White Bourgeois Feminism in Black Face

Article by Lamara Perry.
For the past six weeks I have developed a close relationship with the topic of oppression through race, gende, and economic disenfranchisement, specifically within the framework of the United States.

Although the exploitation of black women is not a newly discovered reality, this course was quite unique given the exploration of this focus through the narrowed scope of Black Feminist thought.

Before denouncing the child of white bourgeois idealists, it became necessary, as an African woman, to understand this matter that I have been informed, through this particular stream of thought, speaks solely to my experience as a black woman.

Black women continue to be impacted through several intersections of oppression, which have been accompanied with severe acts of violence.

Black Feminists struggle against this reality by placing black women at the center of discussion in hopes that by freeing what they attribute to be the most oppressed group within the black nation that all will ultimately share in this liberation.

While this expression may seem tempting, I have found various contradictions within this professed road to freedom.

As an African Internationalist, I align myself with the oppressed people of the world who continue to be assaulted by imperialism and subsequently, another western construction; capitalism.

This system, which operates solely provided the disenfranchisement of a given group, historically has utilized African people to literally pump blood, sweat, and resources into the building of European empires.

As white feminist have failed to acknowledge these contradictions due to their allegiance to a structure that privileges their whiteness above all else, black feminist indeed tackle questions of imperialism and capitalism, but they do so as other examples of oppression.

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2 replies »

  1. Great article… I’ve always been skeptical of the feminist movement that tries to prop up women CEOs and whatnot yet don’t understand that the problem is the corporate structure ITSELF. Outside of gender, I see similar issues in the Black community (worshiping Black CEOs/celebrities Vs. prosperous Black communities) and the environmental movement (“green” corporations Vs. cooperatives, etc.)

  2. It all comes down to the dichotomy between those like us who reject the system entirely and those who simply want more people from their particular in-group to hold positions of power within the system. I see this as the real essence of class struggle in modern societies. We have this rising upper middle class of culturally cosmopolitan liberals who see nothing wrong with the state, capitalism, imperialism and its various institutional manifestations so long as more people from traditional outgroups or holding liberal views on social matters are incorporated into the system or holding the reins of power. Then there are those who are not advancing within the system but are under attack by the system with the big split being along class lines.

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