Throughout history, black women have been shown as weak subservient women. Since the country’s inception, institutions have regulated bodies in such a way that white bodies became the norm (Cooper, 2014). Systematic oppression assured that black women would remain observed as second class citizens. This trend is clearly observable in the military. Currently, debates are raging as a result of recent legislation regarding appropriate hair styles. Ignorantly, the Army claims that “Braids or Cornrows that are unkempt or matted are considered dreadlocks and are not authorized.” Admittedly, racial references are not used; however, the legislation is apparently raced based. The premise that dreadlocks are merely matted hair is offensive, culturally insensitive and racist.
Opponents of implemented measures believe that the guidelines encode a belief that something fundamental to black women’s personhood and physical presence is excessive, unruly and must be subject to military discipline (Cooper, 2014). Occurrences like those above have revealed the prevalent mentalities of the western culture. Consequently, black women have utilized feminism as a platform to protect themselves from cultural and systematic oppression. It is only recently that the black woman’s’ voice has risen to the forefront. As it stands, their experiences within America have given them an interesting perspective regarding the major ideologies ubiquitous within the culture.
Feminism in America was initially patent for white women, however; black women have utilized its tenets to express their desires concerning the country’s direction. Black women have a compelling advantage for dissecting prejudices as discrimination against them has been classist, sexist, and racist. As a result, their perspective is useful to understand the objective issues affecting the country. Because of their unique position, black women have the ability to sympathize with a broader range of individuals. Also, they have the potential to innovate and implement creative solutions because their perspective.
Black feminism has been similar to the civil rights movement. Similarly, both movements have been utilized by other as an umbrella to provide a platform for their grievances. Moreover, both have forced the country to take an interest in the problems affecting minority groups. Interest group outside of black women such as the LGBT community has utilized feminist tenets to authenticate its efforts. Past records have revealed that feminism has not been received happily by many; however, respect is growing for its efforts. Many black men have rejected feminism tenets because of a lack of factual information. Studies have revealed that education increases individuals understanding of feminism goals (Collins, 2009). Consequently, more people understand the need to protect and promote women amongst the global population.
To circumvent oppressive treatment, black women have utilized feminism to rise from oppression. Throughout the years, feminism has been portrayed negativity; however, black feminism has shown to have a significant advantage in disseminating discrimination (Collins, 2009). Black feminist thought shows that black women are an emerging powerhouse of information. Their unique experience allows black women the opportunity to identify as well as to understand the process and consequences of bigotry. Feminism is relevant to the present because there are a lot of discrimination issues that frequently affect the West. By choosing to address discrepancies within the system, society is allowed to grow past historical grievances and become a stronger country. Ignoring bias exposes flaws which leave our country open to vulnerabilities.
Collins, P. H. (2009). Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination. Nonviolence for a change.
Cooper, B. (2014, APR 22). The politics of black women’s hair: Why it’s seen with skepticism — and need to discipline. The Salon.