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The African American Woman’ Identity Essay (Critical Writing)


Brown (1995) states that gender, culture, and diversity area goals tend to develop a good and sophisticated understanding of race and racism as unique concepts that are dynamic. This helps to clearly point out how race intersects with other group identifications such as sexual orientation, religion, age, ethnicity, class, gender, or disability as is further stated by Berberoglu (1994).

Gender, culture and diversity in another perspective are intended to teach people a lot of things they don’t understand such as: Teach people how to recognize the different ways in which race intersects with other group identifications, that is, gender, class, ethnicity, age, disability, religion and sexual orientation; Teaching people on how to understand the various kinds of relationships among diversity, justice, and power. Bringing a wider meaning to people and different institutions on how to live and cope in a multi-racial and multicultural world. Investigating the types or forms of race and racism and the way they exist in different places and times as well as teaching individuals on how to relate personal experiences with matters concerning race and racism.

According to Marx (1978) the different ideas brought about by different courses help us learn about the experience of African Americans through the legal system that has been set up in the United States, which initially considered African Americans as less than human but with time it was declared as illegal discrimination in the US. These remains as an expression or call for change at the intersection of race and equality and also reflects important current events thus exploring responses to the various encounters that always arise in our society.

This paper will discuss many issues in a broad social and personal response such as race that have been used as a factor in institutions, during dating, marriage, and adoption. It will analyze debates about race and social justice as well as the best practice and research in racism, inequality, and social injustice in various cases, which include politics. The paper will bring out the meaning of interlocking nature of oppression in relation to African American identity and how racial identity intersect with other aspects of identity such as gender and sexuality.

The identity woman is represented differently for people of different race mostly the African American woman. This paper will give a detailed outline on the African American woman according to Patricia Hill Collins.

The Identity Woman

Interlocking nature of oppression is structured via a system of interlocking race, class, and gender oppression thus drawing much focus on how the systems interconnect (Mann & Huffman 2005). The various intersections of social inequality are described as the matrix of domination meaning that many differences among people such as sexual orientation, class, age and race serve as oppressive measures towards many, in this context, the African Americans thus a positive impact on their individual life(Eisenberg & Jeff 2005).

Patricia Hill Collins mostly touches on the empowerment, self-definition, and knowledge of the African American woman. She challenges us with a significant view of oppression and identity politics that have the potential to introduce a great change in African Americans and this change needs to be continuous. Collins emphasizes on black feminist epistemology with the aim of placing the experiences of African Americans, mostly women, in the centre of analysis without a single privilege to those experiences (Collins 2000).

Without the interlocking nature of oppression, we can learn so many things from the African Americans. Collins stipulates that African Americans are unique in their own way as they bridge the gap between two powerful systems of oppression that are race and gender. For interlocking oppression in terms of gender and race among African Americans to seize, it is important to understand clearly the social position that African Americans desire for us to see. This social reform compelled by African Americans has been hindered greatly by the constant emphasis on social and scientific knowledge (Siltanen & Doucet 2008).

Racial identity tends to intersect with the other aspects of identity such as gender, age, and sexuality, which is referred to as intersectionality (is a broad method of learning diverse kinds of relationships) (Ritzer 2007). It describes how systems such as gender, race, class, and disability or other systems of identity interact on various levels to enhance social inequality. Gorelick (1996) argues that cultural distinctiveness interconnects with other aspects in the general public but do not act autonomously of one another when forms of tyranny (such as bigotry and homophobia) are implicated unless these forms of repression correlate with each other. The artistic patterns of repression are bound jointly strongly by the intersectional system of the social order and the close interconnection (Di Stefano 1991; Merriam-Webster 2002).

Different races have their own principles on how they intersect with gender and sexuality (Bureau of labour statistics 2005). For example, Cante (2009) describes that the kind of intersectionality among black women is more powerful than the sum of their race and sex and black women issues cannot be properly addressed if intersectionality is not accurately addressed. It is argued that thoughts of colour, gender, among others can be perplexing and not well implicit unless the many sways of racialization are cautiously considered and revised. This will eventually help in gaining both political and social equality thus improving our systems.

All the forms of oppression imply a lot to the oppressed individual and have a great impact (Belkhir 1994). Therefore, it is important to resist the oppression by participating in certain methods such as self-evaluation and self-definition thus helping to preserve the self-esteem of the oppressed. The oppressed has to self-evaluate and self-define themselves in order to avoid any kind of dehumanizing influences and eventually the oppressed will gain courage to overcome most of this societal methods of domination as stated by Collins (1986).

The identity woman is represented differently for people of different races, for example, Patricia Hill Collins talks about black feminist’s knowledge and argues that the constant issues of gender and race influence the black woman’s knowledge. She helps us understand how different forms of inequality work together and continues to argue that the way we think may change the way we behave and the way we behave may change the way we think. Thus due to these, many Americans (black) contemplations have surfaced within the milieu of black community enlargement to conquer racial isolation among them (Mann & Kelley 1997). Black feminist thought has enriched due to the efforts by African American women to adhere to the thoughts that black women must be substantiated by proper sense of their own experiences.

Black women who are feminists tend to be very critical on the way the culture of the blacks and their traditions oppress black women (Collins 1998). They work hard towards overcoming race and gender oppression so as to enhance the tension that exists for black women as agents of knowledge. Black feminists are on the rise with most African American women scholars striving hard to ground their work in black women’s experiences thus making creative use of their status and producing innovative feminist thoughts (Connolly 2002).

Identity politics is also an important aspect of identity as it signifies a wide range of activities that arise from political experiences of injustices of individuals who belong to certain social groups (Deveax 2000). Their main aim is to secure the political freedom of a certain area that is marginalized within its larger context characterized by dominant oppressions. The main reason why identity politics is significant is the fact that there is strong demand for recognition on the basis of the same grounds where there was denial for recognition of women, blacks, and lesbians. These demands generally include pleads to a time before repression, or a certain way of life or style of living that was smashed by either colonialism or mass killings (De La Torre 2009).


In conclusion, gender, culture and identity all interrelate in one way or another. As discussed above the oppressed individuals are fighting hard to overcome the interlocking nature of oppression and in relation to African American identity, most African Americans are putting efforts to regain their lost freedom and release themselves from age, gender, disability, sexuality and political oppressions (Brown 1995).

Reference List

Belkhir, J., 1994. The ‘Failure’ and Revival of Marxism on Race, Gender & Class Issues. Race, Sex & Class. 2 1, 79-107.

Berberoglu, B., 1994. Class, Race & Gender: The Triangle of Oppression. Race, Sex & Class, 2, 1, 69-77.

Brown, W., 1995. States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity. New Jersey, Princeton University Press.

Bureau of labour statistics. 2005. [Online]. Web.

Cante, R.C., 2009. Gay Men And The Forms Of Contemporary US Culture. London, Ashgate Publishing.

Collins, P.H., 2000 Gender, Black Feminism, and Black Political Economy. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 568. 41–53.

Collins, P.H., 1998. The Tie That Binds: Race, Gender, And US Violence. Ethnic And Racial Studies, 21 (5).

Collins, P.H., 1986. Learning from the Outsider within: The Sociological Significance of Black feminist thought (2nd edition).New York, Routledge.

Connolly, W., 2002. IdentityDifference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press

De La Torre, M. A., 2009. Out Of The Shadows, Into The Light: Christianity And Homosexuality. St. Louis, Missouri, Chalice Press.

Deveax, M., 2000. Cultural Pluralism and Dilemmas of Justice. Ithaca, Cornell University Press.

Di Stefano, C., 1991. Configurations of Masculinity: A Feminist Perspective on Modern Political Theory. Ithaca, Cornell University Press.

Eisenberg, A., & Jeff, S., 2005. Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights, and Diversity. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Gorelick, S., 1996. Contradictions of feminist methodology, in Esther Ngan-Ling Chow, D. Wilkinson and M. Baca Zinn, eds., Race, Class & Gender. Common bonds, Different Voices. Thousand Oaks/London/Dehli, Sage Publications.

Mann, S.A & Huffman, D.J., 2005. The Decentering of Second Wave Feminism and the Rise of the Third Wave. Science and Society, 69 (1). 56–91.

Mann, S.A. & Kelley, L.R., 1997. Standing at the Crossroads of Modernist Thought: Collins, Smith, and the New Feminist Epistemologies. Gender and Society, 11(4). 391–408

Merriam-webster (Ed)., 2002. Websters Collegiate Encyclopedia, Unabridged [Online]. Web.

Marx, k. 1978. A Contribution To The Critique Of Political Enemy. In R.C. Tucker (ed.). New York, W. W. Norton.

Ritzer, G., 2007. Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics. Boston, McGraw-Hill.

Siltanen, J. & Doucet, A., 2008.Gender Relations in Canada: Intersectionality and Beyond. Toronto: Oxford University Pressack Feminist Thought. Social Problems, 33 (6). S14–S32.

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IvyPanda. "The African American Woman' Identity." July 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-african-american-woman-identity/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "The African American Woman' Identity." July 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-african-american-woman-identity/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The African American Woman' Identity'. 12 July.

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