Race, Class, and Feminism

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

“Ain’t I a woman?,” asked Sojourner Truth, highlighting the vast gulf separating the real experience of Black women and the middle-class white ideal of “womanhood.” One cannot fully grasp the nature of women’s oppression and racial oppression without understanding their relationship to the class structure of society, and the way in which they intersect and relate to one another. A feminism that fails to integrate an understanding of racism into its analysis cannot see the stark contrast between the way capitalism oppresses different groups of women in our society. A feminism that fails to take class into account fails to get at the root of capitalism’s dependence on working-class women’s role in social reproduction and capitalist production. Drawing on Marxism and Black feminism, with its distinct political tradition based upon a systematic analysis of the interlocking oppressions of race, gender, and class, this talk will make the case for a Marxist feminist politics that integrates these factors into a coherent picture of oppression—and of future liberation.

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