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Class-race-gender: sloganeering in search of meaning.

What DOES IT MEAN TO DO A "CLASS-RACE-GENDER" ANALYSIS? IN THE PAST DECADE, such an approach has had an impact, albeit uneven, on the curriculum in higher education. It has also affected theories and research in the humanities and law, and to a lesser degree in the social sciences and criminology.

In this essay, I sketch a history of the class-race-gender construct.(1) Where did it come from? Then, I give examples of class-race-gender in action: I want you to hear how authors embody and express it. Finally, I consider its potential for social science and criminology.(2)

My first step is to define terms. What is class-race-gender? I do not think it is possible to have one definition because those who use class-race-gender relate to it in different ways. For example, women of color -- whose experiences, ideas, and activism generated the idea -- have a different relationship to it than, say, white women, white men, or men of color.(3)

I would define class-race-gender as reflecting three related social spheres: (1) social structural relations of class, race, and gender; (2) social movements to change these relations; and (3) the knowledge or ideas produced from a consciousness, activism, and analysis of these relations. Class-race-gender offers a way not only to theorize about social structure, but also to link social-movement politics and struggles with a changed consciousness and analysis of structure and process. A key element to class-race-gender is that social relations are viewed in multiple and interactive terms -- not as additive (Spelman, 1982, 1989; King, 1988). This element has enormous implications for research in social science and criminology, where analyses of inequality often consider the "separate" or "unique effects" of class, race, or gender.


I would nominate two sources for the class-race-gender construct.(4) Included in the first -- that which inspired it -- were the experiences of black women(5) in movement activities in the 1960s. From their experiences came an analysis of racism, classism, and sexism in the larger society; of sexism in the civil rights and black nationalist movements; and of racism in a predominantly white women's feminist movement. The first wave of publications appeared in 1970; they focused on black women's experiences in movement politics and on relationships with white women. Soon after, toward the mid-to-late 1970s, analyses became even more self-consciously focused on the development of black feminist thought.

Comprising the second source--that which consolidated and popularized it --were curriculum-integration projects in higher education, virtually all of which were organized by women's studies faculty members. These projects were formed to redress the lack of materials on women or gender relations in the disciplines (see Sherman and Beck, 1979; Spender, 1981; Lauter, 1983). It soon became apparent that women were not a unified group and that gender relations could not be explained in universal terms. In the early 1980s, and at tiems reflecting partnerships in women's studies and racial-ethnic studies, faculty-run curriculum integration projects emerged. There was money to support these efforts and several important centers producing materials, such as the Center for Research on Women at Memphis State University. By 1985, at least 80 projects had been launched to examine how the disciplines should be "redefined and reconstructed to include us all" (Andersen, 1987: 226).(6)

These projects has a swift impact on women's studies programs and, to a lesser degree, on other campus units. Recently, we have witnessed a backlash to curriculum change, suggesting a measure of its success. Writers such as Allan Bloom (1987) and Dinesh d'Souza (1991) have decried the loss of the Western canon and raised the specter of radicals and feminists taking over the university. Innovation in the curriculum has been belittled and trivialized as "politically correct." Publicized incidents of harassment and violence on college campuses have come to our attention more frequently -- again suggesting evidence of backlash--although we ought to explore campus social relations, protest activity, and violence over a longer time frame.

Despite the conservative backlash, by the mid-to-late 1980s, the class-race-gender construct was widely known in women's studies, black or African-American studies, cultural or multicultural studies, sociology, anthropology, history, English, and American Studies. It became a frequent and popular buzzword to signal a way that theory and research ought to be done.(7)

Emergence of Black Feminist Thought

Reflecting on their experiences in 1960s movement politics, black women were not of one mind (for reviews, see Giddings, 1984; King, 1988). Some argued for "rights as Blacks first, women second," while others identified the double or triple jeopardy of black womanhood.(8) An early example of black women's independent organizing was Frances Beale's forming of the Third World Women's Alliance within SNCC in the mid-1960s. During this time, Beale edited a newsletter, Triple Oppression, its title referencing class, race, and gender oppression.(9) Key works at this time were edited collections by Toni Cade (1970) and Mary Lou Thompson (1970), essays by Linda LaRue (1970) and Mae King (1973), Joyce Ladner's (1971) research on black female adolescence, among others.

In 1973 Gerda Lerner published writings on and by black women in the United States. The book began with documents announcing the sale and cost of slaves in the early 19th century and ended with an address by Fannie Lou Hamer to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Institute in 1971. This collection made black women's words and activities in the 19th and 20th centuries accessible to a wider audience (see also Lowenberg and Bogin, 1976). Although black women had been analyzing their circumstances in the U.S. for over 150 years, their analyses intensified and deepened by the mid-1970s.

Consolidation of Black Feminist Thought

In 1977, Diane Lewis noted that because feminist theories of women's inequality "focus[ed] exclusively upon the effects of sexism, they have been of limited applicability to minority women subjected to the constraints of both racism and sexism." Further, Lewis noted that "black women...tended to see racism as a more powerful cause of their subordinate position than sexism and to view the women's liberation movement with considerable mistrust" (Lewis, 1977: 339). Despite the lack of a race analysis in feminist theory and black women's distrust of the larger movement, Lewis also pointed out that black women were often more positive toward women's rights than were white women.

Another important contribution at this time was the Combahee River Collective's statement about black feminism. The group stated its commitment against "racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression" (1979: 362). The group's multifaceted commitments reflected an analysis of the inseparability of these relations:

We believe that sexual politics under patriarchy is as pervasive in black

women's lives as are the politics of class and race. We also often find it

difficult to separate race from class from sex oppression because in our

lives they are most often experienced simultaneously. We know that

there is such a thing as racial-sexual oppression which is neither solely

racial nor solely sexual, e.g., the history of rape of black women by white

men as a weapon of political repression (p. 365).

The Collective defined a set of political and theoretical alignments that were being developed by others such as Bonnie Thornton Dill (1983), bell hooks (1981), Gloria Joseph (1981), and Angela Davis (1981). They argued that unless you consider all the key relations of inequality--class, race, gender (and also age and sexuality)--you have considered none. Further, unless you consider the inseparability of these relations in the life of one person, you do not understand what we are saying.

Here let me inject my biography. I began as a graduate student in sociology in 1978. At the time, debate centered on the possibility of linking Marxist theories of class with feminist theories of gender. Could these theories be reconciled or were they in ontological conflict? Clearly, in asking those questions, race was not on the agenda. Also, around that time Audre Lorde came to the Amherst area to give a speech. I remember then a confusion I felt--and one she wished to teach the audience--about her multiple commitments. She discussed her participation in black community groups, in women's groups, and in gay and lesbian groups, but she wanted to stress, she was a whole person, one person across these settings. I asked her, nervously raising my hand in a large auditorium setting, how can you be and act all these things at once? My memory of her response to my question was that it didn't make any sense to her.

Testifying to her power to engage multiple audiences, Audre Lorde challenged members of the black community to consider sexism (1979a), and in the same year, she challenged white feminists to become aware of racism in their work (1979b). A few noteworthy works by white women appeared in the late 1970s. Margaret Simons (1979) criticized white feminist theorists when she discovered that their ideas did not make sense to her black students, and Adrienne Rich (1978: 275) developed themes of "silence and separation: the silence surrounding the lives of lesbians and black women, the separation of black and white women from each other."

Using a phrase coined by Rich, I went through graduate school a "white solipsist"--engaged in "passive collusion" in racism by "think[ing], imagin[ing], and speak[ing] as if whiteness described the world" (Ibid.: 299). Only in my last year of graduate school while I was teachning an "Introduction to Sociology" course did I begin to read more widely and come to grips with white solipsism and acism.


Feminist writing within a class-race-gender framework began to flourish in the early and mid-1980s.(10) One indication of the popularizing of class-race-gender can be seen in changes in the organization of an undergraduate reader, Feminist Frameworks, from the first to third editions (Jaggar and Rothenberg, 1978; 1984; 1993). The first edition, which appeared in 1978, had few references to women of color. Yet in the second, published in 1984, there was a new section entitled "Feminism and Women of Color: the Inseparability of Gender, Class, and Race Oppression." In the third edition, which just came out, the section is now entitled "Women's Subordination through the Lens of Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality: Multicultural Feminism."

I shall focus on three writers whose work in the early and mid-1980s affected me. They are June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and Minnie Bruce Pratt.

June Jordan

I first heard June Jordan, who is an English professor, speak at a women's studies/black studies curriculum integration event in 1982, where she read her "Report from the Bahamas" (reprinted in Jordan, 1985). In this essay Jordan describes her shifting consciousness of race, class, and gender as she settles into her hotel room while on a short vacation in the Bahamas. She considers her relationship to "Olive":

"Olive" is the name of the Black woman who cleans my hotel room. On

my way to the beach I am wondering what "Olive" would say if I told her

why I chose the Sheraton British Colonial; if I told her I wanted to swim.

I wanted to sleep. I did not want to be harassed by the middle-aged waiter,

or his nephew. I did not want to be raped by anybody (white or Black) at

all and I calculated that my safety as a Black woman alone would best be

assured by a multinational hotel corporation....

Anyway, I'm pretty sure "Olive" would look at me as though I came from

someplace as far away as Brooklyn. Then she'd probably allow herself

one indignant query before righteously removing her vacuum cleaner

from my room; "and why in the first place you come down, you without

your husband?"

I cannot imagine how I would begin to answer her.

My "rights" and my "freedom" and my "desire" and a slew of other New

World values; what would they sound like to this Black woman described

on the card atop my hotel bureau as "Olive the Maid"? (p. 41) Later in the story, Jordan recalls:

...A graduate student came to discuss her grade. I praised the excellence

or her final paper....

She told me that...she'd completed her reading of my political essays.

"You are so lucky!" she exclaimed.

"What do you mean by that?"

"You have a cause. You have a purpose to your life."

I looked carefully at this white woman; what was she really saying to me?

"What do you mean?" I repeated.

"Poverty. Police violence. Discrimination in general."

(Jesus Christ, I thought: Is that her idea of lucky?)

"And how about you?" I asked.


"Yeah you. Don't you have a cause?"

"Me? I'm just a middle-aged woman: a housewife and a mother. I'm a


For a while, I made no response.

First of all, speaking of race and class and gender in one breath, what she

said meant that those lucky preoccupations of mine, from police violence

to nuclear wipe-out, were not shared. They were mine and not hers. But

here she sat, friendly as an old stuffed animal, beaming good will or more

"luck" in my direction (p. 43).

Jordan describes other encounters, and the lesson she takes from them is that "factors of race and class and gender...collapse...when you try to use them as automatic concepts of connection." The connection instead "must be the need that we find between us. It is not who you are...but what we can do for each other that will determine the connection" (pp. 46--47).

Thus, having race in common does not necessarily assure solidarity. Having gender in common does not assure sisterhood. Having race and gender and class in common does not assure movement in the same direction. Multivalent social relations and actions promote predictable and unpredictable alignments and conflicts.

Audre Lorde

It is difficult to select from Lorde's corpus. Lorde, who recently died, was a pivotal creator and shaper of the class-race-gender construct without drawing attention to it. I will excerpt from her essay, "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference."(11)

...As a forty-nine-year-old Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two,

including one boy, and a member of an interracial couple, I usually find

myself a part of some group defined as other, deviant, inferior, or just

plain wrong... (p. 114).

Racism, the belief in the inherent superiority of one race over all others

and thereby the right to dominance. Sexism, the belief in the inherent

superiority of one sex over the other and thereby the right to dominance.

Ageism. Heterosexism. Elitism. Classism (p. 115).

Lorde then considers how these relations of race, age, sexuality, and class are thought of as "insurmountable barriers" or denied altogether. Like Jordan, she also sounds a warning against "false and treacherous connections" that may come from the denial of difference (p. 115). Further in the essay, Lorde considers sources of connection and fracture among women along the axes of race and sexuality, and among black people along the lines of gender:

Black women and our children know the fabric of our lives is stitched

with violence and with hatred, that there is no rest. We do not deal with

it only on the picket lines, or in dark midnight alleys, or in the places

where we dare to verbalize our resistance. For us, increasingly, violence

weaves through the daily tissues of our living -- in the supermarket, in

the classroom, in the elevator, in the clinic and the schoolyard, from the

plumber, the baker, the saleswoman, the bus driver, the bank teller, the

waitress who does not serve us (p. 119).

Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your

children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we

fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street,

and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying... (p. 119).

Within Black communities where racism is a living reality, differences

among us often seem dangerous and suspect. The need for unity is often

misnamed as a need for homogeneity, and a Black feminist vision

mistaken for betrayal of our common interests as a people... (p. 119).

Black women who once insisted that lesbianism was a white woman's

problem now insist that Black lesbians are a threat to Black nationhood,

are consorting with the enemy, are basically un-Black... (p. 121).

For we have, built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and

response, old structures of oppression, and these must be altered at the

same time as we alter the living conditions that are a result of those

structures. For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's

house... (p. 123).

Lorde asks women to "identify and develop new definitions of power and new patterns of relating across difference." This is not feel-good sentimentalism about the power of sisterhood; rather, it invites reflection on the sources of domination and oppression, as well as connection among women. It is also a meditation on group life and social relations, where difference is used to segregate, to classify, and to distort. Or, as importantly, it is where differences are denied: neither acknowledged for their impact on behavior and action, nor comprehended by those in their relationships of power over others. An example of the denial of difference is when members of dominant groups ask, "Why can't we just all be human?" (Williams, 1991: 111).

Minnie Bruce Pratt

I draw from Pratt's (1984) autobiographical essay, "Identity: Skin Blood Heart." Pratt is a white woman who grew up in the South in the 1950s and who now works at "stripping away layer after layer of my false identity." Her essay is long, and I am extracting a little piece where she describes how she learned to think differently of herself in relation to others.

Part of my regaining my self-respect has been to struggle to reject a false

self-importance by acknowledging the foundation of liberation efforts in

this country in the work of women, and men, who my folks have tried to

hold down. For me this has meant not just reading the poetry, fiction,

essays, but learning about the long history of political organizing in the

U.S. by men and women trying to break the economic and cultural grip

a Euro-American system has on their lives. But my hardest struggle has

been...[to correct] my ignorance, resistance to my prejudice. Then I have

to struggle to remember that I don't rule the world with my thoughts and

actions like some judge in a tilt-back chair....

To be exact...I began to re-examine my relation as a white woman to

safety, white men, and Black people, after I told a joke, a ludicrous event,

the story of the Klan marching in my hometown: and a Black woman who

was a fellow-teacher said abruptly to me, "Why are you laughing? It isn't

funny." And I began to re-examine my relation to the first people who

lived in this country because a Shawnee woman, with family origins in

the South, criticized my use of the Choctaw people's experience as a

parallel to the experience of the white women of my family: she asked,

"Who of your relatives did what to who of mine?" I started to examine

my grasp of the complexities of my anti-Semitism when I spoke angrily

about the disrespect of Arab male students, from Saudi Arabia and

Kuwait, toward me as a female teacher, while also saying I resented their

loudness, their groupiness, the money that enabled them to take over our

financially shaky Black college, while my Black students, men and

women, were working night jobs to survive: and the Jewish woman, my

lover, who was listening to all this said quietly, "You are just being anti-


And when a month ago, I walked into my corner grocery, DC Supermar-

ket, 8th and F streets, NE, with a branch of budding forsythia in my hand,

and the owners, men and women I had termed vaguely to myself as

"Oriental," became excited, made me spell forsythia, wrote it in Korean

characters on a piece of scratch paper so they would remember the name

in English: and said it was a flower from their country, their country,

pronouncing the name in Korean carefully for my untrained ears: and

then I had to think about what I understood about what was "mine" and

what "somebody else's," what I didn't understand about immigration

and capitalism and how I had taken without thinking, like picking a

flower, the work and cultures of Asian folk, without even being able to

distinguish between the many different peoples (pp. 42--43).

After you read Pratt, you'll not be able to walk down a familiar street where you live in quite the same way. She opens up your consciousness to the histories of relationships, of region, and of place--just in the simple act of saying hello to another or nodding your head as you pass by. For example, she depicts this scene as she comes to her apartment:

...When I go to the basement door of my building [I] meet Mr. Boone, the

janitor, who doesn't raise his eyes to mine, or his head, when we speak.

He is a dark red-brown man from the Yemassee in South Carolina--that

swampy land of Indian resistance and armed communities of fugitive

slaves, that marshy land at the headwaters of the Combahee, once site of

enormous rice plantations and location of Harriet Tubman's successful

military action that freed many slaves. When we meet in the hall or on the

elevator, even though I may have just heard him speaking in his own

voice to another man, he "yes ma'am's" me in a sing-song: I hear my

voice replying in the horrid cheerful accents of a white lady: and I hate

my white womanhood that drags between us the long bitter history of our


I think how I just want to feel at home, where people know me; instead

I remember, when I meet Mr. Boone, that home was a place of forced

subservience, and I know that my wish is that of an adult wanting to stay

a child: to be known by others, but to know nothing, to feel no responsi-

bility (p. 12).


What do these writers teach us? Can class-race-gender be used in the study of crime and justice, in the social sciences, and in law?

It is important to realize that each of us comprehends class-race-gender with a particular biography and set of blinders; thus, it will mean different things to us. For women of color, the construct establishes a ground from which to articulate experience, theory, and politics. For me and many other white feminists, it means a reconsideration of primary power relationships beyond class and gender. For liberal and leftist men, it means a reconsideration of primary power relationships beyond class and race. And for some, it may mean a reconsideration of everything.

Some of you might say: "In the social sciences and especially sociology, we've long compared class, race, and gender groups. In fact, we've also considered a fourth relation--age. So what's new with this construct?" Class-race-gender need not be seen as a frozen icon to political correctness or as a "holy trinity" of just three relationships. Others are possible, and most today would want to see it expanded to class-race-gender-sexuality-age. Moreover, the construct is new and does pose challenges to conventional practices in the social sciences and criminology.

For those who have not had the pleasure of reading the authors I've mentioned, read them. Learn to practice what Mari Matsuda (1988) calls "affirmative action" scholarship. In addition to scholars I have mentioned, just a few in sociology and in law include Patricia Hill Collins (1990), Kimberle Crenshaw (1989, 1992), Deborah King (1988), Martha Minow (1990), and Patricia Williams (1991).(12)

Class-race-gender calls attention to the ways in which social science (1) flattens and depoliticizes social relations as "variables" and (2) views social relations as independent and discrete rather than interdependent and multiple. Let me give some examples.

Last year at a professional meeting, a man I'd never met before struck up a conversation. He told me that he was now reviewing some old data with the "sex variable" in mind. He had run the data and discovered that the "gender loadings" were strong. "Isn't that great," he said, "imagine all the articles I can write!" As I was listening to him, I realized that he believed he was doing the right thing and he thought I should be proud of him. My reaction was dismay. Smiling and chirpy, so as not to appear offended or even alarmed, I said I hoped he'd take a step beyond his "gender loadings" and develop a more sophisticated understanding of what he had discovered.(13)

I have come to understand that "variable-based" analysis is a method by which researchers can take a neutral stance to their research and thus deny the particular social relations and histories we have to the people and events comprising our "data." Furthermore, I suspect that seeing a relationship as a variable is easier to do when one is on the dominant side of that relationship.(14)

To view relations of class, race, and gender as interdependent and multiple is not easy to do since most of us learned social theory through a one-dimensional lens in which class was primary. "Adding" race or ethnicity or gender or sexuality onto a class framework is often a first step. Subsequent steps will require a theoretical reconstitution of the meaning of class or class structure, of race and race relations, of gender and sexuality, as each relates to other social relations. It can be overwhelming to imagine multiple sets of social relations in contingent relationship to each other, but we can start by being aware of the problems inherent in making simple assertions about "women" or about "blacks" or about the "working class."(15)

In light of what we know about a person's experiences and life chances, it is truly remarkable that scholars engage in a "denial of difference." Yet many do: that stance undergirds the neoclassical model of "rational man." Let me give an example.

At the 1991 American Society of Criminology (ASC) meeting, I was in a special session in which panels of younger criminologists were given the chance to ask questions of former ASC presidents. My panel went last and the elders I questioned were Ron Akers, Travis Hirschi, and C. Ray Jeffery. I asked them, "When you are writing statements about crime...and when you are thinking about the person, the actor, or the lawbreaker, does that person have a specific class, race, or gender?" One response, by Travis Hirschi, was clear and direct. He said: "I really do think that the image I have is a person without any of these qualities. The offender is everyone -- they have no qualities of class, race, or gender." I said, "Yes, that's what I find extraordinary." At that point, John Laub, the moderator, checking his watch, suggested it was time to close "on that extraordinary note."(16)

What I take from the class-race-gender construct are ideas that move from the personal to the structural and abstract. At a personal level, it challenges us to consider the dailyness of power relations and their shifting configurations. As we move through a day, we are one person, but with varying identities and degrees of domination and subordination in different social relations. It is important to become conscious of how we react to "strangers," or those not like us, and how we react to those we pity or hate or love or perhaps have no feeling for at all. And why. We may wonder how these encounters and the political consciousness arising from them shapes our research agenda, the questions we ask, how we ask them, what theories we like, what we think constitutes "solid" evidence, and how we interpret our findings.

If taken in its fullest, the class-race-gender construct will seem an extraordinary threat to science and to law as currently practiced. It exposes the lie of neutrality--at the heart of liberal law. It exposes the lie of aperspectivity--at the heart of traditional social science. And it implicates scholars and citizens as self-interested solipsists of all sorts.


(1.)What shall class-race-gender be termed? It is a way of analyzing or theorizing about inequality, but it is not a perspective or a paradigm or a theory. It is an idea, a claimed set of interrelationships, a construct. I see it as announcing a combined leftist/anti-racist/feminist point of view in the same way that "the political economy of...(fill in the blank)" did a decade ago for leftist analyses. The words class-race-gender seem to exclude other key social relations such as ethnicity, age, and sexuality; this is a problem if it is used too literally. Yet if it is applied in a more metaphoric sense, it may be possible to stretch its meaning.

(2.)These remarks were prepared for a plenary address to the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, where I assumed that most members of the audience had little exposure to feminism or multiculturalism. Social Justice readers may, in comparison, find my ideas rather rudimentary. I am aware of the limitations of the class-race-gender construct as it has been mainstreamed into the academy (as Tony Platt discusses in his article in this issue on the essentialist uses of "multiculturalism"), but I decided that for purposes of the plenary, I would focus on the promise of class-race-gender.

(3.)In talking about the class-race-gender construct with others, I find that people relate to it in different ways. This is an important dimension to its meaning: it reflects distinctive struggles people faced with various "isms" in their lives. Although there may be several histories (and prehistories) to the construct, it is clear that it emerged in the course of women's political struggles.

(4.)Historians and colleagues may have different and more definitive histories than mine. My sketch is anchored in the 20th century Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.; it therefore focuses on the struggles of African Americans in comparison, say, to Native, Mexican, or Asian Americans. In writing this essay, I realized that the task of "rethinking race" has important regional dimensions. Those of us in the U.S. East and Midwest are less directly affected by the local histories and struggles of Mexican and Asian Americans, in contrast to those in the West and Southwest. On the East Coast and in the Midwest, Puerto Rican and Cuban American, local Native American, and Arab and Jewish struggles command more attention.

(5.)My history of class-race-gender focuses on developments in black women's writings. Although other women of color contributed statements and analyses in the 1960s and early 1970s, it was not until the mid-to-late 1970s that book-length treatments or edited collections on and by these women appeared. This Bridge Called My Back (1981) was one of the earliest collections by radical women of color.

(6.)Andersen credits Peggy McIntosh for estimating the number of projects initiated during 1975--1985.

(7.)Class-race-gender is more often sloganeered than used analytically. Some suggest that class-race-gender lost its critical, transformative edge in the process of its incorporation in higher education.

(8.)For the former, see Cade (1970) and general discussion in Lewis (1977) and Giddings (1984: Chapter 17). For the latter, see Pauli Murray (1964), Shirley Chisholm (1970), Patricia Robinson (1970), and Margaret Wright (1970), all of whom are reprinted in Lerner (1973).

(9.)Beale subsequently published two influential essays, one on the "double jeopardy" of black women (1970) and another on "slave of a slave no more" (1981).

(10.)See Moraga and Anzaldua (1981), which has contributions by black, Chicana, Asian American, and Native American women. Other edited collections are Eisenstein and Jardine (1980); Hull, Scott, and Smith (1980); Smith (1983). During this period, scholars traced the history of black women and their relationships to white women; they include Aptheker (1982); Joseph and Lewis (1981); Dill (1983); Giddings (1984); hooks (1984); Palmer (1983). See review by King (1988).

(11.)First delivered in an address at Amherst College in 1980; published in Lorde (1984).

(12.)There are, in addition, edited collections that pull together histories, research, and autobiographical statements from members of diverse groups (e.g., Rothenberg, 1992; DuBois and Ruiz, 1990). Examples of feminist historians employing the class-race-gender construct include Janiewski (1985) and Bynum (1992).

(13.)The same kind of conversation is chronicled by Michelle Fine (1989: 549):

I am in my office, and a colleague enters, quite excited about his new data. He explains:

We surveyed over 1,000 students on this campus and can predict with a great degree of reliability what individual factors cause young men to be sexually violent with young women -- hypersexual socialization, homophobia, and negative attitudes toward women. But here's our problem. We can't predict which women are likely to be attacked by men. Maybe we didn't use the right variables. Fine notes that this researcher's "individualistic research bias...extracts women (and men) from their social contexts...render[ing] oblique the structures of patriarchy, racism, classism...that have sculpted what appear to be the "conditions" or "choices" of women's lives (pp. 551--552).

(14.)See Stacey and Thorne (1985) for an early critique of "variable-based" analyses in sociology.

(15.)See Lerner (1990) for a discussion of the need to expand and redefine the terms class, race, and gender; and King (1988) for examples of how to analyze class, race, and gender as multiple and interactive relations.

(16.)My thanks to John Laub who reviewed the video tape of this session and transcribed what was said in the exchange.


Andersen, Margaret L. 1987 Changing the Curriculum in Higher Education. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 12,2: 222--254.

Aptheker, Bettina 1982 Woman's Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex, and Class in American History. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

Beale, Frances 1981 "Slave of a Slave No More: Black Women in the Struggle." Black Scholar 12,6: 16--24. 1970 "Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female." Toni Cade (ed.), The Black Woman: An Anthology. New York: New American Library, Signet Books: 90--100.

Bloom, Allan 1987 The Closing of the American Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Bynum, Victoria E. 1992 Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

Cade, Toni (ed.) 1970 The Black Woman: An Anthology. New York: New American Library, Signet Books.

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Title Annotation:Rethinking Race
Author:Daly, Kathleen
Publication:Social Justice
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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