The Intersectionality of Oppression Introduction

Woman have been deemed the inferior sex from the creation of time, the justifications for this are long running, involving God’s way, biological, and intellectual differences. However, within oppression there are groups which are more oppressed than others, and groups who are oppressed and then turn around and oppress another oppressed group.  In this case the white male reigns supreme at the top of the totem pole, everyone else falls below him, but dependent on various social factors like race, gender, and class a person, while still oppressed, can simultaneously be the oppressor of another.  “An Act Defining the Status of Mulatto Bastards,” December 1662 demonstrates how the right to their own body and freedom, specifically for woman of color was stripped from them and used as a tool of control, and how the black woman’s purpose on this earth is for production and reproduction in the eyes of everyone else.  “Colonial Intimacies: Legislating Sex in French Louisiana,” 2003 depicts the intersectionality of minority groups, where relations with the natives was encouraged because they provided the colonists with access to land, while the relationships with slaves was discouraged because it was seen as a distraction from the profits, proving that the degree of oppression you face is dependent on where you are in the social hierarchy of things. “The Gender of Violence” in Out of the house of bondage: the transformation of the plantation household 2003 discusses the abuse white women who owned slaves subjected the slaves to, which again shows how one oppressed group can be the oppressor of another and how the white woman are executing more power over the minority women. “Virginia Ladies’ Petition to Eliminate Slavery” 1832 expands on Glymph’s piece, discussing the abuse the white woman forced the black slaves to endure, but they pose the rebellion to the abuse as if the slaves are the ones committing torture and being oppressive.  An Appeal to the Women of the Nominally Free States, By Angelina Grimke 1836 addresses how the status of a person is not only effected by their gender, but the implications of race follow a person everywhere throughout the country, so there is no way to advance in equality when everywhere is rooted in oppression, and how the degradation of slavery expands in the degradation of labor. Angelina Grimké to Theodore Weld, August 12, 1837 is a piece highlighting how some people feel bad about the separation of the suffrage movement from the abolition movement but also how the intersectionality of oppression has made that divide beneficial to one movement and not the other. With the advance in the abolition movement discussed in Union Women In Wartime 1865 it also speaks about the racial difference in treatment in women during this time.  Zitkala-Sa, excerpts from “The School Days of an Indian Girl,” 1900 expands on the notion of oppression of different groups and how white woman were forcing Native Girls to assimilate to a culture that will never fully accept them because of other social factors that deem them inferior.  The Race problem- An Autobiography 1904 addresses how regardless of any other social characteristic, like gender, a black person will always be labelled that, and how suffrage movements used the oppression of blacks as a way to advance their own movement towards white woman’s suffrage, leaving behind the black woman. “Arm in Arm: Gender, Eugenics, and Virginia’s Racial Integrity Acts of the 1920s” highlights how while white woman are advancing politically and socially, minority woman are being literally killed off because of their other characteristics like class, race, and disability.  The first piece in Abbey Lincoln, “Who Will Revere the Black Woman?” 1966. addresses the justifications for the oppression of minority woman, and how even after legal action was taken, they were still faced with prejudice and hardship.  Then in Abbey Lincoln, “Who Will Revere the Black Woman?” 1966. it relates back to “An Act Defining the Status of Mulatto Bastards,” December 1662  demonstrating how the role of a minority woman has not changed all that much in centuries.  “Women’s liberation has a different meaning for blacks,” 3 October 1970 speaks of the different levels of equality that people in the same category can achieve at completely different times, because of the intersectionality of oppression.  Even today white woman are presented with many more opportunities than their black female counterpart because of the oppression that they have faced throughout history that has not necessarily been as severe for a white woman.


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