Since more White women work and are career-bound today, their sensibility has become more akin to that of Black women. Marriage-and-family expert Robert Blood wrote of working women in general: The employment of women affects the power structure of the family by equalizing the resources of husband and wife. A working wifes husband listens to her more, and she listens to herself more . . . Thus her power increases and, relatively speaking, the husbands falls. The working mother also makes a significant impression on the next generation. Blood commented: Daughters of working mothers are more independent, more self-reliant, more aggressive, more dominant, and more disobedient. Such girls are no longer meek, mild, submissive, and feminine like little ladies ought to be.
Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America 353 (1988) (footnotes omitted).
[W]hen I was working at an all-female law firm in Los Angeles, we tried in 1979 to certify a class of aerospace workers in a sex and race discrimination case. The judge told us the black women workers among our clients could be counted for purposes of the sub-class complaining about race discrimination or the sub-class complaining about sex discrimination, but not both. The judges feeling, as I recall, was that to let them be counted for both purposes would be unfairly to give those class members whatfor some unexplained reasonwould be two bites of whatfor some unexplained reasoncould be only one apple.
Ann Scales, Disappearing Medusa: The Fate of Feminist Legal Theory, 20 Harv. Womens L.J. 34, 39 (1997). Also, in considering affirmative action programs, affirmative action programs for white women receive a lower level of scrutiny than affirmative action plans for blacks. It is not clear how such programs for black women would be evaluated (are black women more like blacks or are they more like (white) women in the eyes of the law). See generally Angela Mae Kupenda, Why Isnt Whats Good for the Goose, Also Good for the Gander?: Confronting the Truth and Reframing the Affirmative Action Question, 25 S.U. L. Rev. 141, 14748 (1997).
That a white woman associated with the anti-slavery movement could assume a racist posture toward a Black girl in the North reflected a major weakness in the abolitionist campaignits failure to promote a broad anti-racist consciousness. This serious shortcoming, abundantly criticized by the Grimke sisters and others, was unfortunately carried over into the organized movement for womens rights.
Id. at 59.
No angel stretched protecting wings
above the heads of her children,
fluttering and urging the winds of reason
into the confusion of their lives.
They sprouted like young weeds,
but she could not shield their growth
from the grinding blades of ignorance, nor
shape them into symbolic topiaries.
She sent them away,
underground, overland, in coaches and
When you learn, teach.
When you get, give.
As for me,
I shall not be moved.
Maya Angelou, Our Grandmothers, in Phenomenal Woman 15, 1819 (1994).
You have taken Gods holy word to testify your innocence, said [my masters wife]. If you have deceived me, beware! . . .
I did as she ordered. As I went on with my account her color changed frequently, she wept, and sometimes groaned. She spoke in tones so sad, that I was touched by her grief. The tears came to my eyes; but I was soon convinced that her emotions arose from anger and wounded pride. She felt that her marriage vows were desecrated, her dignity insulted; but she has no compassion for the poor victim of her husbands perfidy.
Id. at 33.
What does this woman look like? What he has refused to seebecause to see it would reveal yet another area in which he is unable to protect or defend black womenis that where white women are depicted in pornography as objects, black women are depicted as animals. Where white women are depicted at least as human bodies if not beings, black women are depicted as shit.
Alice Walker, Coming Apart, in You Cant Keep a Good Woman Down 41, 52 (1981). In the picture, a glistening brown woman is contorted around the mans feet, in such a way that her head is not even visible. Only her glistening bodyher back and derriereso that she looks like a human turd at the mans feet. Id. at 43.
I was born by the river
In a little tent
And just like the river
Ive been running ever since
Its been a long, long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh, yes it is
. . . .
Then I go to my [sister]
I say [sister] help me please
But [s]he winds up knocking me
Back down on my knees
. . . .
Its been a long, long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come
Oh, yes it will
The Supremes, A Change is Gonna Come, on We Remember Sam Cooke (1965), at http://home.iae.nl/users/psporrij/sc.htm (last visited Jan. 11, 2002).
You ought not to be going up there, Lily told Doreen . . . . If the police came and arrested them, would she go limp, the way the n_____s used to do during the unrest? She shook her head. The whole idea was unbelievable.
Mama, thats where I work. Doreen was smoothing Melanies [her daughters] bangs and didnt look at her mother.
Yeah, but its mostly them. Let them do it. The thought of her daughter carrying a sign and marching around the fish-processing plant with a bunch of n_____s made her dizzy . . . .
New Plantation is treating all of us like shit, Mama. Im in the same boat as the n______s. I aint scared of being raped by Willie Horton, Mama. Im scared of not having medical benefits.
Doreens words were true enough, but everything she said only intensified Lilys fears. Well, why do you have to take Melanie with you? Aint you afraid she might get hurt? . . .
No, I dont know whats gonna happen, but Ill tell you what: No matter what happens, I want her to know that she has to stand up for herself. Cause if she dont, wont nobody do it for her. I want her to have courage.
Lilys eyes almost met her daughters, but at the last moment she looked away. Courage was what men were supposed to have: that was what she wanted to say. But the words froze on her lips.
Campbell, supra note 1, at 42425. Maybe future generations, like Lilys daughters daughters, might be able to confront their fears more fully and to deal with both the overt and covert racism that they internalized.