Race, Class, and Culture Matter
THE POWERFUL ROLE MODELS provided by older Black women were significant not only to young Black women but also to young White women. Women felt empowered by their participation in the movement. Although much has been written about gendered relationships in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, most of it has been about the relationships between White women and Black men, 1 a focus which is nonrepresentative of the majority of gendered relations between men and women activists. The analyses of these relationships has tended to focus on Black men's sexism, Black men's lust for White women, and Black women's racism toward White women.
McAdam and Rothschild, in particular, and Evans, to a lesser extent, have focused attention on the sexual relationships of Black men and White women. They contend that White women were sexually exploited in SNCC. This, along with women's relegation to household and clerical labor, supports their thesis of sexism within SNCC. They do not, however, sufficiently consider the gender relationships of Black women and Black men in the movement except within the context of Black male and White female relationships. None of the authors in question considered the relationships between Black men and Black women as important to their gendered analyses. Thus, they are left with only a partial analysis of the gender relations as they relate to sexism in SNCC.
Likewise, Evans and McAdam and Rothschild have taken up the thesis that