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Women, Race, and Class

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A powerful study of the women's movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.


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A powerful study of the women's movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.

30 review for Women, Race, and Class

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Incisive and concise, Women, Race, and Class charts the history of racial and gender oppression in America. In lucid prose Angela Davis breaks down how misogyny, racism, and classism have shaped the character of the nation’s social life from the Antebellum Era to the Sixties. She pays special attention to how white-dominated middle-class social movements often have forgone solidarity with working people and Black people, ostensibly for the sake of political expediency, and highlights how the Incisive and concise, Women, Race, and Class charts the history of racial and gender oppression in America. In lucid prose Angela Davis breaks down how misogyny, racism, and classism have shaped the character of the nation’s social life from the Antebellum Era to the Sixties. She pays special attention to how white-dominated middle-class social movements often have forgone solidarity with working people and Black people, ostensibly for the sake of political expediency, and highlights how the narrow goals of white reformists has allowed capitalist oppression to remain in tact. Over the course of thirteen succinct chapters the author makes clear the complex ties between America’s many dehumanizing systems of social control, and builds a visionary argument for cooperation among all marginalized peoples.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ONTD Feminism

    LJ user gingersomething: I really think this should be required reading for middle class white feminists struggling to comprehend intersectionality. Although, judging from that first goodreads review, maybe some are just beyond reach.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    A fantastic book that examines the history of the feminist movement with a keen attention to the intersections of gender, race, and class. The term intersectionality has become such a buzzword nowadays, often used to describe having various social identities; Kimberle Crenshaw created the term in reference to how multiple systems of oppression affect those with more than one marginalized identity. Angela Davis honors this original conception of intersectionality by examining how the feminist A fantastic book that examines the history of the feminist movement with a keen attention to the intersections of gender, race, and class. The term intersectionality has become such a buzzword nowadays, often used to describe having various social identities; Kimberle Crenshaw created the term in reference to how multiple systems of oppression affect those with more than one marginalized identity. Angela Davis honors this original conception of intersectionality by examining how the feminist movement has largely failed black women, lower class women, lower class black women, and women in general who fall outside of the upper to middle class white women bubble. Davis discusses a range of historical and feminist topics such as how the anti-rape movement excluded black women, how capitalism’s devaluing of housework has disadvantaged poor women, and reproductive rights and the cruel, forced sterilization of black women. Though first published in 1983, this book’s themes unfortunately still apply to today, where the feminist movement still often devalues those who are not white, cisgender, upper to middle class, educated, straight, able-bodied, and more. Davis also pays homage to activists who have fought the racism and classism within the feminist movement such as Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. Du Bois. This classic book will continue to make me work harder to ensure my feminist actions address intersectionality and that I hold myself accountable for my errors. Highly recommended to everyone interested in feminism, especially those of us who hold more privilege than others (so basically, everyone).

  4. 5 out of 5

    ralowe

    if you're ready to graduate from just holding intersectional complexity to doing justice along every axes of that intersection in due measure, then you should read these essays; that is, if you haven't already. i hate the shame that accompanies the canon when you're finally getting around to something that should be elemental. maybe i should let go of the shame. what's shameful is that if we're going under the assumption that this text is so widely read and familiar on such a scale then why are if you're ready to graduate from just holding intersectional complexity to doing justice along every axes of that intersection in due measure, then you should read these essays; that is, if you haven't already. i hate the shame that accompanies the canon when you're finally getting around to something that should be elemental. maybe i should let go of the shame. what's shameful is that if we're going under the assumption that this text is so widely read and familiar on such a scale then why are all our political spaces so totally bereft of its insights? people may grasp intersection, but there is a lack of the rigor to do the labor to strengthen the joists so that a liability is rendered into a gift. this is angela davis' gift.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    An important work marking the intersections of class, race and gender...and all the history behind people you've vaguely looked up to because no one ever talks about the way they really felt about Black people. So you can respect some of what they've done, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger are forever debarred from my cannon of heroes. In criticising the 14th and 15th amendments, Stanton and Anthony descended into a horrifying racism, and I believe Davis is right An important work marking the intersections of class, race and gender...and all the history behind people you've vaguely looked up to because no one ever talks about the way they really felt about Black people. So you can respect some of what they've done, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger are forever debarred from my cannon of heroes. In criticising the 14th and 15th amendments, Stanton and Anthony descended into a horrifying racism, and I believe Davis is right when she writes Granted they felt they had as powerful a case for suffrage as Black men. Yet in articulating their opposition with arguments invoking the privileges of white supremacy, they revealed how defenceless they remained--even after years of involvement in progressive causes--to the pernicious ideological influence of racism.[76] Anthony confessed to having capitulated to racism ”on the ground of expediency”, and remained chair of the National American Woman Suffrage Association through 1900. Despite knowing people like Frederick Douglass (whose incredible grasp of movement and the importance of fighting on fronts of race, class and gender simultaneously is so incredibly inspiring)and Ida B. Wells. Davis writes In the eyes of the suffragists, “woman was the ultimate test -- if the cause of woman could be furthered, it was not wrong for women to function as scabs when male workers in their trade were on strike [139-140] With Davis I would agree this was a deeply damaging viewpoint, but one that must be critiqued and should never be forgotten--like Sangar's flirtation with eugenics. What I love is how this book rescues the real heroes, the people who should also never be forgotten. The working class women that joined the priveliged group at Seneca Falls like Charlotte Woodward, who said: We women work secretly in the seclusion of our bed chambers because all society was built on the theory that men, not women, earned money and that men alone supported the family ... I do not believe that there was any community in which the souls of some women were not beating their wings in rebellion. For my own obscure self, I can say that every fibre of my being rebelled, although silently, all the hours that I sat and sewed gloves for a miserable pittance which, as it was earned, could never be mine. I wanted to work, but I wanted to choose my task and I wanted to collect my wages. That was my form of rebellion against the life into which I was born. I had never known the extent of Ida B. Wells’ work. Her first pamphlet against lynching was published in 1895. Called A Red Record, she calculated over 10,000 lynchings had taken place between 1865 and 1895, she writes: Not all nor nearly all of the murders done by white men during the past thirty years have come to light, but the statistics as gathered and preserved by white men, and which have not been questioned, show that during these years more than ten thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood, without the formality of judicial trial and legal execution. And yet, as evidence of the absolute impunity with which the white man dares to kill a Negro, the same record shows that during all these years, and for all these murders, only three white men have been tried, convicted and executed. As no white man has been lynched for the murder of coloured people, these three executions are the only instances of the death penalty being visited upon white men for murdering Negroes. [184] The way she was treated in the mainstream press is almost unthinkable today, the New York Times editorializing in 1904: Immediately following the day of Miss Wells’ return to the United States, a Negro man assaulted a white woman in New York City ‘for the purposes of lust and plunder.’ ... The circumstances of his fiendish crime may serve to convince the mulatress missionary that the promulgation in New York just now of her theory of Negro outrages is, to sya the least, inopportune.’ [192] Davis deals with some of the ways that this connects to gender construction through the characterization of black men as rapists, and to class as 'white workers who assented to lynching necessarily assumed a posture of racial solidarity with the white men who were really their oppressors. This was a critical moment in the popularization of racist ideology' [190]. These are issues that definitely needed -- and have received -- much more attention since this was published, but as a summation of all that we knew, a rescuing and restating of feminist and anti-racist and marxist histories, and a call to future scholarship, this book is brilliant.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    I have been lied to about the Suffrage movement, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton. I think it’s pretty unsettling that words written in the late 70’s/ early 80’s ring true today and I’m left to wonder if we as a society learned anything in the almost forty years when the book was written. This book is a lesson in the history in the fight to stop sexual violence and supporting reproductive rights and gender equality for women of color and the racism perpetrated at the hands of middle class I have been lied to about the Suffrage movement, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton. I think it’s pretty unsettling that words written in the late 70’s/ early 80’s ring true today and I’m left to wonder if we as a society learned anything in the almost forty years when the book was written. This book is a lesson in the history in the fight to stop sexual violence and supporting reproductive rights and gender equality for women of color and the racism perpetrated at the hands of middle class white women. If you call yourself a feminist and a fighter for women’s rights, shouldn’t that include all women regardless of race and class? It reminds me of the feminist movement today. White feminists call for attention to issues concerning woman today - rape, harassment, misogyny (#metoo #blacklivesmatter #timesup) but when their voices are truly needed, they are conspicuously absent. White women really need to read this book to truly understand intersectionality and their privilege.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5. I read this book for my Women in Politics class. This book's central focus is intersectional feminism. It highlights how gender, race, and class factor into inequality. This book started off incredibly strong, but lost its way a bit in the later chapters. However, still a fantastic and insightful book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ifeyinwa

    4.5 stars There's so much that this book explores, and it provides so much context for current events, like the current state of feminism in the U.S., and some Audre Lorde's essays in Sister Outsider, as well as essays in This Bridge Called My Back. Although this book ended abruptly, it doesn't detract from the obvious comprehensive work and research conducted by Angela Davis. I liked the structure of the book. Sometimes it made for a confusing read as it wasn't necessarily a chronology detailing 4.5 stars There's so much that this book explores, and it provides so much context for current events, like the current state of feminism in the U.S., and some Audre Lorde's essays in Sister Outsider, as well as essays in This Bridge Called My Back. Although this book ended abruptly, it doesn't detract from the obvious comprehensive work and research conducted by Angela Davis. I liked the structure of the book. Sometimes it made for a confusing read as it wasn't necessarily a chronology detailing of events, but more topical. More thoughts to come, but this was a dense and necessary read for me & one I highly recommend. I'm eager to read Patricia Collins' Black Feminist Thought and Brittney Cooper's Beyond Respectability in the near future for other perspectives on Black feminists & intellects. P.S: Shout out to @diverseclassics (on Instagram) for selecting this book. P.S.S: Another reviewer (Reggie) brought up Davis' omission of Anna Julia Cooper, which seems like a huge oversight & I can't help but wonder about this.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abeer Abdullah

    A book like absolutely no other, Absolutely no other. Never there was and never there will ever be anyone like Angela Y. Davis. My personal hero, and everything I ever want to be.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I adore this book. It is one of those books that blew apart the white middle class way I was raised, and it made me a smarter and better person. Her ideas are so powerful that they deserve to be read and reread.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zachary F.

    I think these days most people who call themselves feminists understand, at least in a vague sense, what "intersectionality" is and accept that it's important. In case you don't, here's Merriam-Webster's definition: intersectionality (n.): the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups Of course paying lip service to the I think these days most people who call themselves feminists understand, at least in a vague sense, what "intersectionality" is and accept that it's important. In case you don't, here's Merriam-Webster's definition: intersectionality (n.): the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups Of course paying lip service to the concept is one thing, while shaping one's actions and activism accordingly is another. If you browse the "feminism" section at your local bookstore or library you'll still see mostly white, cishet, middle-to-upper-class authors, addressing mostly white, cishet, middle-to-upper-class audiences and concerns. Most of the individual women held up in contemporary media as feminist icons—be they politicians, performers, or historical figures—will also meet at least a couple of these criteria, and usually all of the above. This isn't to diminish the important and difficult work that is and has been done by such women, but if the most privileged members of a supposedly-radical social movement are consistently being upheld as its most exemplary spokespeople, you can bet it's happening at the expense of those with fewer advantages. And as you might have guessed by now, this isn't a new phenomenon either. Published in 1981, eight years before Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the i-word itself, Angela Davis's Women, Race, and Class is exactly what its title suggests: a broad study of race and class as they've historically intersected with American feminist and proto-feminist movements. Starting with slavery and working gradually forward to her own time, Davis paints a vivid and detailed picture of the occasional allyship and more frequent conflict between well-to-do white woman activists on the one hand, and people of color and the working class on the other. And mostly the situation has been even worse than you might think. The women's movement in the U.S., Davis argues, can trace its origins to the anti-slavery movement. Many white women were vehement early supporters of abolition, but they were roused to advocate for their own rights, too, when they found themselves discounted and silenced on sexist grounds by the very (white) men who claimed to be on their side. Black people, in turn, offered their enthusiastic support to the burgeoning women's movement: Sojourner Truth's 1851 "Ain't I a Woman" speech and subsequent activism earned her both respect and notoriety in proto-feminist circles, while Frederick Douglass proved to be one of the early movement's most unshakable and outspoken male allies. Once slavery was abolished, however, this productive partnership began to crumble. White "progressives" such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton took offense to the idea of black men gaining the vote before white women, and resorted to blatantly racist rhetoric to justify their opposition to the 14th and 15th amendments. In the decades after the amendments were passed (and then effectively repealed) these white women continued to find reasons to disregard the plight of their would-be black allies, first claiming that to support black causes would mean losing valuable support from Southern white women, then dropping the façade completely and embracing all manner of white supremacist notions such as eugenics and myths of black people's moral inferiority. Nor was the movement's track record on issues of class much better: middle- and upper-class WASPs always played the largest and most visible role in the women's movement, and they chose their priorities accordingly. Despite occasional gestures towards working-class solidarity, when pressed the mainstream women's movement would almost always prop up capitalist interests. There's a lot more to it than that, and, though her book comes in at fewer than 300 pages, Davis makes her case comprehensively and convincing. She provides a wealth of quotes directly from the women and men she discusses, and one would be hard-pressed to deny the obvious racism and classism laid out by these figures in their own words. Here's Elizabeth Cady Stanton asking, rhetorically, "whether we had better step aside and see 'S*mbo' walk into the kingdom [i.e. receive the vote] first"; here's Susan B. Anthony admitting she'd rather drop her old friend and advocate Frederick Douglass from her convention roster than let "anything get in the way of bringing the southern white women into our suffrage association"; and here's Margaret Sanger acknowledging, in a private letter, that by promoting effective birth control in the South her real goal is "to exterminate the Negro population" (!!!). And this stuff wasn't just happening in the olden days. Well into the 1970s, prominent second-wave feminists such as Susan Brownmiller and Shulamith Firestone were perpetuating the myth of black men as insatiable rapists and even—in Brownmiller's case—strongly implying that the heinous lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till was justified. (As if such an implication weren't cruel enough already, let us remember that Till's white accuser confessed to perjury in 2017.) It's clear from these examples and many, many others that the operative part of white feminism has always been whiteness, not feminism. And yet despite this appalling and pervasive proof of discrimination, Davis herself does not come off as cynical or pessimistic. She expresses sincere belief in the power of united, egalitarian social movements to enact change within oppressive societal structures, and she never fails to give props to true allies and revolutionaries regardless of race or gender. She proposes little in the way of a longterm solution to the problems she flags up, but it's clear she believes her scholarship to be a base upon which future and better on-the-ground work can be built. And because her writing is concise and direct, unfettered by needlessly dense academese or theoretical jargon (which isn't to say she's not fluent in these dialects when necessary), her book is a whole lot more accessible than other classics of gender, race, or class theory tend to be. I sometimes found myself wishing Women, Race, and Class had been given a bit more of an overarching structure (in the first edition, at least, there's no introduction or conclusion, and the chapters read more like standalone essays arranged chronologically than like a cumulative argument built up point by point), and the final chapter, urging housewives to leave the home and join the labor force, felt like an abrupt and somewhat anticlimactic conclusion to an otherwise masterful historical overview. It's also worth mentioning that the "race" portion of Davis's analysis is confined pretty much exclusively to black/white people and relations, and, while I understand and respect Davis's choice here, it would have been interesting to see how the experiences of other women of color in America have coincided with or differed from these women's. But perhaps that’s a task better left to other books and authors. On the whole, though, Davis's book serves as the kind of would-be wake-up call that the mainstream feminist movement still hasn't quite managed to heed. Until white feminists are willing to reckon with our past and present sins and make serious moves to atone for them, feminism will never be a truly liberatory movement for most women in America and elsewhere. Reading and amplifying intersectional voices like Davis's, while not the whole solution, is at least a great way to start that process going.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Neal Adolph

    I may at some point take the time to write something better than this, but I also might not. If I do, it will do more justice to this book than what I am currently offering. If I do not, then this short little paragraph will have to do. Women, Race, and Class is a classic work. It is old, but it is not dated. It is essential reading in a way that the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates' are not (though that is not to detract from how essential his works are as well). Angela Davis is a visionary, an I may at some point take the time to write something better than this, but I also might not. If I do, it will do more justice to this book than what I am currently offering. If I do not, then this short little paragraph will have to do. Women, Race, and Class is a classic work. It is old, but it is not dated. It is essential reading in a way that the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates' are not (though that is not to detract from how essential his works are as well). Angela Davis is a visionary, an attentive academic, a marvelous historian, and an erudite, compassionate, calm writer. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to find her voice in the cacophony of voices, but I am glad to have found her at last. I look forward to reading more by her. Essential. Important. Read this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Angela Davis is a name that I often heard when we are talking about the inequality of America but I do not know much about her. However, I did knew that Angela Rye, a Political commentator was named after her dad who was an advocate of emancipation for Blacks. Now unto reviewing the book which I found very insightful and educational. "Have not "black male citizens." been heard to say they doubted the wisdom of extending the right of the suffrage to women? Why should the African prove more just Angela Davis is a name that I often heard when we are talking about the inequality of America but I do not know much about her. However, I did knew that Angela Rye, a Political commentator was named after her dad who was an advocate of emancipation for Blacks. Now unto reviewing the book which I found very insightful and educational. "Have not "black male citizens." been heard to say they doubted the wisdom of extending the right of the suffrage to women? Why should the African prove more just and generous than his Saxon compeers? If the two millions of Southern black women are not to be secured the rights of person. property, wages and children, their emancipation is but another form of slavery. In fact, it is better to be the slave of an educated white man, than of a degraded ignorant black one." I had to read this quote twice, it is so poignant and sad when you think about how slavery this effects us today. It is only subtle now but it still goes on, that is what makes it frustrating because freedom is hardly even granted to Blacks, at least not the same type of freedom that white counterparts experience. I liked how this book talked about modern day slavery and the struggles that Black women are facing today. I will consider myself a Feminist, I believe that woman should have the same rights as men. They should have equal pay, equal opportunity and they should not only be known as the nurturing kind when there are varieties of woman who have different strengths and weakness. Women should not be known by their physical appearance or their emotions but by their willingness to speak up against the injustice in society. This was a pleasant read, I plan to read more books by Davis, she is an extraordinary woman with great talent.

  14. 4 out of 5

    J.P.

    I loved this book! I learned a lot from this book that I think I would not have learned otherwise. She details the roles of Black women in the black community from slavery up through the modern era. The role of black women as equals to their men in regards to work during the time of slavery which is contrasted with the role of free white women in society at the time. Details of how class & race lines affected black women are detailed as well, the things they endured & what they would do I loved this book! I learned a lot from this book that I think I would not have learned otherwise. She details the roles of Black women in the black community from slavery up through the modern era. The role of black women as equals to their men in regards to work during the time of slavery which is contrasted with the role of free white women in society at the time. Details of how class & race lines affected black women are detailed as well, the things they endured & what they would do simply to survive. The history of their roles in uprisings & various efforts to educate & free black people are given time as well. The effects of emancipation on how their roles changed & what the Women's Suffrage & Feminist Movements meant for black people in general & black women specifically are demonstrated as well. She also gets into the consequences of those movements changing attitudes towards black people &, again, black women specifically affected how they were treated throughout society. There also examples of various allies to the advancement of black women that have various backgrounds, some foreign, some black men & some white women as well. Angela also goes into how certain aspects of racism, classism & sexism connect with & damage the perception of black women & black men. There is also attention paid to how the struggles & changes of society affect black women, their roles & choices. It's a great book that allows for a more robust & accurate big picture of history in general & the importance of that cannot be stressed enough.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I remember borrowing this book from the public library on Fordham Road when I was 15....it was the first book I ever took out and I never returned it. I poured over its pages. This turned me on to feminist research and critical theory in a way I can't full express. At 15 I knew the life of the mind was for me....which is crazy... I've since donated a new copy....but I didn't explain to the librarians the circumstances of my donation.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara-Jayne

    As timeless today as it was in 1983, Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis is a necessary read for any person interested in social and racial justice. If you haven't read this book yet.....do it now. It will challenge you, it will infuriate you, and it will make you a better intersectional feminist.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nikita T. Mitchell

    A few months ago I started on a quest to educate myself about feminism, especially as it relates to black women. As a result, my GoodReads queue has become filled with books on beauty, books written by authors like Alice Walker and even couple books on hip-hop feminism. I've recently been introduced to authors like Bell Hooks, and I'm constantly learning of others to add to my list. As with my general fascination with learning, the more I read the more I realize I don't know and want to find A few months ago I started on a quest to educate myself about feminism, especially as it relates to black women. As a result, my GoodReads queue has become filled with books on beauty, books written by authors like Alice Walker and even couple books on hip-hop feminism. I've recently been introduced to authors like Bell Hooks, and I'm constantly learning of others to add to my list. As with my general fascination with learning, the more I read the more I realize I don't know and want to find out. [Insert fascination with Angela Davis' books.:] Need I say more about why I chose to start with this particular one? Written in 1983, Women, Race & Class takes a serious look at the intersection of feminism and racism in America. In this collection of writings, Angela Davis touches on a range of topics that point to the struggles of the Black woman fighting to fight for equality in a movement that fails to include her. It starts with a telling and often gruesome discussion on the female slave, detailing the laborious expectations on the field coupled with her complex role in the home (slave quarters). She even goes into the brutal punishments regularly inflicted - from the abuse experienced by pregnant women to the brutal rapes at the hands of white men. This, for me, was the hardest part of the book to read because of the raw brutality illustrated. The subsequent essays delve into the history of the women’s movement and the influence of African-Americans, most notably the likes of Fredrick Douglas, Sojourner Truth and Ida B. Wells. As the book progresses Davis articulates the various issues that were used to ostracize black women from the overall women’s rights movement since the late nineteenth century. Whether it was excluding black women to gain support from the South for women’s suffrage or ignoring issues of forced sterilizations when it came to reproductive rights, there has always been an unfortunate division in the movement that ultimately and consistently left the needs of Black women unaddressed. With Women, Race & Class, Davis brings these issues – and more – to light with the message of unity for the benefit of everyone in the fight for equality. It's definitely a must read, especially for young black women like myself. Favorite Quotes: "Evidence of the accumulated strengths Black women have forged through work, work and more work can be discovered in the contributions of the many outstanding female leaders who have emerged within the Black community. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells and Rosa Parks are not exceptional Black women as much as they are epitomes of Black womanhood." (231) "...if wives and husbands alternatively gave birth to their children, '...no family would ever have more than three, the husband bearing one and the wife two.'" (207) Re: Lucy Parsons: "That woman is more feared than a thousand rioters." (153)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    A must read, especially for white feminists. It's incredibly comprehensive and her writing is engaging and accessible. It's also frustratingly timely, as so many of the issues brought up within the book are still issues our social justice movements face today.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Why people should read Angela Davis... What intersectionality is: recognizing the ways in which power is expressed through various dimensions, realizing how even avowed feminists can be racist, how antiracists can be homophobes, how gay rights activists can be classist, and so on and so forth, and how any attempt to split us into tribes ultimately serves power structures, when really we should all be fighting what they called The Man back in Angela Davis' heyday. What intersectionality isn't: Why people should read Angela Davis... What intersectionality is: recognizing the ways in which power is expressed through various dimensions, realizing how even avowed feminists can be racist, how antiracists can be homophobes, how gay rights activists can be classist, and so on and so forth, and how any attempt to split us into tribes ultimately serves power structures, when really we should all be fighting what they called The Man back in Angela Davis' heyday. What intersectionality isn't: Buzzfeed articles, Twitter shaming, boardroom wokeness. To me, this is common sense, and these are ideas that I first heard presented in a systematic way by bell hooks many years ago, although this is ground that Angela Davis had trod before. Since I was already on board, I'm not sure how useful for me this was -- although the examples given are illustrative -- but it's the sort of thing I would widely recommend.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mykie

    Why I read this book: Angela Davis is a pioneer in terms of black liberation and gender equality. I have always admired and appreciated her writing and her being. Content: 1/1 It’s important for readers to understand that this is not just a book about women, race and class. It is actually a study (and the contents reflect this) that digs into the racism that continues to take place in movements associated with women, race and class. It’s a very valid, legitimate and important study. I would have Why I read this book: Angela Davis is a pioneer in terms of black liberation and gender equality. I have always admired and appreciated her writing and her being. Content: 1/1 It’s important for readers to understand that this is not just a book about women, race and class. It is actually a study (and the contents reflect this) that digs into the racism that continues to take place in movements associated with women, race and class. It’s a very valid, legitimate and important study. I would have appreciated a subtitle indicating that it was a study because I quickly assumed that it was just a script on the subjects of women, race and class rather than a study of racism as it related to women, race and class. Delivery: 1/1 Angela Davis is a very intelligent woman and her writing demonstrates her intelligence, passion and expertise. She is honest and frank and has a beautiful way of getting her points across. Relevance: 1/1 The study is still relevant today as race issues are still present and as gender bias and discrimination are ever-so-present. It is important for me to know my history in order to know where I am going. The details of this book were profound, revealing and relevant. Impact: 1/1 I learned a lot in such a short read and I appreciated the opportunity to do so. What I liked most about this book is that I learned things I didn’t know about several abolitionists. The history taught in schools is not the full picture and I am glad Angela Davis decided to perform this study. It was well-referenced and thorough My rating distribution for book reviews in general: Content: 0-1 star Delivery: 0-1 star Relevance: 0-1 star Impact: 0-1 star Bonus (if warranted by additional components of the book that enhanced my experience with the read): 0-1 star

  21. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte (charandbooks)

    "More than any other women in the campaign against slavery, [...] they argued that women could never achieve their freedom independently of Black people." However "a major weakness in the abolitionist campaign - its failure to promote a broad anti-racist consciousness - [...] was unfortunately carried over into the organized movement for women's rights." "That her race and her economic condition were different from theirs did not annul her womanhood. And as a Black woman, her claim to equal "More than any other women in the campaign against slavery, [...] they argued that women could never achieve their freedom independently of Black people." However "a major weakness in the abolitionist campaign - its failure to promote a broad anti-racist consciousness - [...] was unfortunately carried over into the organized movement for women's rights." "That her race and her economic condition were different from theirs did not annul her womanhood. And as a Black woman, her claim to equal rights was no less legitimate than that of white middle-class women." Such a throrough investigation of the women's movement and its intersetions with racism and classism throughout US history. I learned a lot reading this book (influence of the Republican and Democratic party in granting voting rights to ensure political hegemony, federal government funded involuntary sterilizations until at least the 1970s, how capitalism feeds off of sexism/racism/classism), underlining sections on each page. It is difficult to review since it almost read like a sociology textbook but the content makes it worthwhile! Go read it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tacita

    Angela Davis is pretty awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, and it’s basically a historical examination of the intersection of struggles against sexism, racism, and classism. Or, more accurately, against slavery and lynching, against capitalism, and for woman suffrage and reproductive freedom. I think it’s interesting how Davis, at this point in time at least, certainly saw socialism (rooted in anti-racism and anti-sexism) as the answer to capitalist oppression. I really Angela Davis is pretty awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, and it’s basically a historical examination of the intersection of struggles against sexism, racism, and classism. Or, more accurately, against slavery and lynching, against capitalism, and for woman suffrage and reproductive freedom. I think it’s interesting how Davis, at this point in time at least, certainly saw socialism (rooted in anti-racism and anti-sexism) as the answer to capitalist oppression. I really liked how she kept all three together in focus throughout the book and could critically engage the work of activists for one cause in light of the others – like how Frederick Douglass’s campaigning against slavery included a keen analysis of the unique situation of black women, but Susan B Anthony’s campaigning for woman suffrage violently ignored all non-white middle class women, despite her personal relationships with Douglass and Ida B Wells.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Of particular interest in this modern American classic is the political divide-and-conquer tactics of the US Democrat and Republican parties. As the 2 parties to the same elites, they benefited from division between the abolition movement and the women's suffrage movement, illustrating the "Intersectionality" of Women, Race, and Class. Ch.10 and Ch.13 also stand out; for the latter chapter's topic, Silvia Federici's writings on unpaid labor and Wages for Housework was what shook me to realize Of particular interest in this modern American classic is the political divide-and-conquer tactics of the US Democrat and Republican parties. As the 2 parties to the same elites, they benefited from division between the abolition movement and the women's suffrage movement, illustrating the "Intersectionality" of Women, Race, and Class. Ch.10 and Ch.13 also stand out; for the latter chapter's topic, Silvia Federici's writings on unpaid labor and Wages for Housework was what shook me to realize the magnitude of this topic. Nancy Folbre is another writer to explore here.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Miri

    I can't believe how readable this book is, considering how dense it also is in historical detail. The research that went into it must be astounding, but it flows in most places like a conversation with a (really well-informed) friend. Along with many subjects I am familiar with, I was absolutely fascinated by all the socialist ideas I've never heard before. I have paaaaaages of notes that I'll have to add later.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Besides a few small points I'd take issue with - many of which were discussed further in depth after this book was published - it's a brilliant work.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amélie

    Troublant de lire aujourd'hui ce que Davis a écrit en 1983: Some of the most flagrant symptoms of social deterioration are acknowledged as serious problems only when they have assumed such epidemic proportions that they appear to defy solution. Rape is a case in point. In the United States today, it is one of the fastest-growing violent crimes. After ages of silence, suffering and misplaced guilt, sexual assault is explosively emerging as one of the telling dysfunctions of present-day capitalist Troublant de lire aujourd'hui ce que Davis a écrit en 1983: Some of the most flagrant symptoms of social deterioration are acknowledged as serious problems only when they have assumed such epidemic proportions that they appear to defy solution. Rape is a case in point. In the United States today, it is one of the fastest-growing violent crimes. After ages of silence, suffering and misplaced guilt, sexual assault is explosively emerging as one of the telling dysfunctions of present-day capitalist society. The rising public concern about rape in the United States has inspired countless numbers of women to divulge their past encounters with actual or would-be assailants. As a result, an awesome fact has come to light: appallingly few women can claim that they have not been victims, at one time in their lives, of either attempted or accomplished sexual attacks. (p. 172) Dans ce passage comme dans d'autres, Women, Race, and Class constitue une démonstration habile (& pas peu déprimante) de la nécessité pour les luttes sociales d'être constamment reprises, & réexaminées, & réenlignées. Davis explore, implacable, la façon dont les femmes noires ont été écartées ou diminuées par des mouvements qui ont très bonne presse aujourd'hui (dans certains cercles, mettons) -- les suffragettes, l'accès à la contraception, le droit à l'avortement. Aussi éclairant que frustrant.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebekka Steg

    Although first published in 1982, almost 30 years ago (the edition I read was published in 2002, but as far as I understand it is just a reprint, and no changes have been made), the book sadly remains just as relevant and important today. I say sadly, because Women, Race & Class shows how deeply rooted sexism and racism is in our current society, and the book might as easily have been written today, because the issues we face are pretty much identical. In this book Davis eloquently shows how Although first published in 1982, almost 30 years ago (the edition I read was published in 2002, but as far as I understand it is just a reprint, and no changes have been made), the book sadly remains just as relevant and important today. I say sadly, because Women, Race & Class shows how deeply rooted sexism and racism is in our current society, and the book might as easily have been written today, because the issues we face are pretty much identical. In this book Davis eloquently shows how often the white feminist movement has ignored the real needs and issues of the black women, believing and acting as if class and race made no difference to the issues they faced. She shows that although at the very beginning the abolitionist movement and the women's rights movement had strong ties and relations, they rather quickly fell apart, and that many white women speaking for women's rights, would speak against the rights of African Americans, including the women. The feminist movement has had a tendency to ignore the important of class and race, but these are real and important issues and they need to be addressed. We cannot close our eyes and believe that the same issues and situations face all women equally, and Women, Race & Class is incredibly eye-opening and thought-provoking, I greatly recommend it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    This is one of the best histories of the feminist movement I've ever read. Most such histories have limited their scope to a particular issue (e.g., reproductive rights, suffrage, housework) and to a particular constituency (women of a particular race or class), but Davis masterfully brings together issues of reproductive rights (not just abortion but also forced sterilization), suffrage (for women and for black people), housework, equal pay for equal work, lynching, rape, and even more, all This is one of the best histories of the feminist movement I've ever read. Most such histories have limited their scope to a particular issue (e.g., reproductive rights, suffrage, housework) and to a particular constituency (women of a particular race or class), but Davis masterfully brings together issues of reproductive rights (not just abortion but also forced sterilization), suffrage (for women and for black people), housework, equal pay for equal work, lynching, rape, and even more, all while simultaneously maintaining a breadth of scope that includes women across race and class lines and a depth of focus anchored in detailed research that takes the reader far beyond sweeping statements about a period or a group and into individual lives and relationships in the context of a larger history. I know of nothing before Davis's book that has this level of detailed research, emotional weight, breadth of scope, and depth of focus. I can only hope to find another book that is comparable as I continue to study feminist theory.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathrina

    Masterful overview of America's women's movement from pre-Civil War to the end of the 1970's, especially concerning the experiences and oppressions of Black women and girls. You likely didn't learn this stuff in school. My only gripe is that Davis assumes we understand her vision of socialism and references her view without much explication. Perhaps this was easier for her contemporary readers, but readers in 2016 could benefit from some additional context. Angela Davis will be speaking on the Masterful overview of America's women's movement from pre-Civil War to the end of the 1970's, especially concerning the experiences and oppressions of Black women and girls. You likely didn't learn this stuff in school. My only gripe is that Davis assumes we understand her vision of socialism and references her view without much explication. Perhaps this was easier for her contemporary readers, but readers in 2016 could benefit from some additional context. Angela Davis will be speaking on the University of Iowa campus on March 8, 2016.

  30. 4 out of 5

    cubierocks

    Fantastic. Required Reading for all.

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