Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation

Synopsis

Black women in marginalized communities are uniquely at risk of battering, rape, sexual harassment, stalking and incest. Through the compelling stories of Black women who have been most affected by racism, persistent poverty, class inequality, limited access to support resources or institutions, Beth E. Richie shows that the threat of violence to Black women has never been more serious, demonstrating how conservative legal, social, political and economic policies have impacted activism in the US-based movement to end violence against women. Richie argues that Black women face particular peril because of the ways that race and culture have not figured centrally enough in the analysis of the causes and consequences of gender violence. As a result, the extent of physical, sexual and other forms of violence in the lives of Black women, the various forms it takes, and the contexts within which it occurs are minimized - at best - and frequently ignored.Arrested Justice brings issues of sexuality, class, age, and criminalization into focus right alongside of questions of public policy and gender violence, resulting in a compelling critique, a passionate re-framing of stories, and a call to action for change.

Excerpt

The year 2010 marked several important anniversaries in my work as a Black feminist scholar and anti-violence activist. More than 25 years earlier, I was one of a group of women of color living in New York City who organized one of the country’s first community-based anti-violence programs for women of color. We were working in Harlem, a predominantly Black and Latino community in New York whose renowned history of cultural and political activism led us—perhaps naively—to expect that our community would be open to our feminist analysis of, and responses to, gender-specific problems concerning the community’s health and well-being. We were surprised to find ourselves struggling with the community leadership who, at the time, resisted our attempts to intervene in what we considered problematic politics around issues of gender and sexuality.

That same year, I attended a conference sponsored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There, I learned about the dynamic radical feminist activists who were building a grassroots movement in response to the problem of violence against women. Their analysis of gender inequality was powerful; it resonated deeply with the political work that we were doing in Harlem, except that their emerging feminist analysis did not adequately incorporate an understanding of race and class inequality. I was reassured that there was a Woman of Color Institute at the conference where a more inter-

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