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Religion, Theology and Self-Improvement Sundays: Women, Religion, Theology and Society Part 15


We have raised the dynamic relationship - real and potential - between theology and the world's major religions and women's liberation movements and feminists. A community where that relationship is particularly important is the Black community in America. And for years there has existed tension between the Black liberation movement (in both its religious and political communities) and the predominately White-led feminist and women's liberation movement(s) and organizations, in America.

Today we look at the words of Mary Daly, who has some very strong opinion(s) about the interaction of the two groups.

She writes in her book Beyond God The Father:

"The fact that giving priority to racial identification does not serve women's best interests is illustrated by eruptions of conflict between the black liberation movement and the women's movement. Black women are urged to stand behind and take orders from their men and are called disloyal if they give priority to the cause of their sisters. This contemporary phenomenon in American life is one more manifestation of the deep connection between sexism and racism.

In the South, Negro women are sexually exploited by white men. Black men have often raped white women in revenge for their own degradation. Yet it was not women who brought slaves to America. Women have been pawns in the racial struggle, which is basically not the struggle that will set them free as women. If, as a result of black liberation, the prize achieved by black women is the same status as that of their white sisters, they will have an empty victory.

Moreover, there is some question as to whether even this "same status" is attainable. The race problem is inextricably connected with sex. It is most unlikely that racism will be eradicated as long as sexism prevails. Outstanding black women scholars like Pauli Murray and Angela Davis have pointed to the conflict situation in which black women have been placed. Davis has shown that the myth of the black "matriarch" is an ideological weapon designed to impair the capacity of blacks for resistance by foisting upon them the ideal of male supremacy.

It was the weapon of the infamous "Moynihan report", a cruel fabrication that inhibits blacks from seeing the real roots of racism. Pauli Murray suggests that by asserting a leadership role in the growing feminist movement, the black woman can keep it allied to the objectives of black liberation while simultaneously advancing the interests of all women."

What do you think about the above from Mary Daly?


Cedric Muhammad

Sunday, February 11, 2001

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