By Natalie Thomlinson
This publication is the 1st archive-based account of the charged debates round race within the women's flow in England through the 'second wave' interval. analyzing either the white and the Black women's circulate via a resource base that incorporates unique oral histories and broad study utilizing feminist periodicals, this booklet seeks to unpack the historic roots of long-running tensions among Black and white feminists. It provides a huge evaluation of the activism that either Black and white girls have been curious about, and examines the Black feminist critique of white feminists as racist, how white feminists reacted to this critique, and asks why the women's move used to be so not able to have interaction with the troubles of Black ladies. via doing so, the publication speaks to many brand new issues in the women's move in regards to the politics of race, and certainly where of id politics in the left extra broadly.
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Additional resources for Race, Ethnicity and the Women’s Movement in England, 1968–1993
Finally, another four women – Emma Hipkin*, Mandy Vere, Julie Callaghan and Valerie Hall* – were of white English descent. In order to supplement these histories and to ensure I was drawing from a more representative sample of women, I also drew extensively from three recently undertaken oral history projects. Two of these were oral history projects that have recently taken place in London that focus on the Black women’s movement of this era. 81 The third was the Sisterhood and After project, an oral history project consisting of 60 life interviews with prominent feminists undertaken jointly by the University of Sussex and the British Library between 2010 and 2013.
The contention of this chapter is that the WLM during these years was overwhelmingly ‘white’ not only in its personnel, but also in its praxis. 2 Precisely why the WLM was so white, however, is the question that this chapter seeks to answer. I argue that the reasons for this lie in the exclusivity of the activist networks that constituted the WLM (an exclusivity that functioned in terms of class and age as well as race), which in turn inﬂuenced the creation of feminist theory. As was well established in the critiques of the 1980s, white, middle-class women were implicitly the subject of much of this theory, despite its aspirations to universality.
During the late 1980s and into the 1990s, it thus became increasingly contested by Asian activists in Britain. The term ‘white’ also imposes homogeneity on the very different experiences of women from all over Europe. 41 In a well-known Feminist Review article from 1984, Nira Yuval Davis and Floya Anthias also questioned whether it was possible to place some immigrant women, such as Cypriot Greeks, on a purely ‘Black’/white binary, given the complexities of their experiences. 42 Although the seeming equivalence that Yuval Davis and Anthias seemed to place on the experience of Black and white immigrant women was controversial, they foreshadowed a more nuanced approach to ethnic identity which had clearly gained ascendancy by the 1990s.