400 wordsAngela Davis ends Chapter 3 of Women, Race, and Cl…

400 words Angela Davis ends Chapter 3 of Women, Race, and Class with the idea that the women’s movement, while involved in abolitionism, failed to address “racist consciousness.” What does this mean? What is “consciousness raising” and what is its purpose according to one of the authors from TBCMB (Moraga, Anzaldúa, Rushin)



The Failure to Address Racist Consciousness in the Women’s Movement: An Analysis of Angela Davis’ Perspective

In the pivotal book “Women, Race, and Class,” Angela Davis argues that the women’s movement failed to effectively address “racist consciousness” in its pursuits. This concept refers to the lack of attention given to the deeply ingrained racism that plagues society and influences individuals’ thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

To comprehend this notion, it is crucial to understand the concept of consciousness raising. In the context of social movements, consciousness raising is a process that aims to heighten awareness and understanding of the various forms of oppression, particularly those related to race, class, and gender. The objective is to facilitate personal and collective transformation by challenging individuals’ preconceived notions and biases.

According to TBCMB (This Bridge Called My Back), one of the influential works in feminist theory and activism, consciousness raising serves multiple purposes. These purposes include:

1. Identification and challenge of oppressive systems: Consciousness raising helps individuals recognize the societal structures that perpetuate oppression, enabling them to challenge and transform these systems effectively.

2. Empowerment and solidarity-building: By sharing personal experiences and stories, individuals form connections and support networks, fostering a sense of empowerment and solidarity.

3. Subversion of dominant narratives: Consciousness raising dismantles dominant narratives by highlighting marginalized voices and experiences, thus challenging the established power dynamics.

Among the authors associated with TBCMB, Cherríe Moraga, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Toni Cade Bambara Rushin have all contributed significantly to the feminist discourse on consciousness raising. Moraga’s work emphasizes the importance of storytelling and self-reflection in the process of consciousness raising. Anzaldúa explores the intersections of race, class, and gender, arguing that consciousness raising is essential for individuals to reclaim their identities and challenge oppressive systems. Bambara Rushin focuses on the role of literature and art as tools for consciousness raising.

In conclusion, Angela Davis posits that the women’s movement in the past failed to address the issue of racist consciousness, thereby limiting its effectiveness in challenging the systemic racism entrenched in society. Consciousness raising, as advocated by authors associated with TBCMB, plays a pivotal role in addressing oppressive systems by fostering awareness, empowerment, and the subversion of dominant narratives. It is through the active promotion of consciousness raising that social movements can truly achieve transformative and lasting change.

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