Emerging Human Rights: The African Political Economy Context

By Mark O. C. Anikpo; George W. Shepherd Jr. | Go to book overview

10
Some Impressions of the Ghanaian Version of Black Feminism

Stanlie James

A recent phenomenon in the United States is the nascent evolution of a new perspective called Black Feminism, which seeks to analyze the nature of the oppression experienced by black women and to find ways to overcome this oppression. Oppression, which Stephanie Urdang defines as dominance and exploitation, refers to a "lack of control over one's own destiny and lack of possibility to fulfill one's potential. The key to oppression is the victim's cooperation in its perpetuation."1

Black Feminism argues that women have experienced oppression in their roles as workers by classism, as blacks by racism, and as women by patriarchy. Each of these systems of dominance and exploitation is so intertwined with the others that they have developed and are nurtured by the sustenance they provide to each other. Together, they have combined to have a devastating impact on the lives of black women. Pauli Murray, in comparing the lives of black and white American women, has stated that the black woman "remains single more often, bears more children, is in the labor market longer and in greater proportion, has less education, earns less, is widowed earlier and carries a relatively heavier economic responsibility as family head than her white counterpart."2

Sexism, racism, and classism can be viewed as a multidimensional phenomenon linked by a common modality of operation--the objec-

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