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Who is raising whose consciousness?

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In “An Argument for Black Women’s Liberation as a Revolutionary Force” by Mary Ann Weathers,  a member of the BWLC of SNCC, [who wrote the piece for Cell 16’s No More Fun and Games‘ (Feb 1969) after meeting some members  of the group when they offered to escort her home one night as part of their all-female street patrol].  Weathers argued that black women’s liberation  may be achieved  by a coalition of “poor women” “older women” and yes middle-class women.  However  “poor white women” “Indian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Oriental and Black American Women” “whose oppression is tripled” all “have knowledge to teach us.”

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Weather’s also invokes the notion of “triple” oppression in her plea for liberation for all women.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 All women suffer oppression, even white women, particularly poor white women, and especially Indian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Oriental and Black American women whose oppression is tripled by any of the above-mentioned. But we do have female’s oppression in common.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The insights of the most oppressed “the lessons of the damned” as they later put it, were expressed in a version of “A historical and critical essay for black women” credited to Patricia Haden, Donna Middleton, and Patricia Robinson in Voices from Women’s Liberation (?) [joint venture of the New Rochelle and  Mount Vernon Black women’s groups,  M. Rivka Polatnick and Roz Baxnadall]  The authors insisted on the relevance of the felt aspect of oppression as a source of knowledge.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0  Repressed feelings, like living energy, struggle against the force of repression to rise to consciousness.   Repression of feelings, which we have learned through the conditioning of myths, is unacceptable, is a constant struggle

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Despite the oppressed status of Black women and their ongoging struggles with Black nationalists (Helene Charlery) white women often valorized their position. Black women precisely because they suffered under both racism and sexism provided a potential vanguard within women’s liberation that could help [white] women to escape their false consciousness.

In To my white working-class sisters [UP FROM UNDER, Vol: 1, Issue: 2, (August-September, 1970), 17] Debbie D’amico argues that

“black women have told themselves that they are beautiful in their natural lives, and we need to do the same of ourselves”

is “black sisters” white women mimicking black power movement or expression of gender solidarity? 

re abortion laws  OFF_OUR_BACKS, Vol: 1, Issue: 3, (3/19/1970), 16 pp. but what do these laws do for our black sisters and our poor sisters? re ERA “our black sisters our poor sister OFF_OUR_BACKS, Vol: 1, Issue: 11, (9/30/1970),

Such expressions of sisterhood were met with challenges such as  “would you like to sacrifice a few [white]  skin privileges?by Cory Logan in an article entitled  “From a Black Sister” [Women: A journal of Liberation 1, no. 3 (Spring 1970): 46-47]

or in situations such as one recounted in the May 21, 1970 Bay Area Newspaper It Ain’t Me Babe alongside a graphic that both suggested the intertwined nature of racism and sexism as well as a common identity, “the man” (read white capitalist)

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 intersectionaluncredited image, It AINT Me BABE, Vol: 1, Issue: 7, (5/21-6/10/1970), p 13

In this account a “white sister” and a “black sister” faced unwanted attention from a “black brother.” The “white sister” told him to “fuck off nigger” which “pissed” the “black sister” off, causing her to “administer a little child training to her white sister.” In this analogy is the black sister then in the stereotypical black mammy role, tending to the childlike white woman?

 The revolutionary people’s constitutional convention prompted one black woman to create a complex account of the varying identity groups, including a plea to radical white women in the name of the supposed sisterhood that existed between all women

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 Black woman (to radical straight women): Some black sisters are gonna liberate some furniture at the uptown Harlem Welfare Center and liberate the Goodwill industries and distribute the clothing to the people of East Harlem.  Will you help us?

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Radical straight women: Solidarity forever, sister. But werre note ready for that step yet. [Everywoman, Vol: 1, Issue: 11, (December 11, 1970)

Sisterhood and solidarity meant little without action to back them up.

Instead Black women drew analogies between themselves and women of the Third World, particularly North Vietnamese women.   The Mount Vernon/New Rocehlle group started a letter to A North Vietnamese Sister (Sept 1968) by drawing a comparison between the colonized and the enslaved

You, the great vanguard of this historical period, and after Chicago, by a rapidly awakening minority of U.S.

citizens. It will strike out and we blacks with our historical memories of the reconstruction period gird ourselves along with the knowing oppressed whites.

Second Wave, The, Vol: 1, Issue: 1, (Spring, 1971) report on third world womens alliance

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