle class income now but do not own a home. We refuse to live materialistically like a perceived middle class, hence get the benefits of “looking” middle class. Where do I get to intersect? I know. I need to STFU because I have white privilege. Which in an mostly white environment is bullshyt for sure. Because when I lived on the Mississippi Gulf coast in the late 80’s early 90’s I had to dress up when I went out if I wanted my dollar to have the same value as others. What if I could not afford to dress up? I am white, I should not be suspected if the rules truly worked as simply as they supposedly do. However, it was common to dress up if one wanted service.

    Intersectinality is bullshyt. Just something the white male power structure use to keep women of all color pit against women of all colors.

    Intersectionality is just another form to lay on the layers to designate one person more oppressed than another, and whether that individual is truly more oppressed because of more intersections, when it comes down to it, the same structure determines who is worthy of what claim. And that worth will not be determined by an individual’s circumstances but by what group society labels that individual. This makes identity politics bullshyt as well. Because a person can say, they are whatever and unless society agrees, they are not.

    Whites regardless of their individual circumstances are the oppressors. They have privilege, so they are told to STFU. Follow. You know like the structure we have now. Men lead, women follow. Break it down more in order to rid the current structure and get some more of the same. Same old shyt different day. Status quo.

    POC are oppressed because of history and the current structure. End of story.

    Basically I guess what I am saying is these theories that are supposedly so revolutionary is really just the same recycled crap that keeps the status quo the status quo, and perhaps makes somebody somewhere feel better about whatever.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | March 24, 2007, 5:05 am
  94. The idea of ‘intersectionality’ is that one should address both. Being a white woman is very different from being another color of woman, being a white straight woman is very different from being a gay woman of any color.

    However. I am much more aware of race than I am of gender because, 1. race is real

    What?

    I have to assume that I don’t understand exactly what you’re trying to say. Claiming that race is “real” as opposed to gender/sexism is ludicrous.

    As I’ve already made clear, I believe that women share a common bond through the fact that they are oppressed purely for being women, regardless of other factors.

    In this blog, we think about gender, radically, first. It is instructive. At least, I find it instructive. Elsewhere we may think about race, radically, first. That is also instructive.

    Dividing the two, or placing them within a hierarchy of importance, does exactly what I’ve been saying and chasingmoksha said above:

    Just something the white male power structure use to keep women of all color pit against women of all colors.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 24, 2007, 6:24 am
  95. Divine Purpose, you said, “I was telling you (Stormy) that it is easy for you, or anyone, to see it as a non issue because you havent and wont experience the struggles WOC face as WOC.”

    That did not sound like a question to me, more like an accusation. Perhaps I misunderstood. However, even as a question, do you not see how insulting that is? Why would such a question occur to you? Why would you think a feminist might be indifferent to racism? It is true, we all have our blind spots, and white feminists may unconsciously act in racist ways, but does that make it seem white feminists do not care about racism, or any other form of oppression? I guess I do not get where you are coming from, but what the hell, I am a white woman, so that is par for the course?

    I guess I am asking all these questions because I really do not get why a bunch of feminists of color seem to think white feminists do not care about racism. Lack of comprehension does not imply indifference, far from it.

    Posted by Aletha | March 24, 2007, 7:33 am
  96. What CM says. I am a white woman, a lifelong lesbian, I grew up in the Bronx, NY one step above dirt poverty, I was psychiatrically confined and abused, my life is still very tenuous. Where do I get to intersect? On the old Ms board I was told to just STFU because I was a privileged white woman. Period.

    Posted by Branjor | March 24, 2007, 11:19 am
  97. Oooooh, cm and branjor, you stepped into it now. 😛

    The thing is, socioeconomic class and lesbianism do intersect gender and are supposed to be factored into discussions of oppression, but on the net, especially, the I’m-so-queer-because-I-had-a-perverse-thought-once milieu makes the realities and marginalization and structural, systemic oppression of lesbian lives invisible. Lesbians somehow end up in the amorphous (and undefined, and convenient) category WHITE WOMAN or in the presumed-to-be-het women of color category, and in either case their lesbianism is invisible. And then class is taken as some sort of a static and unchangeable feature of “WW” such that if you grew up middle class, it doesn’t matter that you left that world when you left home and lived an impoverished and marginalized life for decades, all sorts of ambitious and upwardly mobile grad students will be quick to castigate you forevermore as though you never left the pristine climes of the imaginary gated community and as though your mom is still loading you into the minivan and ferrying you to soccer practice everyday, even though that experience is as foreign to you as it is to the ambitious grad student. Or, if you grew up dirt poor, as you two did, cm and Branjor, that doesn’t count somehow, or figure in (though let some white boy college student show up talking about having been poor or being “queer” or “transgender” and he is taken oh-so-seriously, ohmygod, let me try to understand your state!) :/

    Intersectionality theory developed for legitimate reasons having to do with some of the things we have talked about here, the way anti-racism work has too often failed to take gender into account, the way feminist work has too often failed to take race into account, etc. The internet is wierd though. Even women who should know better, and probably do know better, and behave better, in real life, invoke it disingenuously for reasons which are less than honorable, and it’s too bad. It would be nice to see some real grappling with the implications of intersectionality instead of what we do see, glorified flaming parading as “analysis.”

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 24, 2007, 1:33 pm
  98. I wonder how DP is aware I’m Metis? It’s not been mentioned here for yonks prior to Heart saying so above. And we know from DPs posts that she doesn’t read before she presumes to tell us how to be women, feminists, and activists.

    Posted by Pony | March 24, 2007, 4:49 pm
  99. I’m with gingermiss on profacero’s “race is real” comment. Huh? If anything, race is much more of a socially constructed fiction than sex/gender which does involve some biological reality.

    Not saying racism isn’t real in your face oppression, but who is what race and what that means is all dependent on context. An African Arab can be a racially oppressed Black man in the U.S., a victim of discrimination as a Muslim Arab in France and a ruling class oppressor of Black Africans at home; his “race” and its status depends on where he is at any given moment (I’m thinking of some Sudanese friends, in case you’re wondering).

    I’m struggling with some of the post modern takes on gender that I’m reading lately that negate any biological reality at all. I’m not very well-versed in pomo, so I might be off, but I don’t see how such very “real” things as giving birth and having lactating breasts can be entirely discounted as factors in women’s oppression. It doesn’t mean that women are condemned to subordinate status by that fact or any essentialist garbage of the sort, but men have subordinated women in order to have control over reproduction. Women give birth and know who their children are and men don’t unless they control women. That’s as real as it gets.

    Posted by roamaround | March 24, 2007, 6:07 pm
  100. To be perfectly clear, I am not attacking my good friend Professor Zero. She used a triggering word that got me started and it has nothing to do with her personally. LOL! Stuff like this has to be noted because there are always blood sucking parasites just waiting to smell the possible riff (actual or otherwise) in order to have reason to celebrate their orgasmocracy/libidocratic form of oppression.

    Intellectually I know that intersectionality has merit. And I am sure when speaking to truly compassionate people who are dedicated to anti-oppressive activism (not saying anyone who has commented here is not dedicated, however I am asserting that some possible readers/parasites whose main focus is to decenter feminism are in fact not dedicated) they understand, respect, and apply Intersectionality appropriately.

    The same goes with the term identity politics. What a phucking joke that term is.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | March 24, 2007, 10:15 pm
  101. I didn’t get it that profacero was saying gender wasn’t real– more like she was saying race is real, but she’s been in denial about misogyny and gender.

    I think that both race and gender are real (made real by white male power) but that neither is “true” — meaning absent white male power what we call “race” and “gender” would not have the meanings they now have. There’s nothing essential about them, in other words.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 24, 2007, 10:44 pm
  102. Just below is the text of a comment, I hope will come to the attention of the director for the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science:

    “As if this museum doesn’t have enough problems with regard to the Confederate Battle Banner.

    “Some busybody claims that I should be upset about one of the send-ups of the Confederate Battle Banner. Specifically, it is practically a duplicate of the photograph I use as an icon for my blogspot website. Wood’ja (?) buh-leave!

    “I actually proposed the design to be used by Republicans, intent on saving their party from becoming a regional party, completely restricted to the former Confederate states. Should that happen, the only national party will be the Democratic Party.

    “If that busybody’s claim should happen to be true, we may need to talk. By the way, it’s easy enough to check. One need only click on the bold hewhoisknownassefton said text.

    “Somewhere in my website, there’s information about how to get in touch.”

    toodles

    oh, yeah, almost forgot, here’s the hyperlink to my blogspot website:

    http://hewhoisknownassefton.blogspot.com/

    and one more thing, you’re getting this e.mail, because I googled “John Sims” and “Confederate”, and then your website came up . . .

    Posted by A Alexander Stella | March 25, 2007, 10:33 pm
  103. I just wanted to throw my hat into the ring, as a black woman, and say for any lingering readers – as I’m always late to a thread – that I actually do believe that sex trumps race. There, I said it. As a black woman, I encounter overt misogyny from black men on an almost daily basis. They, like white men, don’t even see it as a problem. They don’t see their desire to have control over black women as in anyway the same thing as white men’s (realized) desire to control everyone else; shit, black women, for the most part, refuse to see the parallels.

    And yes, black men do chafe at the thought that any woman should exceed them in social status. They do bristle at the fact that some white women garner more societal esteem than they do, even though those women are usually the ones married (read: subordinated) to high-profile white men. If only, they seem to wish, white men weren’t such sex-traitors! Then you could have one all-male heirarchy, with god at the top, and with an all-female heirarchy nestled completely underneath it. If black men could have their masculinity stroked by being considered socially superior to all women, and not just the obviously inferior black ones, I don’t even think black men would mind being at the bottom of the all-male totem pole.

    When black men have this mindset, it becomes dangerous for black women to assert themselves as more than accessories to black liberation. If you think white men hate white lesbian feminists, think about how much they must hate a black one. Then think about how black men would be right there ready to heap accusations of race-treason on top of it all, because to be against black male dominance over black women is to be anti-black, period. Black women are supposed to rejoice at any social gains black men make under the false pretense that we, as black people, are all in this together. If, on the other hand, black women make inroads, it is seen as a deliberate effort to emasculinize black men, as if a man can only be a man if “his” woman is beneath him. While it may be OK for white women to get all uppity about liberation from white male headship, a black woman is supposed to help get the white woman’s foot off of her man’s neck and shut the fuck up about the the foot on her own.

    Believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve sat in black separatist meetings and been told that if there are problems between black men and black women, they need to be silenced for the time being. We shouldn’t be airing dirty laundry about black men when clearly they are so oppressed. We should be dutiful toward our race first and then, maybe, if we still feel so strongly about sexism (and the hope is that we won’t), we can do something about it after black people (men) are free. I’ve also sat in those meetings and listened to black men waxing nostaligic about a “homeland” they’ve never seen and the polygamist cultures they believe were a birth right stripped from them by the evils of transatlantic slavery.

    So, yeah, while I might be willing to admit that white women don’t always make the best allies, I’ll be damned if I’m going to say that black men make better ones.

    Posted by justicewalks | March 28, 2007, 2:48 pm
  104. Heart,

    I would like to thank you and your writers for their support. Stay tune for my movie, Recoloration Proclamation. CHeck in at http://www.johnsimsprojects.com
    I think the time is ripe to discuss our national issue of historical terrorism and lead an effort in creating policy-change on a federal level.

    Peace,

    John Sims
    myspace.com/johnsims

    Posted by John Sims | March 28, 2007, 4:13 pm
  105. Hey, John Sims, thanks for stopping by and for your fine and brilliant work! I will look forward to the release of your movie and will make sure I publicize it here.

    In peace and solidarity,

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 28, 2007, 4:23 pm
  106. Actually they’re hanging the wrong confederate flag. It should be the official CSA flag (which kind of resembles a USA flag) this flag however (referred to as “The Rebel Flag of Dixie” or “Stars and Bars”) is the military flag it was the only flag flown that DID NOT STAND FOR RACISM. The slaves (unlike free white men) were given an option to go to war, if they fought freedom would be granted to them and they’re families even if they lost the war. The Union only payed blacks $3.30 a month to fight and they payed whites $7.40 a month to fight. The Confederacy payed both white and black men the same amount of money to fight, $11.00 a month- plus an extra dollar per each rank (ex: a private would make $11 a month whereas a Lieut. would make $12 a month) may I add that blacks could also rise through the ranks and were considered the best musket men. The only reason that the rebel flag is considered racist is because the KKK knows even less than you do. I’m pissed that you Liberal, Commie, Yankie, Rug munching, baby killing, God hating, tax dollar wasting, fuck-tarded, motherfuckers would support such a thing! Do you know the CSA stood for (because I’m sure you don’t have a fucking clue what CSA stands for, it means The Confederate States of America)?! The CSA stood for States Rights, where the central government minds it’s own fucking business and the states decide what’s legal and what’s not. That mean that things like abortion, gun control, drug laws, taxes, and gay marriage would be decided by the state and if you didn’t like you could move to a state that supported what you supported. In conclusion: FUCK YOU you commie cock sucking bastards.

    Posted by Stonewall | August 22, 2013, 10:35 am
  107. Righto, Stonewall. The slaves’ choice was to go to war or continue to be a slave. Nice choice! I’m approving your comment as a reminder to one and that folks like you are STILL out there, making the world a miserable place. It’s been real.

    Posted by Heart | August 22, 2013, 1:05 pm

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