Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender. This debate can also be termed as intersectionality. This debate raises the issue of understanding the oppressive lives of women that are not only shaped by gender alone but by other elements such as racism, classism, ageism, heterosexism, etc.
Ida B. Wells, one of the most famous African American suffragists, was also a crucial player in First Wave Feminism.
Few Caucasian women had yet acquired that Black women were "the victims of the double discrimination of race and sex" and two-thirds were employed "in the lowest paid service occupations."
Thompson makes the comparison with slavery. Female oppression was determined by birth, ‘like the skin of the Black’. The unequal social relationship between men and women meant that men could ‘brand’ women with ‘mental incapacity’ and call it ‘nature.'
…new realities had to be addressed as a result of emancipation (1863-1865) and the ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments (1868-1870). Legal recognition of black male citizenship meant that white women could no longer claim a shared political status […] with black men. White women's social identities had to be reconstructed to reflect that changing relationship of "woman" and "the Negro."
The rhetorics of the two reforms meet upon the recognition that for both women and blacks it is their physical difference from the cultural norms of white masculinity that obstructs their claim to personhood. Thus the social and political goals of both feminism and abolition depend upon an act of representation, the inscription of black and female bodies into the discourses of personhood. Despite this similarity of aims, I find thatt healliance attempted by feminist-abolitionits texts is never particularly easy or equitable
During the past decade, feminism and Women's Studies have been forced to acknowledge the diversities of women's experiences, as well as the patriarchal oppression that they share. An emphasis on 'difference' has shattered the illusion of the homogeneity of, and sisterhood between, women, which previously characterized white, middle-class, Westernized feminist politics and analysis.
In the US the strong link between abolitionism and feminism was acknowledged from the beginnings of the new wave of historical scholarship which accompanied the rise of the Women’s Liberation Movement inthelate1960s and 70s.
…feminism must include an analysis of race if it hopes to express the aspirations of non-white women. Neither Black liberationist politics nor feminist theory can ignore the intersectional experiences of those whom the movements claim as their respective constituents.
Our inability to avoid inscribing racially inflected investments and agendas limits white feminism's capacity either
to impersonate black feminism, and potentially to render it expendable, or to counter its specific credibility.
Critical race feminism, which originates from critical legal theory, feminist legal theory, and critical race theory, promises to afford “legal and academic stratagem for studying and eradicating race, class, and gender oppression in educational institutions.” Critical race feminist theory emphasizes the multiplicity of voices of women of color unlike the constructs before it.