"Ain't I a Woman?" and Intersectionality

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In the last two weeks, we started investigating "what does it mean to be human" by looking at the living experiences of those people that are categorized by the social norms as less human, subhuman, or the "missing link" between human/culture and animal/nature. These dehumanized beings (re)presented by Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter, Chris and other black folks (in "Get Out"), and Cash and his people-of-color underclass comrades (in "Sorry to Bother You") are pushed into a liminal space of the society by different forces that share the same, or at least similar, logic. As this logic has been carefully historicized by many ethical and responsible thinkers (, including all of us here), this logic has been called in many names: coloniality, neocolonization, racial capitalism, fascism, color line, racialization, the sociogenic dependency and inferiority complex, so on and so forth. People that are being sociogenically (in Fanon's term) segregated and categorized by the social norms fell into this liminal space that provides them with a good opportunity to empathize, understand, and eventually make coalitions with each other. This liminal space is represented by the basement of underclass telemarketers (in "Sorry to Bother You"), the mesmerized status (in "Get Out"), the in-betweenness of mimicry that kills a person's self (in Black Skin, White Masks), and the ontological and biological dyselected space-time (in Wynter's article). Science fiction as a literary and cinematic genre is powerful in using speculative methods to extend our imagination about what science and technology can do to access this liminal space. As this liminal space is usually hidden by the positive discourse of how human beings and science are co-prosperous and co-evolved, science fiction trains our vision on "human" and "science" to be more flexible, creative, and critical.

This week, we will practice our speculating ability by adding one more element: gender. It does not mean that "gender" is conceptually separable from other dehumanizing social categorizations such as "race." On the contrary, they are intermeshed. They came into form with the same history, but they are made separable in discourse and became very hard to deal with. By "adding one more element" I mean we are now uncovering how dehumanization really works in complexity and the fact that dehumanization is for a long time being simplified in our analysis as if the gender issue is merely additional.

Many women-of-color thinkers such as Kimberley Crenshaw discovered that they are made invisible by both feminists and black civil right/black lives movements. In the mainstream feminisms, it seems that there is no race issue. "Women" is claimed to be a universal concept applicable to every society and community. "Woman" defined by the modern social norm, instead of being a useful tool to analyze the dehumanized societies and communities, became a disciplining, colonial tool that describes the relationality and sociality in those societies and communities in an inaccurate and ahistorical way and erases other possible understandings of human relation. Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?", voiced out from the liminal space, helps us to see this disciplining and erasing power of "gender."

Truth's speech took place in 1851, the moment that both white women and black men were both fighting for their civil rights. (***I tentative uses "she" as the pronoun for Truth, but it is obviously problematic and debatable.) Truth told people the truth that she had never been categorized as a "woman." Instead of being reduced to a reproductive machine that reproduces a modern Man's bloodline and capital and being confined in the private/domestic space as feminine and cultured human being, she does heavy-duty work in different fields. However, she was not considered as a human being in the public sphere like a working-class man either, because she was biologically fixed as an animalistic being that was not entitled to be properly paid. Another aspect that was not revealed as much in her speech but is definitely noteworthy is that while having no gender in front of modern men and women, many Black women have to be submissive, feminine, and hyper-sexualized in front their Black male counterpart. According to many "scientific researches" such as the Moynihan Report, the black communities (and extensible to the black civilization) cannot "evolve" or "prosper" because the modern gender system that frames the "correct" social division and power relation is not enough applied and operated. Thus, it was Black women's duty to learn how to be proper women for their own good. The question "Ain't I a Woman?" was a cry deep inside Truth's mind. She was disoriented by the social norms that categorized her into a "female," which is not yet (or never will be) a woman because she is not yet (or never will be) fully human. Nonetheless, she clearly knew that she was not graspable by the social norms. She was more than the norms. Just like Frantz Fanon, she was calling for a new way to understand humanity.

Truth's simple, demonstrative speech makes us reflect upon not just what we see, but how we see. If we do not change the way we see the world, we cannot change the game. "Intersectionality" as a method is Kimberley Crenshaw's influential experiment to change the game. She points out that when we intersect "gender" and "race," two modern social analytical categories in front of the law, we can see nothing in the intersected area. The intersected area is the zone of nothingness. It is not that we are adding on "gender" and "race" together to make ourselves able to see those people like Sojourner Truth, but rather we discover the fact that we are unable to see them. To the people like Truth, "gender" and "race" are never separable. To assume that these two categorial tools are separable is to deny those people's existence.

Man / Woman (Human)


Male / Female (Non-human)

I hope Truth's speech and Crenshaw's article are helpful for you to think with the characters in Octavia Butler's short stories. Apparently, many of them cannot be comprehended if we do not have the vision of intersectionality and the differentiation between man, woman, male, and female. How do we understand the ability of pregnancy, a translator, people of communication disability, a diseased, and a god-like figure with the vision of intersectionality? Octavia Butler tells us: use your imagination.

1. Read the following five selected stories from Octavia Butler's Bloodchild and Other Stories: "Bloodchild", "The Evening and the Morning and the Night", "Speech Sounds", "Amnesty", "The Book of Martha." Delete "Crossover."

2. Read Sojourner Truth's speech, "Ain't I a Woman?"

3. Read Kimberley Crenshaw's social analysis, "Mapping the Margins.

Please use two materials uploaded.

Stanford Law Review Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color Author(s): Kimberle Crenshaw Source: Stanford Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 6 (Jul., 1991), pp. 1241-1299 Published by: Stanford Law Review Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229039 Accessed: 21/07/2010 14:45 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=slr. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Stanford Law Review is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Stanford Law Review. http://www.jstor.org Mappingthe Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color KimberleCrenshaw* INTRODUCTION Over the last two decades, women have organized against the almost routine violence that shapes their lives.1 Drawing from the strength of sharedexperience,women have recognizedthat the politicaldemandsof millions speak more powerfullythan the pleas of a few isolated voices. This politicization in turn has transformed the way we understand violence againstwomen. For example,batteringand rape, once seen as private(family matters)and aberrational(errantsexual aggression),are now largelyrecognized as part of a broad-scalesystem of dominationthat affectswomen as a class.2 This process of recognizingas social and systemic what was for* ? 1993 by Kimberle Crenshaw. Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles. B.A. Cornell University, 1981; J.D. Harvard Law School, 1984; LL.M. University of Wisconsin, 1985. I am indebted to a great many people who have pushed this project along. For their kind assistance in facilitating my field research for this article, I wish to thank Maria Blanco, Margaret Cambrick, Joan Creer, Estelle Cheung, Nilda Rimonte and Fred Smith. I benefitted from the comments of Taunya Banks, Mark Barenberg, Darcy Calkins, Adrienne Davis, Gina Dent, Brent Edwards, Paul Gewirtz, Lani Guinier, Neil Gotanda, Joel Handler, Duncan Kennedy, Henry Monaghan, Elizabeth Schneider and Kendall Thomas. A very special thanks goes to Gary Peller and Richard Yarborough. Jayne Lee, Paula Puryear, Yancy Garrido, Eugenia Gifford and Leti Volpp provided valuable research assistance. I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Academic Senate of UCLA, Center for Afro-American Studies at UCLA, the Reed Foundation and Columbia Law School. Earlier versions of this article were presented to the Critical Race Theory Workshop and the Yale Legal Theory Workshop. This article is dedicated to the memory of Denise Carty-Bennia and Mary Joe Frug. 1. Feminist academics and activists have played a central role in forwardingan ideological and institutional challenge to the practices that condone and perpetuate violence against women. See AGAINSTOUR WILL: MEN, WOMEN AND RAPE (1975); generally SUSAN BROWNMILLER, LORENNEM.G. CLARK& DEBRAJ. LEWIS,RAPE:THE PRICEOFCOERCIVE SEXUALITY (1977); R. EMERSON DOBASH& RUSSELLDOBASH,VIOLENCE AGAINSTWIVES:A CASEAGAINSTTHE PATRIARCHY (1979); NANCYGAGER& CATHLEENSCHURR,SEXUALASSAULT:CONFRONTING RAPE IN AMERICA(1976); DIANA E.H. RUSSELL,THE POLITICS OF RAPE:THE VICTIM'SPERSPECTIVE ANNE STANKO,INTIMATEINTRUSIONS: WOMEN'SEXPERIENCE OF (1974); ELIZABETH MALE VIOLENCE(1985); LENOREE. WALKER,TERRIFYING LOVE:WHY BATTEREDWOMEN KILLANDHOWSOCIETY RESPONDS WOMANSYN(1989); LENOREE. WALKER,THE BATTERED DROME(1984); LENOREE. WALKER,THE BATTERED WOMAN(1979). 2. See, e.g., SUSANSCHECHTER, WOMENAND MALEVIOLENCE: THE VISIONSAND STRUGGLESOFTHEBATTERED WOMEN'SMOVEMENT (1982) (arguing that battering is a means of maintaining women's subordinate position); S. BROWNMILLER, supra note 1 (arguing that rape is a 1241 1242 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 merly perceivedas isolatedand individualhas also characterizedthe identity politics of African Americans,other people of color, and gays and lesbians, among others. For all these groups,identity-basedpolitics has been a source of strength,community,and intellectualdevelopment. The embraceof identitypolitics, however,has been in tension with dominant conceptionsof social justice. Race, gender, and other identity categories are most often treatedin mainstreamliberaldiscourseas vestigesof bias or domination-that is, as intrinsicallynegativeframeworksin which social power works to exclude or marginalizethose who are different. According to this understanding,our liberatoryobjectiveshould be to empty such categories of any social significance. Yet implicit in certain strands of feminist and racial liberation movements, for example is the view that the social power in delineatingdifferenceneed not be the power of domination;it can instead be the source of social empowermentand reconstruction. The problemwith identity politics is not that it fails to transcenddifference, as some critics charge,but ratherthe opposite-that it frequentlyconflates or ignores intragroupdifferences. In the context of violence against women, this elision of differencein identity politics is problematic,fundamentally because the violence that many women experienceis often shaped by other dimensionsof their identities, such as race and class. Moreover, ignoring differencewithin groups contributesto tension among groups, another problemof identity politics that bears on effortsto politicize violence against women. Feminist effortsto politicize experiencesof women and antiracist efforts to politicize experiencesof people of color have frequently proceeded as though the issues and experiencesthey each detail occur on mutuallyexclusiveterrains. Although racismand sexism readilyintersectin the lives of real people, they seldom do in feminist and antiracistpractices. And so, when the practicesexpoundidentityas woman or personof color as an either/or proposition,they relegate the identity of women of color to a location that resists telling. My objectivein this article is to advance the telling of that location by exploring the race and gender dimensions of violence against women of color.3 Contemporaryfeministand antiracistdiscourseshave failed to conpatriarchalpractice that subordinateswomen to men); Elizabeth Schneider, The Violenceof Privacy, 23 CONN. L. REV. 973, 974 (1991) (discussing how "concepts of privacy permit, encourage and reinforce violence against women"); Susan Estrich, Rape, 95 YALEL.J. 1087 (1986) (analyzing rape law as one illustration of sexism in criminal law); see also CATHARINE A. MACKINNON,SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WORKING WOMEN:A CASEOF SEX DISCRIMINATION 143-213 (1979) (arguing that sexual harassment should be redefined as sexual discrimination actionable under Title VII, rather than viewed as misplaced sexuality in the workplace). 3. This article arises out of and is inspired by two emerging scholarly discourses. The first is critical race theory. For a cross-section of what is now a substantial body of literature, see PATRICIA J. WILLIAMS, THE ALCHEMY OFRACEANDRIGHTS(1991); Robin D. Barnes, Race Consciousness: The Thematic Content of Racial Distinctivenessin Critical Race Scholarship, 103 HARV. L. REV. 1864 (1990); John 0. Calmore, Critical Race Theory, Archie Shepp, and Fire Music. Securing an Authentic Intellectual Life in a Multicultural World, 65 S. CAL. L. REV. 2129 (1992); Anthony E. Cook, Beyond Critical Legal Studies: The ReconstructiveTheology of Dr. Martin Luther King, 103 HARV.L. REV. 985 (1990); Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Race, Reform and Retrenchment:Transformation and Legitimation in AntidiscriminationLaw, 101 HARV. L. REV. 1331 (1988); Richard July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1243 sider intersectionalidentities such as women of color.4 Focusing on two dimensionsof male violence againstwomen-battering and rape-I consider how the experiencesof women of color are frequentlythe product of intersecting patternsof racism and sexism,5and how these experiencestend not Delgado, When a Story is Just a Story: Does Voice Really Matter?, 76 VA. L. REV. 95 (1990); Neil Gotanda, A Critiqueof "OurConstitutionis Colorblind,"44 STAN.L. REV. 1 (1991) Mari J. Matsuda, Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim's Story, 87 MICH. L. REV. 2320 (1989); Charles R. Lawrence III, The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection:Reckoning with Unconscious Racism, 39 STAN. L. REV. 317 (1987); Gerald Torres, Critical Race Theory: The Decline of the UniversalistIdeal and the Hope of Plural Justice-Some Observationsand Questionsof an Emerging Phenomenon, 75 MINN. L. REV. 993 (1991). For a useful overview of critical race theory, see Calmore, supra, at 2160-2168. A second, less formally linked body of legal scholarship investigates the connections between race and gender. See, e.g., Regina Austin, Sapphire Bound!, 1989 WIS. L. REV. 539; Crenshaw, supra; Angela P. Harris, Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory, 42 STAN. L. REV. 581 (1990); Marlee Kline, Race, Racism and Feminist Legal Theory, 12 HARV. WOMEN'SL.J. 115 (1989); Dorothy E. Roberts, Punishing Drug Addicts Who Have Babies: Women of Color, Equality and the Right of Privacy, 104 HARV. L. REV. 1419 (1991); Cathy Scarborough, Conceptualizing Black Women's Employment Experiences, 98 YALE L.J. 1457 (1989) (student author); Peggie R. Smith, Separate Identities: Black Women, Workand Title VII, 14 HARV.WOMEN'SL.J. 21 (1991); Judy Scales-Trent, Black Women and the Constitution:Finding Our Place, Asserting Our Rights, 24 HARV.C.R-C.L. L. REV. 9 (1989); Judith A. Winston, Mirror,Mirroron the Wall: Title VII, Section 1981, and the Intersectionof Race and Gendet 'n the Civil Rights Act of 1990, 79 CAL. L. REV. 775 (1991). This work in turn has been informed oy a broader literature examining the interactions of race and gender in other contexts. See, e.g., PATRICIA HILLCOLLINS, BLACKFEMINIST THOUGHT: AND THE POLITICS OF EMPOWERMENT KNOWLEDGE, CONSCIOUSNESS, (1990); ANGELADAVIS, AIN'T I A WOMAN?BLACKWOMENANDFEMIWOMEN,RACEANDCLASS(1981); BELLHOOKS, NISM(1981); ELIZABETH V. SPELMAN, IN FEMIOFEXCLUSION INESSENTIAL WOMAN:PROBLEMS NISTTHOUGHT(1988); Frances Beale, Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female, in THE BLACK WOMAN90 (Toni Cade ed. 1970); Kink-Kok Cheung, The Woman Warriorversus The Chinaman IN Pacific: Must a Chinese American Critic Choose betweenFeminism and Heroism?, in CONFLICTS FEMINISM 234 (Marianne Hirsch & Evelyn Fox Keller eds. 1990); Deborah H. King, Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple Consciousness:The Context of a Black Feminist Ideology, 14 SIGNS42 (1988); Diane K. Lewis, A Response to Inequality: Black Women, Racism and Sexism, 3 SIGNS339 (1977); Deborah E. McDowell, New Directionsfor Black Feminist Criticism, in THE NEW FEMINIST CRITICISM:ESSAYSON WOMEN,LITERATURE AND THEORY186 (Elaine Showalter ed. 1985); Valerie Smith, Black Feminist Theory and the Representationof the "Other" in CHANGINGOUR OWN WORDS:ESSAYSONCRITICISM, THEORYANDWRITINGBYBLACKWOMEN38 (Cheryl A. Wall ed. 1989). 4. Although the objective of this article is to describe the intersectional location of women of color and their marginalization within dominant resistance discourses, I do not mean to imply that the disempowerment of women of color is singularly or even primarily caused by feminist and antiracist theorists or activists. Indeed, I hope to dispell any such simplistic interpretationsby capturing, at least in part, the way that prevailing structures of domination shape various discourses of resistance. As I have noted elsewhere, "People can only demand change in ways that reflect the logic of the institutions they are challenging. Demands for change that do not reflect . . . dominant ideology . . . will probably be ineffective." Crenshaw, supra note 3, at 1367. Although there are significant political and conceptual obstacles to moving against structures of domination with an intersectional sensibility, my point is that the effort to do so should be a central theoretical and political objective of both antiracism and feminism. 5. Although this article deals with violent assault perpetrated by men against women, women are also subject to violent assault by women. Violence among lesbians is a hidden but significant problem. One expert reported that in a study of 90 lesbian couples, roughly 46% of lesbians have been physically abused by their partners. Jane Garcia, The Cost of Escaping Domestic Violence:Fear of Treatment in a Largely Homophobic Society May Keep Lesbian Abuse Victimsfrom Calling for SPEAKING OUT ABOUT Help, L.A. Times, May 6, 1991, at 2; see also NAMINGTHE VIOLENCE: LESIBIAN BATTERING (Kerry Lobel ed. 1986); Ruthann Robson, LavenderBruises. Intralesbian Violence, Law and Lesbian Legal Theory, 20 GOLDENGATE U.L. REV. 567 (1990). There are clear parallels between violence against women in the lesbian community and violence against women in 1244 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 to be representedwithin the discoursesof eitherfeminismor antiracism. Because of their intersectionalidentity as both women and of color within discourses that are shaped to respondto one or the other, women of color are marginalizedwithin both. In an earlierarticle, I used the concept of intersectionalityto denote the variousways in which race and genderinteractto shape the multipledimensions of Black6women's employmentexperiences.7My objectivethere was to illustrate that many of the experiencesBlack women face are not subsumed within the traditionalboundariesof race or gender discriminationas these boundariesare currentlyunderstood,and that the intersectionof racism and sexism factors into Black women's lives in ways that cannot be capturedwholly by looking at the race or genderdimensionsof those experiences separately. I build on those observationshere by exploringthe various ways in which race and genderintersectin shapingstructural,political, and representationalaspects of violence against women of color.8 I should say at the outset that intersectionalityis not being offeredhere as some new, totalizing theory of identity. Nor do I mean to suggest that violence against women of color can be explainedonly through the specific frameworksof race and gender consideredhere.9 Indeed, factors I address communities of color. Lesbian violence is often shrouded in secrecy for similar reasons that have suppressed the exposure of heterosexual violence in communities of color-fear of embarassingother members of the community, which is already stereotyped as deviant, and fear of being ostracized from the community. Despite these similarities, there are nonetheless distinctions between male abuse of women and female abuse of women that in the context of patriarchy, racism and homophobia, warrants more focused analysis than is possible here. 6. I use "Black" and "African American" interchangeablythroughout this article. I capitalize "Black" because "Blacks, like Asians, Latinos, and other 'minorities,' constitute a specific cultural group and, as such, require denotation as a proper noun." Crenshaw, supra note 3, at 1332 n.2 (citing Catharine MacKinnon, Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agendafor Theory,7 SIGNS 515, 516 (1982)). By the same token, I do not capitalize "white," which is not a proper noun, since whites do not constitute a specific cultural group. For the same reason I do not capitalize "women of color." 7. Kimberle Crenshaw, Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex, 1989 U. CHI. LEGALF. 139. 8. I explicitly adopt a Black feminist stance in this survey of violence against women of color. I do this cognizant of several tensions that such a position entails. The most significant one stems from the criticism that while feminism purports to speakfor women of color through its invocation of the term "woman," the feminist perspective excludes women of color because it is based upon the experiences and interests of a certain subset of women. On the other hand, when white feminists attempt to include other women, they often add our experiences into an otherwise unaltered framework. It is important to name the perspective from which one constructs her analysis; and for me, that is as a Black feminist. Moreover, it is important to acknowledge that the materials that I incorporate in my analysis are drawn heavily from research on Black women. On the other hand, I see my own work as part of a broader collective effort among feminists of color to expand feminism to include analyses of race and other factors such as class, sexuality, and age. I have attempted therefore to offer my sense of the tentative connections between my analysis of the intersectional experiences of Black women and the intersectional experiences of other women of color. I stress that this analysis is not intended to include falsely nor to exclude unnecessarily other women of color. 9. I consider intersectionality a provisional concept linking contemporary politics with postmodern theory. In mapping the intersections of race and gender, the concept does engage dominant assumptions that race and gender are essentially separate categories. By tracing the categories to their intersections, I hope to suggest a methodology that will ultimately disrupt the tendencies to see race and gender as exclusive or separable. While the primary intersections that I explore here are INTERSECTIONALITY July 1991] 1245 only in part or not at all, such as class or sexuality, are often as critical in shapingthe experiencesof women of color. My focus on the intersectionsof race and genderonly highlightsthe need to account for multiplegroundsof identity when consideringhow the social world is constructed.'0 I have dividedthe issues presentedin this articleinto three categories. In Part I, I discuss structuralintersectionality,the ways in which the location of women of color at the intersectionof race and gender makes our actual experienceof domestic violence, rape, and remedialreformqualitativelydifferent than that of white women. I shift the focus in Part II to political intersectionality,where I analyze how both feminist and antiracistpolitics have, paradoxically,often helped to marginalizethe issue of violenceagainst women of color. Then in Part III, I discuss representationalintersectionality, by which I mean the culturalconstructionof women of color. I consider how controversiesover the representationof women of color in popularculture can also elide the particularlocation of women of color, and thus become yet another source of intersectional disempowerment. Finally, I address the implicationsof the intersectionalapproachwithin the broader scope of contemporaryidentity politics. I. STRUCTURAL INTERSECTIONALITY A. StructuralIntersectionalityand Battering I observedthe dynamicsof structuralintersectionalityduringa brieffield study of batteredwomen's shelters located in minority communitiesin Los Angeles." In most cases, the physical assault that leads women to these shelters is merely the most immediate manifestationof the subordination they experience. Many women who seek protectionare unemployedor underemployed,and a good numberof them are poor. Sheltersserving these women cannot affordto addressonly the violence inflictedby the batterer; they must also confrontthe other multilayeredand routinizedforms of domination that often convergein these women's lives, hinderingtheir ability to create alternativesto the abusiverelationshipsthat broughtthem to shelters in the first place. Many women of color, for example,are burdenedby poverty, child care responsibilities,and the lack of job skills.'2 These burdens, between race and gender, the concept can and should be expanded by factoring in issues such as class, sexual orientation, age, and color. 10. Professor Mari Matsuda calls this inquiry "asking the other question." Mari J. Matsuda, Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy: Legal TheoryOut of Coalition, 43 STAN.L. REV. 1183 (1991). For example, we should look at an issue or condition traditionally regarded as a gender issue and ask, "Where's the racism in this?" 11. During my research in Los Angeles, California, I visited Jenessee Battered Women's Shelter, the only shelter in the Western states primarily serving Black women, and Everywoman's Shelter, which primarily serves Asian women. I also visited Estelle Chueng at the Asian Pacific Law Foundation, and I spoke with a representative of La Casa, a shelter in the predominantly Latino community of East L.A. 12. One researcherhas noted, in reference to a survey taken of battered women's shelters, that "many Caucasian women were probably excluded from the sample, since they are more likely to have available resources that enable them to avoid going to a shelter. Many shelters admit only women with few or no resources or alternatives." MILDREDDALEY PAGELOW,WOMAN-BAT- 1246 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 largely the consequence of gender and class oppression, are then compounded by the racially discriminatoryemploymentand housing practices women of color often face,13as well as by the disproportionatelyhigh unemployment among people of color that makes battered women of color less able to depend on the support of friends and relatives for temporary shelter. 14 Where systems of race, gender, and class dominationconverge, as they do in the experiencesof battered women of color, intervention strategies based solely on the experiencesof women who do not sharethe same class or race backgroundswill be of limited help to women who becauseof race and class face differentobstacles.15 Such was the case in 1990 when Congress amendedthe marriagefraud provisionsof the Immigrationand Nationality Act to protect immigrantwomen who were batteredor exposed to extreme cruelty by the United States citizens or permanentresidents these women TERING:VICTIMS ANDTHEIREXPERIENCES 97 (1981). On the other hand, many middle- and upper-class women are financially dependent upon their husbands and thus experience a diminution in their standard of living when they leave their husbands. 13. Together they make securing even the most basic necessities beyond the reach of many. Indeed one shelter provider reported that nearly 85 percent of her clients returned to the battering relationships, largely because of difficulties in finding employment and housing. African Americans are more segregated than any other racial group, and this segregation exists across class lines. Recent studies in Washington, D.C., and its suburbsshow that 64% of Blacks trying to rent apartments in white neighborhoods encountered discrimination. Tracy Thompson, Study Finds 'Persistent'Racial Bias in Area's Rental Housing, Wash. Post, Jan. 31, 1991, at D1. Had these studies factored gender and family status into the equation, the statistics might have been worse. 14. More specifically, African Americans suffer from high unemployment rates, low incomes, and high poverty rates. According to Dr. David Swinton, Dean of the School of Business at Jackson State University in Mississippi, African Americans "receive three-fifths as much income per person as whites and are three times as likely to have annual incomes below the Federally defined poverty level of $12,675 for a family of four." UrbanLeague UrgesAction, N.Y. Times, Jan. 9, 1991, at A14. In fact, recent statistics indicate that racial economic inequality is "higher as we begin the 1990s than at any other time in the last 20 years." David Swinton, The Economic Status of African Americans: "Permanent"Povertyand Inequality, in THE STATEOFBLACKAMERICA1991, at 25 (1991). The economic situation of minority women is, expectedly, worse than that of their male counterparts. Black women, who earn a median of $7,875 a year, make considerably less than Black men, who earn a median income of $12,609 a year, and white women, who earn a median income of $9,812 a year. Id. at 32 (Table 3). Additionally, the percentage of Black female-headed families living in poverty (46.5%) is almost twice that of white female-headed families (25.4%). Id. at 43 (Table 8). Latino households also earn considerably less than white households. In 1988, the median income of Latino households was $20,359 and for white households, $28,340-a difference of almost $8,000. HISPANICAMERICANS: A STATISTICAL 149 (1991). Analyzing by SOURCEBOOK origin, in 1988, Puerto Rican households were the worst off, with 34.1% earning below $10,000 a year and a median income for all Puerto Rican households of $15,447 per year. Id. at 155. 1989 statistics for Latino men and women show that women earned an average of $7,000 less than men. Id. at 169. 15. See text accompanying notes 61-66 (discussing shelter's refusal to house a Spanish-speaking woman in crisis even though her son could interpret for her because it would contribute to her disempowerment). Racial differences marked an interesting contrast between Jenesee's policies and those of other shelters situated outside the Black community. Unlike some other shelters in Los Angeles, Jenessee welcomed the assistance of men. According to the Director, the shelter's policy was premised on a belief that given African American's need to maintain healthy relations to pursue a common struggle against racism, anti-violence programs within the African American community cannot afford to be antagonistic to men. For a discussion of the differentneeds of Black women who are battered, see Beth Richie, BatteredBlack Women:A Challengefor the Black Community, BLACK SCHOLAR, Mar./Apr. 1985, at 40. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1247 immigratedto the United States to marry. Under the marriagefraud provisions of the Act, a person who immigratedto the United States to marrya United States citizen or permanentresidenthad to remain "properly"married for two years before even applying for permanentresident status,16at which time applicationsfor the immigrant'spermanentstatus were required of both spouses.17Predictably,underthese circumstances,many immigrant women were reluctantto leave even the most abusiveof partnersfor fear of being deported.18When faced with the choice betweenprotectionfrom their batterersand protectionagainstdeportation,many immigrantwomen chose the latter.19Reportsof the tragic consequencesof this double subordination put pressureon Congressto include in the ImmigrationAct of 1990 a provision amendingthe marriagefraud rules to allow for an explicit waiver for hardshipcaused by domestic violence.20Yet many immigrantwomen, par16. 8 U.S.C. ? 1186a (1988). The Marriage Fraud Amendments provide that an alien spouse "shall be considered, at the time of obtaining the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, to have obtained such status on a conditional basis subject to the provisions of this section." ? 1186a(a)(1). An alien spouse with permanent resident status under this conditional basis may have her status terminated if the Attorney General finds that the marriage was "improper," ? 1186a(b)(l), or if she fails to file a petition or fails to appear at the personal interview. ? 1186a(c)(2)(A). 17. The Marriage Fraud Amendments provided that for the conditional resident status to be removed, "the alien spouse and the petitioning spouse (if not deceased) jointly must submit to the Attorney General . . . a petition which requests the removal of such conditional basis and which states, under penalty of perjury, the facts and information." ? 1186a(b)(l)(A) (emphasis added). The Amendments provided for a waiver, at the Attorney General's discretion, if the alien spouse was able to demonstrate that deportation would result in extreme hardship, or that the qualifying marriage was terminated for good cause. ? 1186a(c)(4). However, the terms of this hardship waiver have not adequately protected battered spouses. For example, the requirementthat the marriagebe terminated for good cause may be difficult to satisfy in states with no-fault divorces. Eileen P. Lynsky, Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986: Till CongressDo Us Part, 41 U. MIAMIL. REV. 1087, 1095 n.47 (1987) (student author) (citing Jerome B. Ingber & R. Leo Prischet, The LAWOF 1986, at 564IMMIGRATION Marriage Fraud Amendments, in THE NEW SIMPSON-RODINO 65 (Stanley Mailman ed. 1986)). 18. Immigration activists have pointed out that "[t]he 1986 Immigration Reform Act and the Immigration MarriageFraud Amendment have combined to give the spouse applying for permanent residence a powerful tool to control his partner." Jorge Banales, AbuseAmong Immigrants;As Their Numbers GrowSo Does the Need for Services, Wash. Post, Oct. 16, 1990, at E5. Dean Ito Taylor, executive director of Nihonmachi Legal Outreach in San Francisco, explained that the Marriage Fraud Amendments "bound these immigrant women to their abusers." Deanna Hodgin, 'MailOrder' Brides Marry Pain to Get Green Cards, Wash. Times, Apr. 16, 1991, at El. In one egregious instance described by Beckie Masaki, executive director of the Asian Women's Shelter in San Francisco, the closer the Chinese bride came to getting her permanent residency in the United States, the more harshly her Asian-American husband beat her. Her husband, kicking her in the neck and face, warned her that she needed him, and if she did not do as he told her, he would call immigration officials. Id. 19. As Alice Fernandez, head of the Victim Services Agency at the Bronx Criminal Court, explained, "'Women are being held hostage by their landlords, their boyfriends, their bosses, their husbands.... The message is: If you tell anybody what I'm doing to you, they are going to ship your ass back home. And for these women, there is nothing more terrible than that .... Sometimes their response is: I would rather be dead in this country than go back home.'" Vivienne Walt, Immigrant Abuse:Nowhere to Hide; WomenFear Deportation,Experts Say, Newsday, Dec. 2, 1990, at 8. 20. Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-649, 104 Stat. 4978. The Act, introduced by Representative Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), provides that a battered spouse who has conditional permanent resident status can be granted a waiver for failure to meet the requirementsif she can show that "the marriage was entered into in good faith and that after the marriage the alien spouse was 1248 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 ticularly immigrantwomen of color, have remainedvulnerableto battering becausethey are unableto meet the conditionsestablishedfor a waiver. The evidence requiredto support a waiver "can include, but is not limited to, reports and affidavitsfrom police, medical personnel,psychologists,school officials,and social service agencies."21For many immigrantwomen, limited access to these resourcescan make it difficultfor them to obtain the evidenceneededfor a waiver. And culturalbarriersoften furtherdiscourage immigrant women from reporting or escaping battering situations. Tina Shum, a family counselorat a social service agency, points out that "[t]his law sounds so easy to apply, but there are cultural complications in the Asian community that make even these requirements difficult.... Just to find the opportunity and courage to call us is an accomplishment for many."22The typical immigrantspouse, she suggests,may live "[i]n an extended family where several generationslive together, there may be no privacy on the telephone, no opportunity to leave the house and no understandingof publicphones."23As a consequence,many immigrantwomen are wholly dependent on their husbands as their link to the world outside their homes.24 Immigrant women are also vulnerableto spousal violence because so many of them depend on their husbands for informationregardingtheir legal status.25 Many women who are now permanentresidentscontinue to suffer abuse under threats of deportationby their husbands. Even if the threats are unfounded,women who have no independentaccess to information will still be intimidatedby such threats.26And even though the domesbattered by or was subjected to extreme mental cruelty by the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse." H.R. REP. No. 723(I), 101st Cong., 2d Sess. 78 (1990), reprintedin 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6710, 6758; see also 8 C.F.R. ? 216.5(3) (1992) (regulations for application for waiver based on claim of having been battered or subjected to extreme mental cruelty). 21. H.R. REP. No. 723(I), supra note 20, at 79, reprintedin 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6710, 6759. 22. Hodgin, supra note 18. 23. Id. 24. One survey conducted of battered women "hypothesized that if a person is a member of a discriminated minority group, the fewer the opportunities for socioeconomic status above the poverty level and the weaker the English language skills, the greater the disadvantage." M. PAGELOW, supra note 12, at 96. The 70 minority women in the study "had a double disadvantagein this society that serves to tie them more strongly to their spouses." Id. 25. A citizen or permanent resident spouse can exercise power over an alien spouse by threatening not to file a petition for permanent residency. If he fails to file a petition for permanent residency, the alien spouse continues to be undocumented and is considered to be in the country illegally. These constraints often restrict an alien spouse from leaving. Dean Ito Taylor tells the story of "one client who has been hospitalized-she's had him arrested for beating her-but she keeps coming back to him because he promises he will file for her .... He holds that green card over her head." Hodgin, supra note 18. Other stories of domestic abuse abound. Maria, a 50-year-old Dominican woman, explains that " 'One time I had eight stitches in my head and a gash on the other side of my head, and he broke my ribs .... He would bash my head against the wall while we had sex. He kept threatening to kill me if I told the doctor what happened.' " Maria had a "powerful reason for staying with Juan through years of abuse: a ticket to permanent residence in the United States." Walt, supra note 19. 26. One reporter explained that "Third-world women must deal with additional fears, however. In many cases, they are afraid of authority, government institutions and their abusers' threat of being turned over to immigration officials to be deported." Banales, supra note 18. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1249 tic violencewaiverfocuses on immigrantwomen whose husbandsare United States citizens or permanentresidents,there are countlesswomen marriedto undocumentedworkers (or who are themselvesundocumented)who suffer in silence for fear that the securityof their entirefamilieswill be jeopardized should they seek help or otherwisecall attentionto themselves.27 Languagebarrierspresent another structuralproblem that often limits opportunitiesof non-English-speakingwomen to take advantageof existing supportservices.28Such barriersnot only limit access to informationabout shelters,but also limit access to the securitysheltersprovide. Some shelters turn non-English-speakingwomen away for lack of bilingualpersonneland resources.29 These examplesillustratehow patternsof subordinationintersectin women's experience of domestic violence. Intersectionalsubordinationneed not be intentionallyproduced;in fact, it is frequentlythe consequenceof the imposition of one burden that interacts with preexistingvulnerabilitiesto create yet another dimensionof disempowerment.In the case of the marriage fraud provisionsof the Immigrationand Nationality Act, the imposition of a policy specificallydesignedto burdenone class-immigrant spouses seeking permanent resident status-exacerbated the disempowermentof those alreadysubordinatedby other structuresof domination. By failing to take into account the vulnerabilityof immigrantspouses to domestic vio27. Incidents of sexual abuse of undocumented women abound. Marta Rivera, director of the Hostos College Center for Women's and Immigrant's Rights, tells of how a 19-year-old Dominican woman had "arrived shaken . . . after her boss raped her in the women's restroom at work." The woman told Rivera that "70 to 80 percent of the workers [in a Brooklyn garment factory] were undocumented, and they all accepted sex as part of the job .... She said a 13-year-oldgirl had been raped there a short while before her, and the family sent her back to the Dominican Republic." Walt, supra note 19. In another example, a "Latin American woman, whose husband's latest attack left her with two broken fingers, a swollen face and bruises on her neck and chest, refused to report the beating to police." She returned to her home after a short stay in a shelter. She did not leave the abusive situation because she was "an undocumented, illiterate laborer whose children, passport and money are tightly controlled by her husband." Although she was informed of her rights, she was not able to hurdle the structural obstacles in her path. Banales, supra note 18. 28. For example, in a region with a large number of Third-World immigrants, "the first hurdle these [battered women's shelters] must overcome is the language barrier." Banales, supra note 18. 29. There can be little question that women unable to communicate in English are severely handicapped in seeking independence. Some women thus excluded were even further disadvantaged because they were not U.S. citizens and some were in this country illegally. For a few of these, the only assistance shelter staff could render was to help reunite them with their families of origin. M. PAGELOW, supra note 12, at 96-97. Non-English speaking women are often excluded even from studies of battered women because of their language and other difficulties. A researcherqualifiedthe statistics of one survey by pointing out that "an unknown number of minority group women were excluded from this survey sample because of language difficulties." Id. at 96. To combat this lack of appropriateservices for women of color at many shelters, special programshave been created specifically for women from particular communities. A few examples of such programs include the Victim Intervention Project in East Harlem for Latina women, Jenesee Shelter for African American women in Los Angeles, Apna Gar in Chicago for South Asian women, and, for Asian women generally, the Asian Women's Shelter in San Francisco, the New York Asian Women's Center, and the Center for the Pacific Asian Family in Los Angeles. Programs with hotlines include Sakhi for South Asian Women in New York, and Manavi in Jersey City, also for South Asian women, as well as programs for Korean women in Philadelphia and Chicago. 1250 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 lence, Congresspositionedthese women to absorbthe simultaneousimpact of its anti-immigrationpolicy and their spouses' abuse. The enactment of the domestic violence waiver of the marriagefraud provisions similarly illustrateshow modest attempts to respond to certain problems can be ineffectivewhen the intersectionallocation of women of color is not consideredin fashioningthe remedy. Culturalidentityand class affect the likelihood that a battered spouse could take advantage of the waiver. Although the waiveris formallyavailableto all women, the termsof the waiver make it inaccessibleto some. Immigrantwomen who are socially, culturally, or economically privilegedare more likely to be able to marshallthe resourcesneededto satisfy the waiverrequirements.Those immigrantwomen least able to take advantageof the waiver-women who are socially or economicallythe most marginal-are the ones most likely to be women of color. B. StructuralIntersectionalityand Rape Women of color are differentlysituated in the economic, social, and political worlds. When reform efforts undertakenon behalf of women neglect this fact, women of color are less likely to have their needs met than women who are racially privileged. For example, counselors who provide rape crisis servicesto women of color reportthat a significantproportionof the resourcesallocatedto them must be spent handlingproblemsother than rape itself. Meeting these needs often places these counselorsat odds with their funding agencies,which allocate funds accordingto standardsof need that are largely white and middle-class.30These uniformstandardsof need ignore the fact that differentneeds often demanddifferentprioritiesin terms of resourceallocation, and consequently,these standardshinder the ability of counselorsto addressthe needs of nonwhiteand poor women.31A case in point: women of color occupy positions both physically and culturally marginalizedwithin dominantsociety, and so informationmust be targeted directly to them in order to reach them.32 Accordingly,rape crisis centers 30. For example, the Rosa Parks Shelter and the Compton Rape Crisis Hotline, two shelters that serve the African-American community, are in constant conflict with funding sources over the ratio of dollars and hours to women served. Interview with Joan Greer, Executive Director of Rosa Parks Shelter, in Los Angeles, California (April 1990). 31. One worker explained: For example, a woman may come in or call in for various reasons. She has no place to go, she has no job, she has no support, she has no money, she has no food, she's been beaten, and after you finish meeting all those needs, or try to meet all those needs, then she may say, by the way, during all this, I was being raped. So that makes our community different than other communities. A person wants their basic needs first. It's a lot easier to discuss things when you are full. Nancy Anne Matthews, Stopping Rape or Managing its Consequences?State Intervention and Feminist Resistance in the Los Angeles Anti-Rape Movement, 1972-1987, at 287 (1989) (Ph.D dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles) (chronicling the history of the rape crisis movement, and highlighting the different histories and dilemmas of rape crisis hotlines run by white feminists and those situated in the minority communities). 32. Typically, more time must be spent with a survivor who has fewer personal resources. INTERSECTIONALITY July 1991] 1251 must earmarkmore resourcesfor basic informationdisseminationin communities of color than in white ones. Increasedcosts are but one consequenceof servingpeople who cannot be reachedby mainstreamchannels of information. As noted earlier,counselors in minority communitiesreport spending hours locating resourcesand contacts to meet the housingand other immediateneeds of women who have been assualted. Yet this work is only considered"informationand referral" by funding agencies and as such, is typically underfunded,notwithstanding the magnitude of need for these services in minority communities.33The problem is compoundedby expectationsthat rape crisis centers will use a significantportion of resourcesallocated to them on counselors to accompany victims to court,34even though women of color are less likely to have their cases pursuedin the criminaljustice system.35The resourcesexpected to be set aside for court services are misdirectedin these communities. The fact that minoritywomen sufferfrom the effectsof multiplesubordination, coupled with institutional expectations based on inappropriate nonintersectionalcontexts,shapesand ultimatelylimits the opportunitiesfor meaningfulinterventionon their behalf. Recognizingthe failureto consider intersectionaldynamicsmay go far toward explainingthe high levels of failure, frustration,and burn-out experiencedby counselors who attempt to meet the needs of minority women victims. II. POLITICALINTERSECTIONALITY The concept of political intersectionality highlights the fact that women These survivors tend to be ethnic minority women. Often, a non-assimilatedethnic minority survivor requires translating and interpreting,transportation,overnight shelter for herself and possibly children, and counseling to significant others in addition to the usual counseling and advocacy services. So, if a rape crisis center serves a predominantlyethnic minority population, the "average"number of hours of service provided to each survivor is much higher than for a center that serves a predominantly white population. Id. at 275 (quoting position paper of the Southern California Rape Hotline Alliance). 33. Id. at 287-88. 34. The Director of Rosa Parks reported that she often runs into trouble with her funding sources over the Center's lower than average number of counselors accompanying victims to court. Interview with Joan Greer, supra note 30. 35. Even though current statistics indicate that Black women are more likely to be victimized than white women, Black women are less likely to report their rapes, less likely to have their cases come to trial, less likely to have their trials result in convictions, and, most disturbing, less likely to seek counseling and other support services. PATRICIAHILL COLLINS,BLACKFEMINISTTHOUGHT: ANDTHE CONSCIOUSNESS KNOWLEDGE, POLITICS OF EMPOWERMENT 178-79 (1990); accord HUBERTS. FEILD& LEIGHB. BIENEN,JURORSAND RAPE:A STUDYIN PSYCHOLOGY AND LAW 141 (1980) (data obtained from 1,056 citizens serving as jurors in simulated legal rape cases generally showed that "the assailant of the black woman was given a more lenient sentence than the white woman's assailant"). According to Fern Ferguson, an Illinois sex abuse worker, speaking at a Women of Color Institute conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, 10% of rapes involving white victims end in conviction, compared with 4.2% for rapes involving non-white victims (and 2.3% for the less-inclusive group of Black rape victims). UPI, July 30, 1985. Ferguson argues that myths about women of color being promiscuous and wanting to be raped encourage the criminal justice system and medical professionals as well to treat women of color differently than they treat white women after a rape has occurred. Id. 1252 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 of color are situatedwithin at least two subordinatedgroups that frequently pursueconflictingpoliticalagendas. The need to split one's politicalenergies betweentwo sometimesopposinggroupsis a dimensionof intersectionaldisempowermentthat men of color and white women seldom confront. Indeed, their specificraced and genderedexperiences,although intersectional,often define as well as confine the interestsof the entire group. For example, racism as experiencedby people of color who are of a particulargendermale-tends to determinethe parametersof antiraciststrategies,just as sexism as experiencedby women who are of a particularrace-white-tends to ground the women's movement. The problem is not simply that both discourses fail women of color by not acknowledgingthe "additional"issue of race or of patriarchybut that the discoursesare often inadequateeven to the discrete tasks of articulatingthe full dimensionsof racism and sexism. Because women of color experience racism in ways not always the same as those experiencedby men of color and sexism in ways not always parallelto experiencesof white women, antiracismand feminism are limited, even on their own terms. Among the most troubling political consequencesof the failure of antiracist and feminist discoursesto addressthe intersectionsof race and gender is the fact that, to the extent they can forwardthe interestof "peopleof color" and "women,"respectively,one analysis often implicitly denies the validity of the other. The failureof feminismto interrogaterace means that the resistancestrategies of feminism will often replicate and reinforce the subordinationof people of color, and the failureof antiracismto interrogate patriarchymeans that antiracismwill frequentlyreproducethe subordination of women. These mutualelisionspresenta particularlydifficultpolitical dilemma for women of color. Adopting either analysis constitutesa denial of a fundamentaldimensionof our subordinationand precludesthe development of a political discoursethat more fully empowerswomen of color. A. The Politicizationof Domestic Violence That the political interests of women of color are obscured and sometimesjeopardizedby politicalstrategiesthat ignoreor suppressintersectional issues is illustratedby my experiencesin gatheringinformationfor this article. I attemptedto review Los Angeles Police Departmentstatistics reflecting the rate of domestic violence interventionsby precinct because such statistics can provide a rough picture of arrestsby racial group, given the degreeof racialsegregationin Los Angeles.36L.A.P.D., however,would not release the statistics. A representativeexplainedthat one reason the statistics were not releasedwas that domestic violence activists both within and 36. Most crime statistics are classified by sex or race but none are classified by sex and race. Because we know that most rape victims are women, the racial breakdown reveals, at best, rape rates for Black women. Yet, even given this head start, rates for other non-white women are difficult to collect. While there are some statistics for Latinas, statistics for Asian and Native American women are virtually non-existent. Cf G. Chezia Carraway, ViolenceAgainst Womenof Color, 43 STAN.L. REV. 1301 (1993). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1253 outside the Departmentfearedthat statistics reflectingthe extent of domestic violence in minority communities might be selectively interpretedand publicizedso as to underminelong-termeffortsto force the Departmentto address domestic violence as a serious problem. I was told that activists were worriedthat the statistics might permitopponentsto dismiss domestic violence as a minoirty problem and, therefore,not deservingof aggressive action. The informantalso claimed that representativesfrom various minority communitiesopposed the release of these statistics. They were concerned, apparently,that the data would unfairlyrepresentBlack and Browncommunities as unusuallyviolent, potentiallyreinforcingstereotypesthat might be used in attemptsto justify oppressivepolice tactics and other discriminatory practices. These misgivings are based on the familiar and not unfounded premise that certain minority groups-especially Black men-have already been stereotyped as uncontrollablyviolent. Some worry that attempts to make domestic violence an object of political action may only serve to confirmsuch stereotypesand undermineeffortsto combatnegativebeliefsabout the Black community. This accountsharplyillustrateshow women of color can be erasedby the strategicsilencesof antiracismand feminism. The politicalprioritiesof both were definedin ways that suppressedinformationthat could have facilitated attempts to confront the problem of domestic violence in communitiesof color. 1. Domestic violence and antiracist politics. Within communitiesof color, effortsto stem the politicizationof domestic violence are often groundedin attempts to maintainthe integrity of the community. The articulationof this perspectivetakes differentforms. Some critics allege that feminism has no place within communitiesof color, that the issues are internally divisive, and that they representthe migration of white women'sconcernsinto a context in which they are not only irrelevant but also harmful. At its most extreme,this rhetoricdenies that genderviolence is a problemin the community and characterizesany effort to politicize gender subordination as itself a community problem. This is the position taken by ShahrazadAli in her controversialbook, The Blackman's Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman.37 In this stridently antifeminist tract, Ali draws a positive correlationbetween domestic violence and the 37. SHAHRAZAD ALI, THE BLACKMAN'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE BLACKWOMAN (1989). Ali's book sold quite well for an independently published title, an accomplishment no doubt due in part to her appearanceson the Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey, and Sally Jesse Raphael television talk shows. For public and press reaction, see Dorothy Gilliam, Sick, Distorted Thinking, Wash. Post, Oct. 11, 1990, at D3; Lena Williams, Black Woman'sBook Starts a PredictableStorm, N.Y. Times, Oct. 2, 1990, at C11; see also PEARL CLEAGUE, MAD AT MILES: A BLACK WOMAN'S GUIDE TO TRUTH (1990). The title clearly styled after Ali's, Mad at Miles responds not only to issues raised by Ali's book, but also to Miles Davis's admission in his autobiography, Miles: The Autobiography(1989), that he had physically abused, among other women, his former wife, actress Cicely Tyson. 1254 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 liberation of African Americans. Ali blames the deterioratingconditions within the Black communityon the insubordinationof Black women and on the failureof Black men to control them.38 Ali goes so far as to advise Black men to physically chastise Black women when they are "disrespectful."39 While she cautions that Black men must use moderation in disciplining "their"women, she arguesthat Black men must sometimesresort to physical force to reestablishthe authority over Black women that racism has disrupted.40 Ali's premiseis that patriarchyis beneficialfor the Black community,41 and that it must be strengthenedthroughcoercivemeansif necessary.42Yet 38. Shahrazad Ali suggests that the "[Blackwoman] certainly does not believe that her disrepect for the Blackman is destructive, nor that her opposition to him has deteriorated the Black nation." S. ALI, supra note 37, at viii. Blaming the problems of the community on the failure of the Black woman to accept her "real definition," Ali explains that "[n]o nation can rise when the natural order of the behavior of the male and the female have been altered against their wishes by force. No species can survive if the female of the genus disturbs the balance of her nature by acting other than herself." Id. at 76. 39. Ali advises the Blackman to hit the Blackwoman in the mouth, "[b]ecause it is from that hole, in the lower part of her face, that all her rebellion culminates into words. Her unbridled tongue is a main reason she cannot get along with the Blackman. She often needs a reminder." Id. at 169. Ali warns that "if [the Blackwoman] ignores the authority and superiority of the Blackman, there is a penalty. When she crosses this line and becomes viciously insulting it is time for the Blackman to soundly slap her in the mouth." Id. 40. Ali explains that, "[r]egretfullysome Blackwomen want to be physically controlled by the Blackman." Id. at 174. "The Blackwoman, deep inside her heart," Ali reveals, "wants to surrender but she wants to be coerced." Id. at 72. "[The Blackwoman] wants [the Blackman] to stand up and defend himself even if it means he has to knock her out of the way to do so. This is necessary whenever the Blackwoman steps out of the protection of womanly behavior and enters the dangerous domain of masculine challenge." Id. at 174. 41. Ali points out that "[t]he Blackman being number 1 and the Blackwoman being number 2 is another absolute law of nature. The Blackman was created first, he has seniority. And the Blackwoman was created 2nd. He is first. She is second. The Blackman is the beginning and all others come from him. Everyone on earth knows this except the Blackwoman." Id. at 67. 42. In this regard, Ali's arguments bear much in common with those of neoconservatives who attribute many of the social ills plaguing Black America to the breakdown of patriarchal family values. See, e.g., William Raspberry, If We Are to Rescue American Families, We Have to Save the Boys, Chicago Trib., July 19, 1989, at C15; George F. Will, VotingRights Won'tFix It, Wash. Post, Jan. 23, 1986, at A23; George F. Will, "WhiteRacism" Doesn't Make Blacks Mere Victimsof Fate, Milwaukee J., Feb. 21, 1986, at 9. Ali's argument shares remarkablesimilarities to the controversial "Moynihan Report" on the Black family, so called because its principal author was now-Senator Daniel P. Moynihan (D-N.Y.). In the infamous chapter entitled "The Tangle of Pathology," Moynihan argued that the Negro community has been forced into a matriarchal structure which, because it is so out of line with the rest of American society, seriously retards the progress of the group as a whole, and imposes a crushing burden on the Negro male and, in consequence, on a great many Negro women as well. OFFICEOFPOLICYPLANNINGANDRESEARCH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OFLABOR,THE NEGROFAMILY:THE CASEFORNATIONALACTION 29 (1965), reprintedin LEE RAINWATER & WILLIAML. YANCEY,THE MOYNIHANREPORTAND THEPOLITICSOFCONTROVERSY 75 (1967). A storm of controversy developed over the book, although few commentators challenged the patriarchyembedded in the analysis. Bill Moyers, then a young minister and speechwriter for President Johnson, firmly believed that the criticism directed at Moynihan was unfair. Some 20 years later, Moyers resurrected the Moynihan thesis in a special television program, The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America (CBS television broadcast, Jan. 25, 1986). The show first aired in January 1986 and featured several African-American men and women who had become parents but were unwilling to marry. Arthur Unger, HardhittingSpecial About Black Families, Christian Sci. Mon., Jan. 23, 1986, July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1255 the violence that accompaniesthis will to control is devastating,not only for the Black women who are victimized,but also for the entire Black community.43 The recourseto violence to resolve conflicts establishesa dangerous pattern for children raised in such environmentsand contributesto many other pressingproblems.44It has been estimatedthat nearlyforty percentof all homeless women and children have fled violence in the home,45and an estimatedsixty-threepercentof young men between the ages of eleven and twenty who are imprisonedfor homicide have killed their mothers'batterers.46 And yet, while gang violence, homicide,and other formsof Black-onBlack crime have increasinglybeen discussedwithin African-Americanpolitics, patriarchalideas about gender and power preclude the recognitionof domestic violence as yet another compelling incidence of Black-on-Black crime. Efforts such as Ali's to justify violence against women in the name of Black liberationare indeed extreme.47The more common problemis that at 23. Many saw the Moyers show as a vindication of Moynihan. President Reagan took the opportunity to introduce an initiative to revamp the welfare system a week after the program aired. Michael Barone, Poor Childrenand Politics, Wash. Post, Feb. 10, 1986, at Al. Said one official, "Bill Moyers has made it safe for people to talk about this issue, the disintegrating black family structure." Robert Pear, President Reported Ready to Propose Overhaulof Social WelfareSystem, N.Y. Times, Feb. 1, 1986, at A12. Critics of the Moynihan/Moyers thesis have argued that it scapegoats the Black family generally and Black women in particular. For a series of responses, see Scapegoating the Black Family, NATION,July 24, 1989 (special issue, edited by Jewell Handy Gresham and Margaret B. Wilkerson, with contributions from Margaret Burnham, Constance Clayton, Dorothy Height, Faye Wattleton, and Marian Wright Edelman). For an analysis of the media's endorsement of the Moynihan/Moyers thesis, see CARLGINSBURG, RACEANDMEDIA:THEENDURINGLIFEOF THEMOYNIHANREPORT(1989). 43. Domestic violence relates directly to issues that even those who subscribe to Ali's position must also be concerned about. The socioeconomic condition of Black males has been one such central concern. Recent statistics estimate that 25% of Black males in their twenties are involved in the criminal justice systems. See David G. Savage, Young Black Males in Jail or in Court Control Study Says, L.A. Times, Feb. 27, 1990, at Al; Newsday, Feb. 27, 1990, at 15; Study Shows Racial Imbalance in Penal System, N.Y. Times, Feb. 27, 1990, at A18. One would think that the linkages between violence in the home and the violence on the streets would alone persuade those like Ali to conclude that the African-Americancommunity cannot afford domestic violence and the patriarchal values that support it. 44. A pressing problem is the way domestic violence reproduces itself in subsequent generations. It is estimated that boys who witness violence against women are ten times more likely to batter female partners as adults. Women and Violence:Hearings Before the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary on Legislation to Reduce the Growing Problem of Violent Crime Against Women, 101st Cong., 2d Sess., pt. 2, at 89 (1991) [hereinafterHearings on Violent Crime Against Women] (testimony of Charlotte Fedders). Other associated problems for boys who witness violence against women include higher rates of suicide, violent assault, sexual assault, and alcohol and drug use. Id., pt. 2, at 131 (statement of Sarah M. Buel, Assistant District Attorney, Massachusetts, and Supervisor, Harvard Law School Battered Women's Advocacy Project). 45. Id. at 142 (statement of Susan Kelly-Dreiss) (discussing several studies in Pennsylvania linking homelessness to domestic violence). 46. Id. at 143 (statement of Susan Kelly-Dreiss). 47. Another historical example includes Eldridge Cleaver, who argued that he raped white women as an assault upon the white community. Cleaver "practiced" on Black women first. ELDRIDGE CLEAVER, SOUL ON ICE 14-15 (1968). Despite the appearanceof misogyny in both works, each professes to worship Black women as "queens"of the Black community. This "queenly subservience" parallels closely the image of the "woman on a pedestal" against which white feminists have railed. Because Black women have been denied pedestal status within dominant society, the image of the African queen has some appeal to many African-American women. Although it is not a 1256 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 the political or culturalinterestsof the communityare interpretedin a way that precludesfull public recognitionof the problem of domestic violence. While it would be misleadingto suggest that white Americanshave come to terms with the degree of violence in their own homes, it is nonethelessthe case that race adds yet another dimensionto why the problemof domestic violence is suppressedwithin nonwhite communities. People of color often must weigh their interests in avoiding issues that might reinforcedistorted public perceptionsagainst the need to acknowledgeand address intracommunity problems. Yet the cost of suppressionis seldom recognizedin part becausethe failureto discuss the issue shapesperceptionsof how seriousthe problemis in the first place. The controversyover Alice Walker'snovel The ColorPurplecan be understood as an intracommunitydebate about the political costs of exposing gender violence within the Black community.48 Some critics chastised Walkerfor portrayingBlack men as violent brutes.49One critic lambasted Walker'sportrayalof Celie, the emotionallyand physicallyabusedprotagonist who finallytriumphsin the end. Walker,the critic contended,had created in Celie a Black woman whom she couldn't imagine existing in any Black communityshe knew or could conceive of.50 The claim that Celie was somehow an unauthenticcharactermight be read as a consequenceof silencing discussion of intracommunityviolence. Celie may be unlike any Black woman we know because the real terrorexperienceddaily by minority women is routinely concealed in a misguided (though perhapsunderstandable)attemptto forestallracialstereotyping. Of course, it is true that representationsof Black violence-whether statistical or fictional-are often written into a largerscript that consistentlyportrays Black and other minoritycommunitiesas pathologicallyviolent. The problem, however, is not so much the portrayalof violence itself as it is the absence of other narrativesand images portraying a fuller range of Black experience. Suppressionof some of these issues in the name of antiracism imposesreal costs. Whereinformationabout violencein minoritycommunifeminist position, there are significant ways in which the promulgation of the image directly counters the intersectional effects of racism and sexism that have denied African-American women a perch in the "gilded cage." 48. ALICEWALKER,THE COLORPURPLE(1982). The most severe criticism of Walker developed after the book was filmed as a movie. Donald Bogle, a film historian, argued that part of the criticism of the movie stemmed from the one-dimensional portrayalof Mister, the abusive man. See Jacqueline Trescott, Passions Over Purple; Anger and Unease Over Film's Depiction of Black Men, Wash. Post, Feb. 5, 1986, at C1. Bogle argues that in the novel, Walker linked Mister's abusive conduct to his oppression in the white world-since Mister "can't be himself, he has to assert himself with the black woman." The movie failed to make any connection between Mister's abusive treatment of Black women and racism, and thereby presented Mister only as an "insensitive, callous man." Id. 49. See, e.g., Gerald Early, Her Picture in the Papers:RememberingSome Black Women, ANTAEUS, Spring 1988, at 9; DarylPinckney, Black Victims, Black Villains, N.Y. REVIEW OF BOOKS, Jan. 29, 1987, at 17; Trescott, supra note 48. 50. Trudier Harris, On the Color Purple, Stereotypes,and Silence, 18 BLACK AM. LIT. F. 155, 155 (1984). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1257 ties is not available,domesticviolenceis unlikelyto be addressedas a serious issue. The political imperativesof a narrowly focused antiraciststrategy support other practicesthat isolate women of color. For example,activistswho have attemptedto providesupportservicesto Asian- and African-American women reportintense resistancefrom those communities.51At other times, culturaland social factors contributeto suppression. Nilda Rimonte, director of Everywoman'sShelter in Los Angeles, points out that in the Asian community,saving the honor of the family from shame is a priority.52Unfortunately,this priority tends to be interpretedas obliging women not to scream rather than obliging men not to hit. Race and culture contributeto the suppressionof domestic violence in other ways as well. Women of color are often reluctantto call the police, a hesitancy likely due to a general unwillingnessamong people of color to subjecttheir privatelives to the scrutinyand control of a police force that is frequentlyhostile. There is also a more generalizedcommunityethic against public intervention,the product of a desire to create a private world free from the diverseassaultson the public lives of raciallysubordinatedpeople. The home is not simply a man's castle in the patriarchalsense, but may also function as a safe haven from the indignitiesof life in a racist society. However, but for this "safe haven"in many cases, women of color victimizedby violence might otherwise seek help. There is also a generaltendencywithin antiracistdiscourseto regardthe problemof violence against women of color as just anothermanifestationof racism. In this sense, the relevanceof gender dominationwithin the community is reconfiguredas a consequenceof discriminationagainst men. Of 51. The source of the resistance reveals an interesting difference between the Asian-American and African-American communities. In the African-American community, the resistance is usually grounded in efforts to avoid confirming negative stereotypes of African-Americans as violent; the concern of members in some Asian-American communities is to avoid tarnishing the model minority myth. Interview with Nilda Rimonte, Director of the Everywoman Shelter, in Los Angeles, California (April 19, 1991). 52. Nilda Rimonte, A Question of Culture: Cultural Approvalof ViolenceAgainst Women in the Pacific-AsianCommunityand the Cultural Defense, 43 STAN.L. REV. 1311 (1991); see also Nilda OF WRITRimonte, Domestic ViolenceAgainst Pacific Asians, in MAKINGWAVES:AN ANTHOLOGY INGSBY ANDABOUTASIANAMERICAN WOMEN327, 328 (Asian Women United of California ed. 1989) ("Traditionally Pacific Asians conceal and deny problems that threaten group pride and may bring on shame. Because of the strong emphasis on obligations to the family, a Pacific Asian woman will often remain silent rather than admit to a problem that might disgrace her family."). Additionally, the possibility of ending the marriage may inhibit an immigrant woman from seeking help. Tina Shum, a family counselor, explains that a "'divorce is a shame on the whole family.... The Asian woman who divorces feels tremendous guilt.'" Of course, one could, in an attempt to be sensitive to cultural difference, stereotype a culture or defer to it in ways that abandon women to abuse. When-or, more importantly, how-to take culture into account when addressing the needs of women of color is a complicated issue. Testimony as to the particularitiesof Asian "culture" has increasingly been used in trials to determine the culpability of both Asian immigrant women and men who are charged with crimes of interpersonal violence. A position on the use of the "cultural defense" in these instances depends on how "culture" is being defined as well as on whether and to what extent the "cultural defense" has been used differently for Asian men and Asian women. See Leti Volpp, (Mis)Identifying Culture:Asian Women and the "Cultural Defense," (unpublished manuscript) (on file with the Stanford Law Review). 1258 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 course, it is probablytrue that racism contributesto the cycle of violence, given the stress that men of color experiencein dominantsociety. It is therefore more than reasonableto explore the links between racismand domestic violence. But the chain of violenceis more complexand extendsbeyondthis single link. Racism is linked to patriarchyto the extent that racism denies men of color the power and privilegethat dominantmen enjoy. When violence is understoodas an acting-out of being denied male power in other spheres, it seems counterproductiveto embrace constructs that implicitly link the solution to domestic violence to the acquisition of greater male power. The more promisingpolitical imperativeis to challenge the legitimacy of such power expectations by exposing their dysfunctional and debilitatingeffect on families and communities of color. Moreover, while understandinglinks between racism and domestic violence is an important componentof any effectiveinterventionstrategy,it is also clear that women of color need not await the ultimate triumph over racism before they can expect to live violence-freelives. 2. Race and the domesticviolencelobby. Not only do race-basedprioritiesfunctionto obscurethe problemof violence sufferedby women of color; feministconcernsoften suppressminority experiencesas well. Strategiesfor increasingawarenessof domestic violence within the white community tend to begin by citing the commonly shared assumptionthat batteringis a minorityproblem. The strategythen focuses on demolishingthis strawman,stressingthat spousalabusealso occurs in the white community. Countlessfirst-personstoriesbegin with a statementlike, "I was not supposedto be a batteredwife." That batteringoccurs in families of all races and all classes seems to be an ever-presenttheme of anti-abuse campaigns.53First-personanecdotes and studies, for example, consistently assert that batteringcuts across racial, ethnic, economic, educational,and religiouslines.54 Such disclaimersseem relevantonly in the presenceof an 53. See, e.g., Hearings on ViolentCrimeAgainst Women,supra note 44, pt. 1, at 101 (testimony of Roni Young, Director of Domestic Violence Unit, Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City, Baltimore, Maryland) ("The victims do not fit a mold by any means."); Id. pt. 2, at 89 (testimony of Charlotte Fedders) ("Domestic violence occurs in all economic, cultural, racial, and religious groups. There is not a typical woman to be abused."); Id. pt. 2 at 139 (statement of Susan Kelly-Dreiss, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence) ("Victims come from a wide spectrum of life experiences and backgrounds. Women can be beaten in any neighborhood and in any town."). 54. See, e.g., LENOREF. WALKER,TERRIFYING LOVE:WHYBATTERED WOMENKILLAND How SOCIETY RESPONDS101-02 (1989) ("Battered women come from all types of economic, cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds.... They are women like you. Like me. Like those whom BEyou know and love."); MURRAYA. STRAUS,RICHARDJ. GELLES,SUZANNEK. STEINMETZ, HINDCLOSEDDOORS:VIOLENCE IN THEAMERICAN FAMILY31 (1980) ("Wife-beatingis found in every class, at every income level."); Natalie Loder Clark, Crime Begins At Home: Let's Stop Punishing Victims and Perpetuating Violence, 28 WM. & MARYL. REV. 263, 282 n.74 (1987) ("The problem of domestic violence cuts across all social lines and affects 'families regardlessof their economic class, race, national origin, or educational background.' Commentators have indicated that domestic violence is prevalent among upper middle-class families.") (citations omitted); Kathleen Waits, The Criminal Justice System's Response to Battering. Understandingthe Problem, Forging the Solutions, 60 WASH. L. REV. 267, 276 (1985) ("It is important to emphasize that wife abuse is prevalent July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1259 initial, widely held belief that domesticviolence occurs primarilyin minority or poor families. Indeed some authorities explicitly renounce the "stereotypical myths" about batteredwomen.55 A few commentatorshave even transformedthe message that batteringis not exclusivelya problem of the poor or minority communitiesinto a claim that it equally affects all races and classes.56 Yet these comments seem less concernedwith exploringdomestic abusewithin "stereotyped"communitiesthan with removingthe stereotype as an obstacleto exposingbatteringwithin white middle- and upperclass communities.57 Effortsto politicize the issue of violence againstwomen challengebeliefs that violence occurs only in homes of "others." While it is unlikely that advocatesand others who adopt this rhetoricalstrategyintend to exclude or ignore the needs of poor and colored women, the underlyingpremiseof this seemingly univeralisticappeal is to keep the sensibilitiesof dominantsocial throughout our society. Recently collected data merely confirm what people working with victims have long known: battering occurs in all social and economic groups.") (citations omitted); Liza G. Lerman, Mediation of Wife Abuse Cases: The adverse Impact of Informal Dispute Resolution on Women, 7 HARV.WOMEN'SL.J. 57, 63 (1984) ("Battering occurs in all racial, economic, and religious groups, in rural, urban, and suburbansettings.") (citation omitted); Steven M. Cook, Domestic Abuse Legislation in Illinois and OtherStates: A Survey and Suggestionsfor Reform, 1983 U. ILL. L. REV. 261, 262 (1983) (student author) ("Although domestic violence is difficult to measure, several studies suggest that spouse abuse is an extensive problem, one which strikes families regardless of their economic class, race, national origin, or educational background.") (citations omitted). 55. For example, Susan Kelly-Dreiss states: The public holds many myths about battered women-they are poor, they are women of color, they are uneducated, they are on welfare, they deserve to be beaten and they even like it. However, contrary to common misperceptions, domestic violence is not confined to any one socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial or age group. Hearings on Violent Crime Against Women, supra note 44, pt. 2, at 139 (testimony of Susan KellyDreiss, Executive Director, Pa. Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Kathleen Waits offers a possible explanation for this misperception: It is true that battered women who are also poor are more likely to come to the attention of governmental officials than are their middle- and upper-class counterparts. However, this phenomenon is caused more by the lack of alternative resources and the intrusiveness of the welfare state than by any significantly higher incidence of violence among lower-class families. Waits, supra note 54, at 276-77 (citations omitted). 56. However, no reliable statistics support such a claim. In fact, some statistics suggest that there is a greater frequency of violence among the working classes and the poor. See M. STRAUS,R. GELLES, & S. STEINMETZ, supra note 54, at 31. Yet these statistics are also unreliable because, to follow Waits's observation, violence in middle- and upper-class homes remains hidden from the view of statisticians and governmental officials alike. See note 55 supra. I would suggest that assertions that the problem is the same across race and class are driven less by actual knowledge about the prevalence of domestic violence in different communities than by advocates' recognition that the image of domestic violence as an issue involving primarily the poor and minorities complicates efforts to mobilize against it. 57. On January 14, 1991, Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.) introduced Senate Bill 15, the Violence Against Women Act of 1991, comprehensive legislation addressing violent crime confronting women. S. 15, 102d Cong., 1st Sess. (1991). The bill consists of several measures designed to create safe streets, safe homes, and safe campuses for women. More specifically, Title III of the bill creates a civil rights remedy for crimes of violence motivated by the victim's gender. Id. ? 301. Among the findings supporting the bill were "(1) crimes motivated by the victim's gender constitute bias crimes in violation of the victim's right to be free from discrimination on the basis of gender" and "(2) current law [does not provide a civil rights remedy] for gender crimes committed on the street or in the home." S. REP. No. 197, 102d Cong., 1st Sess. 27 (1991). 1260 STANFORD LAW REVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 groups focused on the experiences of those groups. Indeed, as subtly suggested by the opening comments of Senator David Boren (D-Okla.) in support of the Violence Against Women Act of 1991, the displacement of the "other" as the presumed victim of domestic violence works primarily as a political appeal to rally white elites. Boren said, Violent crimes against women are not limited to the streets of the inner cities, but also occur in homes in the urban and rural areas across the country. Violence against women affects not only those who are actually beaten and brutalized,but indirectlyaffectsall women. Today, our wives, mothers, daughters,sisters, and colleagues are held captive by fear generatedfrom these violent crimes-held captivenot for what they do or who they are, but solely becauseof gender.58 Rather than focusing on and illuminating how violence is disregarded when the home is "othered," the strategy implicit in Senator Boren's remarks functions instead to politicize the problem only in the dominant community. This strategy permits white women victims to come into focus, but does little to disrupt the patterns of neglect that permitted the problem to continue as long as it was imagined to be a minority problem. The experience of violence by minority women is ignored, except to the extent it gains white support for domestic violence programs in the white community. Senator Boren and his colleagues no doubt believe that they have provided legislation and resources that will address the problems of all women victimized by domestic violence. Yet despite their universalizing rhetoric of "all" women, they were able to empathize with female victims of domestic violence only by looking past the plight of "other" women and by recognizing the familiar faces of their own. The strength of the appeal to "protect our women" must be its race and class specificity. After all, it has always been someone's wife, mother, sister, or daughter that has been abused, even when the violence was stereotypically Black or Brown, and poor. The point here is not that the Violence Against Women Act is particularistic on its own terms, but that unless the Senators and other policymakers ask why violence remained insignificant as long as it was understood as a minority problem, it is unlikely that women of color will share equally in the distribution of resources and concern. It is even more unlikely, however, that those in power will be forced to confront this issue. As long as attempts to politicize domestic violence focus on convincing whites that this is not a "minority" problem but their problem, any authentic and sensitive attention to the 58. 137 Cong. Rec. S611 (daily ed. Jan. 14, 1991) (statement of Sen. Boren). Senator William Cohen (D-Me.) followed with a similar statement, noting that rapes and domestic assaults are not limited to the streets of our inner cities or to those few highly publicized cases that we read about in the newspapers or see on the evening news. Women throughout the country, in our Nation's urban areas and rural communities, are being beaten and brutalized in the streets and in their homes. It is our mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, neighbors, and coworkers who are being victimized; and in many cases, they are being victimized by family members, friends, and acquaintances. Id. (statement of Sen. Cohen). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1261 experiencesof Black and other minoritywomen probablywill continueto be regardedas jeopardizingthe movement. While SenatorBoren'sstatementreflectsa self-consciouslypoliticalpresentation of domestic violence, an episode of the CBS news program 48 Hours59shows how similarpatternsof otheringnonwhitewomen are apparent in journalistic accounts of domestic violence as well. The program presentedseven women who were victims of abuse. Six were interviewedat some length along with their family members,friends,supporters,and even detractors. The viewer got to know somethingabout each of these women. These victims were humanized. Yet the seventh woman, the only nonwhite one, never came into focus. She was literallyunrecognizablethroughoutthe segment,first introducedby photographsshowing her face badly beatenand later shown with her face electronicallyalteredin the videotapeof a hearing at which she was forcedto testify. Otherimagesassociatedwith this woman included shots of a bloodstainedroom and blood-soakedpillows. Her boyfriendwas picturedhandcuffedwhile the camerazoomed in for a close-upof his bloodied sneakers. Of all the presentationsin the episode, hers was the most graphicand impersonal. The overall point of the segment "featuring" this woman was that batteringmight not escalate into homicide if battered women would only cooperate with prosecutors. In focusing on its own agendaand failing to explorewhy this woman refusedto cooperate,the program diminishedthis woman, communicating,howeversubtly, that she was responsiblefor her own victimization. Unlike the other women, all of whom, again, were white, this Black woman had no name, no family, no context. The viewer sees her only as victimized and uncooperative. She cries when shown pictures. She pleads not to be forced to view the bloodstainedroom and her disfiguredface. The programdoes not help the viewer to understandher predicament. The possible reasons she did not want to testify-fear, love, or possibly both-are never suggested.60Most unfortunately,she, unlike the other six, is given no epilogue. While the fates of the other women are revealedat the end of the episode,we discovernothing about the Black woman. She, like the "others" she represents,is simply left to herself and soon forgotten. I offer this descriptionto suggest that "other" women are silenced as much by being relegatedto the margin of experienceas by total exclusion. Tokenistic,objectifying,voyeuristicinclusionis at least as disempoweringas complete exclusion. The effortto politicize violence against women will do little to addressBlack and other minoritywomen if their imagesare retained simply to magnify the problem rather than to humanize their experiences. Similarly,the antiracistagendawill not be advancedsignificantlyby forcibly suppressingthe reality of battering in minority communities. As the 48 Hours episode makes clear, the images and stereotypeswe fear are readily 59. 48 Hours: Till Death Do Us Part (CBS television broadcast, Feb. 6, 1991). 60. See Christine A. Littleton, Women'sExperienceand the Problemof Transition:Perspectives on Male Battering of Women, 1989 U. CHI. LEGALF. 23. 1262 STANFORD LAW REVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 available and are frequently deployed in ways that do not generate sensitive understanding of the nature of domestic violence in minority communities. 3. Race and domestic violence support services. Women working in the field of domestic violence have sometimes reproduced the subordination and marginalization of women of color by adopting policies, priorities, or strategies of empowerment that either elide or wholly disregard the particular intersectional needs of women of color. While gender, race, and class intersect to create the particular context in which women of color experience violence, certain choices made by "allies" can reproduce intersectional subordination within the very resistance strategies designed to respond to the problem. This problem is starkly illustrated by the inaccessibility of domestic violence support services to many non-English-speaking women. In a letter written to the deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services, Diana Campos, Director of Human Services for Programas de Ocupaciones y Desarrollo Econ6mico Real, Inc. (PODER), detailed the case of a Latina in crisis who was repeatedly denied accomodation at a shelter because she could not prove that she was English-proficient. The woman had fled her home with her teenaged son, believing her husband's threats to kill them both. She called the domestic violence hotline administered by PODER seeking shelter for herself and her son. Because most shelters would not accommodate the woman with her son, they were forced to live on the streets for two days. The hotline counselor was finally able to find an agency that would take both the mother and the son, but when the counselor told the intake coordinator at the shelter that the woman spoke limited English, the coordinator told her that they could not take anyone who was not English-proficient. When the woman in crisis called back and was told of the shelter's "rule," she replied that she could understand English if spoken to her slowly. As Campos explains, Mildred, the hotline counselor, told Wendy, the intake coordinator that the womansaid that she could communicatea little in English. Wendy told Mildred that they could not provide services to this woman because they have house rules that the woman must agree to follow. Mildredasked her, "Whatif the woman agreesto follow your rules? Will you still not take her?" Wendyrespondedthat all of the women at the shelterare requiredto attend [a] supportgroupand they would not be able to have her in the group if she could not communicate. Mildredmentionedthe severityof this woman'scase. She told Wendythat the womanhad been wanderingthe streets at night while her husbandis home, and she had been mugged twice. She also reiteratedthe fact that this woman was in danger of being killed by eitherher husbandor a mugger. Mildredexpressedthat the woman'ssafety was a priorityat this point, and that once in a safe place, receivingcounseling in a supportgroup could be dealt with.61 61. Letter of Diana M. Campos, Director of Human Services, PODER, to Joseph Semidei, July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1263 The intake coordinator restated the shelter's policy of taking only English-speaking women, and stated further that the woman would have to call the shelter herself for screening. If the woman could communicate with them in English, she might be accepted. When the woman called the PODER hotline later that day, she was in such a state of fear that the hotline counselor who had been working with her had difficulty understanding her in Spanish.62 Campos directly intervened at this point, calling the executive director of the shelter. A counselor called back from the shelter. As Campos reports, Marie [the counselor]told me that they did not want to take the woman in the shelterbecausethey felt that the womanwould feel isolated. I explained that the son agreed to translatefor his mother during the intake process. Furthermore,that we would assist them in locating a Spanish-speakingbattered women'sadvocateto assist in counselingher. Mariestated that utilizing the son was not an acceptablemeansof communicationfor them,since it further victimizedthe victim. In addition, she stated that they had similar experienceswith women who were non-English-speaking,and that the women eventuallyjust left because they were not able to communicatewith anyone. I expressedmy extremeconcern for her safety and reiteratedthat we would assist them in providingher with the necessaryservicesuntil we could get her placed someplacewhere they had bilingualstaff.63 After several more calls, the shelter finally agreed to take the woman. The woman called once more during the negotiation; however, after a plan was in place, the woman never called back. Said Campos, "After so many calls, we are now left to wonder if she is alive and well, and if she will ever have enough faith in our ability to help her to call us again the next time she is in crisis."64 Despite this woman's desperate need, she was unable to receive the protection afforded English-speaking women, due to the shelter's rigid commitment to exclusionary policies. Perhaps even more troubling than the shelter's lack of bilingual resources was its refusal to allow a friend or relative to translate for the woman. This story illustrates the absurdity of a feminist approach that would make the ability to attend a support group without a translator a more significant consideration in the distribution of resources than the risk of physical harm on the street. The point is not that the shelter's image of empowerment is empty, but rather that it was imposed without regard to the disempowering consequences for women who didn't match the kind of client the shelter's administrators imagined. And thus they failed to accomplish the basic priority of the shelter movement-to get the woman out of danger. Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department of Social Services (Mar. 26, 1992) [hereinafter PODER Letter]. 62. The woman had been slipping back into her home during the day when her husband was at work. She remained in a heightened state of anxiety because he was returningshortly and she would be forced to go back out into the streets for yet another night. 63. PODER Letter, supra note 61 (emphasis added). 64. Id. 1264 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 Here the woman in crisis was made to bear the burden of the shelter's refusalto anticipateand providefor the needs of non-English-speakingwomen. Said Campos,"It is unfairto impose more stress on victims by placing them in the position of having to demonstratetheir proficiencyin English in order to receive services that are readily available to other battered women."65The problemis not easily dismissedas one of well-intentionedignorance. The specific issue of monolingualism and the monistic view of women'sexperiencethat set the stage for this tragedywere not new issues in New York. Indeed, several women of color reportedthat they had repeatedly struggled with the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence over language exclusion and other practices that marginalizedthe interestsof women of color.66 Yet despite repeatedlobbying,the Coalition did not act to incorporatethe specific needs of nonwhite women into its central organizingvision. Some critics have linked the Coalition'sfailureto addressthese issues to the narrow vision of coalition that animatedits interactionwith women of color in the first place. The very location of the Coalition'sheadquartersin Woodstock,New York-an area where few people of color live-seemed to guaranteethat women of color would play a limited role in formulatingpolicy. Moreover,efforts to include women of color came, it seems, as something of an afterthought. Many were invited to participateonly after the Coalitionwas awardeda grantby the state to recruitwomen of color. However, as one "recruit"said, "they were not really preparedto deal with us or our issues. They thought that they could simply incorporateus into their organizationwithout rethinkingany of their beliefs or prioritiesand that we would be happy."67Even the most formal gesturesof inclusionwere not to be taken for granted. On one occasion when several women of color attended a meeting to discuss a special task force on women of color, the group debatedall day over including the issue on the agenda.68 The relationshipbetween the white women and the women of color on the Boardwas a rocky one from beginningto end. Otherconflictsdeveloped over differingdefinitionsof feminism. For example, the Board decided to hire a Latina staffpersonto manage outreach programsto the Latino community, but the white membersof the hiring committee rejectedcandidates favoredby Latinacommitteememberswho did not have recognizedfeminist 65. Id. 66. Roundtable Discussion on Racism and the Domestic Violence Movement (April 2, 1992) (transcript on file with the Stanford Law Review). The participants in the discussion-Diana Campos, Director, Bilingual Outreach Project of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Elsa A. Rios, Project Director, Victim Intervention Project (a community-based project in East Harlem, New York, serving battered women); and Haydee Rosario, a social worker with the East Harlem Council for Human Services and a Victim Intervention Project volunteer-recounted conflicts relating to race and culture during their association with the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a state oversight group that distributed resources to battered women's shelters throughout the state and generally set policy priorities for the shelters that were part of the Coalition. 67. Id. 68. Id. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1265 credentials. As Campos pointed out, by measuring Latinas against their own biographies,the white membersof the Board failed to recognize the different circumstancesunder which feminist consciousness develops and manifestsitself within minority communities. Many of the women who interviewedfor the position were establishedactivists and leaderswithin their own community,a fact in itself suggestingthat these women were probably familiar with the specific gender dynamics in their communitiesand were accordinglybetter qualifiedto handle outreach than other candidateswith more conventionalfeminist credentials.69 The Coalitionendeda few months later when the women of color walked out.70 Many of these women returnedto community-basedorganizations, preferringto struggle over women's issues within their communitiesrather than struggleover race and class issues with white middle-classwomen. Yet as illustratedby the case of the Latina who could find no shelter, the dominance of a particularperspectiveand set of prioritieswithin the sheltercommunity continues to marginalizethe needs of women of color. The struggle over which differencesmatter and which do not is neither an abstract nor an insignificantdebate among women. Indeed, these conflicts are about more than differenceas such; they raise critical issues of power. The problem is not simply that women who dominate the antiviolence movementare differentfrom women of color but that they frequently have power to determine, either through material or rhetorical resources, whetherthe intersectionaldifferencesof women of color will be incorporated at all into the basic formulationof policy. Thus, the struggleover incorporatingthese differencesis not a petty or superficialconflictabout who gets to sit at the head of the table. In the context of violence, it is sometimes a deadly serious matter of who will survive-and who will not.71 B. Political Intersectionalitiesin Rape In the previous sections, I have used intersectionalityto describe or frame various relationshipsbetween race and gender. I have used intersectionality as a way to articulatethe interactionof racismand patriarchygenerally. I have also used intersectionalityto describethe location of women of color both within overlappingsystems of subordinationand at the margins of feminism and antiracism. When race and gender factors are examined in the context of rape, intersectionalitycan be used to map the ways in which racism and patriarchyhave shaped conceptualizationsof rape, to describethe uniquevulnerabilityof women of color to these convergingsys69. Id. 70. Ironically, the specific dispute that led to the walk-out concerned the housing of the Spanish-language domestic violence hotline. The hotline was initially housed at the Coalition's headquarters, but languished after a succession of coordinators left the organization. Latinas on the Coalition board argued that the hotline should be housed at one of the community service agencies, while the board insisted on maintaining control of it. The hotline is now housed at PODER. Id. 71. Said Campos, "It would be a shame that in New York state a battered woman's life or death were dependent upon her English language skills." PODER Letter, supra note 61. 1266 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 tems of domination, and to track the marginalizationof women of color within antiracistand antirapediscourses.72 1. Racism and sexism in dominantconceptualizationsof rape. Generationsof critics and activistshave criticizeddominantconceptualizations of rape as racist and sexist. These efforts have been importantin revealing the way in which representations of rape both reflect and reproducerace and genderhierarchiesin Americansociety.73Black women, as both women and people of color, are situatedwithin both groups,each of which has benefittedfrom challengesto sexism and racism,respectively,and yet the particulardynamicsof genderand race relatingto the rape of Black women have receivedscant attention. Although antiracistand antisexistassaults on rapehave been politicallyusefulto Black women, at some level, the monofocal antiracist and feminist critiques have also produced a political discoursethat disservesBlack women. Historically,the dominant conceptualizationof rape as quintessentially Black offender/whitevictim has left Black men subjectto legal and extralegal violence. The use of rape to legitimize effortsto control and discipline the Black communityis well established,and the casting of all Black men as potential threats to the sanctity of white womanhood was a familiar construct that antiracistsconfrontedand attemptedto dispel over a centuryago. Feministshave attackedother dominant,essentiallypatriarchal,conceptions of rape, particularlyas representedthroughlaw. The early emphasisof rape law on the property-likeaspect of women's chastity resultedin less solicitude for rape victims whose chastity had been in some way devalued. Some of the most insidiousassumptionswere writteninto the law, including the early common-lawnotion that a woman alleging rape must be able to show that she resistedto the utmost in order to prove that she was raped, ratherthan seduced. Womenthemselveswere put on trial, as judge andjury scrutinizedtheir lives to determinewhether they were innocent victims or women who essentiallygot what they were askingfor. Legal rules thus functioned to legitimizea good woman/bad woman dichotomyin which women who lead sexuallyautonomouslives were usuallyleast likely to be vindicated if they were raped. 72. The discussion in following section focuses rather narrowly on the dynamics of a Black/ white sexual hierarchy. I specify African Americans in part because given the centrality of sexuality as a site of racial domination of African Americans, any generalizations that might be drawn from this history seem least applicable to other racial groups. To be sure, the specific dynamics of racial oppression experienced by other racial groups are likely to have a sexual componant as well. Indeed, the repertoireof racist imagery that is commonly associated with differentracial groups each contain a sexual stereotype as well. These images probably influence the way that rapes involving other minority groups are perceived both internally and in society-at-large, but they are likely to function in different ways. 73. For example, the use of rape to legitimize efforts to control and discipline the Black community is well established in historical literature on rape and race. See JOYCEE. WILLIAMS& KARENA. HOLMES,THE SECONDASSAULT:RAPEANDPUBLICATTITUDES 26 (1981) ("Rape, or the threat of rape, is an important tool of social control in a complex system of racial-sexual stratification."). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1267 Today, long afterthe most egregiousdiscriminatorylaws have been eradicated, constructionsof rape in popular discourseand in criminal law continue to manifestvestigesof these racistand sexist themes. As ValerieSmith notes, "a variety of cultural narrativesthat historicallyhave linked sexual violence with racial oppressioncontinue to determinethe nature of public responseto [interracialrapes]."74Smith reviewsthe well-publicizedcase of a jogger who was raped in New York's Central Park75to expose how the publicdiscourseon the assault"madethe story of sexualvictimizationinseparablefrom the rhetoricof racism."76Smith contendsthat in dehumanizing the rapistsas "savages,""wolves,"and "beasts,"the press "shapedthe discourse around the event in ways that inflamedpervasivefears about black men."77 Given the chilling parallelsbetween the media representationsof the CentralPark rape and the sensationalizedcoverageof similarallegations that in the past frequentlyculminatedin lynchings,one could hardlybe surprisedwhen Donald Trumptook out a full page ad in four New York newspapers demandingthat New York "Bring Back the Death Penalty, Bring Back Our Police."78 Other media spectaclessuggest that traditionalgender-basedstereotypes that are oppressiveto women continue to figurein the popularconstruction of rape. In Florida, for example, a controversywas sparkedby a jury's acquittal of a man accused of a brutal rape because, in the jurors' view, the woman's attire suggestedthat she was asking for sex.79 Even the press cov74. Valerie Smith, Split Affinities: The Case of Interracial Rape, in CONFLICTS IN FEMINISM 271, 274 (Marianne Hirsch & Evelyn Fox Keller eds. 1990). 75. On April 18, 1989, a young white woman, jogging through New York's Central Park, was raped, severely beaten, and left unconscious in an attack by as many as 12 Black youths. Craig Wolff, YouthsRape and Beat Central Park Jogger, N.Y. Times, Apr. 21, 1989, at B1. 76. Smith, supra note 74, at 276-78. 77. Smith cites the use of animal images to characterize the accused Black rapists, including descriptions such as: "'a wolfpack of more than a dozen young teenagers' and '[t]here was a full moon Wednesday night. A suitable backdrop for the howling of wolves. A vicious pack ran rampant through Central Park.... This was bestial brutality.' " An editorial in the New York Times was entitled "The Jogger and the Wolf Pack." Id. at 277 (citations omitted). Evidence of the ongoing link between rape and racism in American culture is by no means unique to media coverage of the Central Park jogger case. In December 1990, the George Washington University student newspaper, The Hatchet, printed a story in which a white student alleged that she had been raped at knifepoint by two Black men on or near the campus. The story caused considerable racial tension. Shortly after the report appeared, the woman's attorney informed the campus police that his client had fabricated the attack. After the hoax was uncovered, the woman said that she hoped the story "would highlight the problems of safety for women." Felicity Banger, False Rape Report UpsettingCampus, N.Y. Times, Dec. 12, 1990, at A2; see also Les Payne, A Rape Hoax Stirs Up Hate, Newsday, Dec. 16, 1990, at 6. 78. William C. Troft, Deadly Donald, UPI, Apr. 30 1989. Donald Trump explained that he spent $85,000 to take out these ads because "I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes." Trump Calls for Death to Muggers, L.A. Times, May 1, 1989, at A2. But cf. Leaders Fear 'Lynch'Hysteria in Response to TrumpAds, UPI, May 6, 1989 (community leaders feared that Trump's ads would fan "the flames of racial polarization and hatred"); Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Cost of Full-Page Ad Could Help Fight Causes of Urban Violence, N.Y. Times, May 15, 1989, at A18 ("Mr. Trump's proposal could well lead to further violence."). 79. Ian Ball, Rape Victim to Blame, Says Jury, Daily Telegraph, Oct. 6, 1989, at 3. Two months after the acquittal, the same man pled guilty to raping a Georgia woman to whom he said, 1268 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 erage of William Kennedy Smith's rape trial involved a considerabledegree of speculationregardingthe sexual history of his accuser.80 The racism and sexism written into the social constructionof rape are merely contemporarymanifestationsof rape narrativesemanating from a historicalperiodwhen race and sex hierarchieswere more explicitlypoliced. Yet another is the devaluationof Black women and the marginalizationof their sexual victimizations. This was dramaticallyshown in the special attention given to the rape of the CentralParkjogger duringa week in which twenty-eightother cases of first-degreerape or attemptedrape were reported in New York.81 Many of these rapes were as horrificas the rape in Central Park, yet all were virtuallyignoredby the media. Some were gang rapes,82 and in a case that prosecutorsdescribedas was "one of the most brutal in recent years," a woman was raped, sodomized and thrown fifty feet off the top of a four-storybuildingin Brooklyn. Witnessestestifiedthat the victim "screamed as she plunged down the air shaft.... She suffered fractures of both ankles and legs, her pelvis was shattered and she sufferedextensive internalinjuries."83This rape survivor,like most of the other forgottenvictims that week, was a woman of color. In short, during the period when the CentralParkjogger dominatedthe headlines,many equallyhorrifyingrapes occurred. None, however,elicited the public expressionsof horrorand outragethat attendedthe CentralPark rape.84 To account for these differentresponses,ProfessorSmith suggests a "It's your fault. You're wearing a skirt." Roger Simon, Rape: Clothing is Not the Criminal, L.A. Times, Feb. 18, 1990, at E2. 80. See Barbara Kantrowitz, Naming Names, NEWSWEEK, Apr. 29, 1991, at 26 (discussing the tone of several newspaper investigations into the character of the woman who alleged that she was raped by William Kennedy Smith). There were other dubious assumptions animating the coverage. One article described Smith as an "unlikely candidate for the rapist's role." Boy's Night Out in Palm Beach, TIME,Apr. 22, 1991, at 82. But see Hillary Rustin, Letters: The Kennedy Problem, TIME, May 20, 1991, at 7 (criticizing authors for perpetuatingstereotypical images of the who is or is not a "likely" rapist). Smith was eventually acquitted. 81. The New York Times pointed out that "[n]early all the rapes reported during that April week were of black or Hispanic women. Most went unnoticed by the public." Don Terry, In Week of an Infamous Rape, 28 Other VictimsSuffer, N.Y. Times, May 29, 1989, at B25. Nearly all of the rapes occurred between attackers and victims of the same race: "Among the victims were 17 blacks, 7 Hispanic women, 3 whites, and 2 Asians." Id. 82. In Glen Ridge, an affluent New Jersey suburb, five white middle-class teenagers allegedly gang-raped a retarded white woman with a broom handle and a miniature baseball bat. See Robert Hanley, Sexual Assault Splits a New Jersey Town, N.Y. Times, May 26, 1989, at Bl; Derrick Z. Jackson, The Seeds of Violence, Boston Globe, June 2, 1989, at 23; Bill Turque, Gang Rape in the Suburbs, NEWSWEEK, June 5, 1989, at 26. 83. Robert D. McFadden, 2 Men Get 6 to 18 Yearsfor Rape in Brooklyn, N.Y. Times, Oct. 2, 1990, at B2. The woman "lay, half naked, moaning and crying for help until a neighbor heard her" in the air shaft. Community Rallies to Support Victim of Brutal Brooklyn Rape, N.Y. Daily News, June 26, 1989, at 6. The victim "suffered such extensive injuries that she had to learn to walk again .... She faces years of psychological counseling .. ." McFadden, supra. 84. This differentialresponse was epitomized by public reaction to the rape-murderof a young Black woman in Boston on October 31, 1990. Kimberly Rae Harbour, raped and stabbed more than 100 times by eight members of a local gang, was an unwed mother, an occasional prostitute, and a drug-user. The Central Park victim was a white, upper-class professional. The Black woman was raped and murdered intraracially. The white woman was raped and left for dead interracially. The Central Park rape became a national rallying cause against random (read Black male) violence; the July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1269 sexual hierarchyin operationthat holds certain female bodies in higher regard than others.85 Statistics from prosecutionof rape cases suggest that this hierarchy is at least one significant,albeit often overlooked factor in evaluatingattitudes toward rape.86 A study of rape dispositionsin Dallas, for example, showed that the average prison term for a man convicted of raping a Black woman was two years,87as compared to five years for the rape of a Latinaand ten years for the rape of an Anglo woman.88A related issue is the fact that African-Americanvictims of rape are the least likely to be believed.89The Dallas study and others like it also point to a more subtle problem: neitherthe antirapenor the antiracistpolitical agendahas focused on the Black rape victim. This inattentionstems from the way the problem of rape is conceptualizedwithin antiracistand antirapereform discourses. Although the rhetoricof both agendasformally includes Black women, racism is generallynot problematizedin feminism,and sexism, not problematized in antiracistdiscourses. Consequently,the plight of Black women is relegatedto a secondaryimportance: The primarybeneficiariesof policies supportedby feminists and others concerned about rape tend to be white women; the primarybeneficiariesof the Black community's concern over racismand rape, Black men. Ultimately,the reformistand rhetoricalstrategies that have grown out of antiracistand feminist rape reformmovements have been ineffectivein politicizingthe treatmentof Black women. 2. Race and the antirapelobby. Feministcritiquesof rape have focusedon the way rape law has reflected rape of Kimberly Rae Harbour was written into a local script highlighted by the Boston Police Department's siege upon Black men in pursuit of the "fictional" Carol Stuart murderer. See John Ellement, 8 Teen-agers Charged in Rape, Killing of Dorchester Woman, Boston Globe, Nov. 20, 1990, at 1; James S. Kunen, Homicide No. 119, PEOPLE,Jan. 14, 1991, at 42. For a comparison of the Stuart and Harbour murders, see Christopher B. Daly, Scant Attention Paid Victimas Homicides Reach Record in Boston, Wash. Post, Dec. 5, 1990, at A3. 85. Smith points out that "[t]he relative invisibility of black women victims of rape also reflects the differentialvalue of women's bodies in capitalist societies. To the extent that rape is constructed as a crime against the property of privileged white men, crimes against less valuable women-women of color, working-class women, and lesbians, for example-mean less or mean differently than those against white women from the middle and upper classes." Smith, supra note 74, at 275-76. 86. "Cases involving black offendersand black victims were treated the least seriously." GARY D. LAFREE, RAPE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE: THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT (1989). LaFree also notes, however, that "the race composition of the victim-offenderdyad" was not the only predictor of case dispositions. Id. at 219-20. 87. Race Tilts the Scales of Justice. Study: Dallas Punishes Attacks on Whites More Harshly, Dallas Times Herald, Aug. 19, 1990, at Al. A study of 1988 cases in Dallas County's criminal justice system concluded that rapists whose victims were white were punished more severely than those whose victims were Black or Hispanic. The Dallas Times Herald, which had commissioned the study, reported that "[t]he punishment almost doubled when the attacker and victim were of different races. Except for such interracial crime, sentencing disparities were much less pronounced ...." Id. 88. Id. Two criminal law experts, Iowa law professor David Baldus and Carnegie-MellonUniversity professor Alfred Blumstein "said that the racial inequities might be even worse than the figures suggest." Id. 89. See G. LAFREE,supra note 86, at 219-20 (quoting jurors who doubted the credibility of Black rape survivors);see also H. FEILD& L. BIENEN, supra note 35, at 117-18. 1270 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 dominant rules and expectationsthat tightly regulate the sexuality of women. In the context of the rape trial, the formal definitionof rape as well as the evidentiaryrules applicablein a rapetrial discriminateagainstwomenby measuringthe rape victim against a narrownorm of acceptablesexual conduct for women. Deviation from that norm tends to turn women into illegitimate rape victims, leading to rejectionof their claims. Historically,legal rules dictated, for example, that rape victims had to have resisted their assailantsin order for their claims to be accepted. Any abatementof struggle was interpretedas the woman's consent to the intercourse underthe logic that a real rape victim would protecther honor virtually to the death. While utmost resistanceis not formallyrequiredanymore, rape law continuesto weigh the credibilityof women againstnarrownormative standardsof femalebehavior. A woman'ssexual history,for example,is frequentlyexploredby defense attorneysas a way of suggestingthat a woman who consentedto sex on other occasionswas likely to have consentedin the case at issue. Past sexual conduct as well as the specific circumstances leading up to the rape are often used to distinguishthe moral characterof the legitimaterape victim from women who are regardedas morallydebased or in some other way responsiblefor their own victimization. This type of feministcritiqueof rape law has informedmany of the fundamental reform measures enacted in antirape legislation, including increased penaltiesfor convicted rapists90and changes in evidentiaryrules to precludeattackson the woman'smoral character.91These reformslimit the tactics attorneysmight use to tarnishthe image of the rape victim, but they operate within preexisting social constructs that distinguish victims from nonvictims on the basis of their sexual character. And so these reforms, while beneficial,do not challenge the backgroundcultural narrativesthat underminethe credibilityof Black women. BecauseBlack women face subordinationbasedon both race and gender, reforms of rape law and judicial proceduresthat are premised on narrow conceptions of gender subordinationmay not address the devaluation of Black women. Much of the problem results from the way certain gender expectationsfor women intersectwith certainsexualizednotions of race, no90. For example, Title I of the Violence Against Women Act creates federal penalties for sex crimes. See 137 CONG.REC. S597, S599-600 (daily ed. Jan. 14, 1991). Specifically, section 111 of the Act authorizes the Sentencing Commission to promulgate guidelines to provide that any person who commits a violation after a prior conviction can be punished by a term of imprisonment or fines up to twice of what is otherwise provided in the guidelines. S. 15, supra note 57, at 8. Additionally section 112 of the Act authorizes the Sentencing Commission to amend its sentencing guidelines to provide that a defendant convicted of rape or aggravated rape, "shall be assigned a base offense ... that is at least 4 levels greater than the base offense level applicable to such offenses." Id. at 5. 91. Title I of the Act also creates new evidentiary rules for the introduction of sexual history in criminal and civil cases. Id. Sections 151 and 152 amend Fed. R. Evid. 412 by prohibiting "reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of an alleged victim" from being admitted, and limiting other evidence of past sexual behavior. Id. at 39-44. Similarly, section 153 amends the rape shield law. Id. at 44-45. States have also either enacted or attempted to enact rape shield law reforms of their own. See Harriet R. Galvin, Shielding Rape Victimsin the State and Federal Courts: A Proposalfor the Second Decade, 70 MINN. L. REV. 763 (1986); Barbara Fromm, Sexual Battery: Mixed-Signal Legislation Reveals Need for Further Reform, 18 FLA. ST. U. L. REV. 579 (1991). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1271 tions that are deeply entrenchedin Americanculture. Sexualizedimages of African Americansgo all the way back to Europeans'first engagementwith Africans. Blacks have long been portrayedas more sexual, more earthy, more gratification-oriented.These sexualizedimages of race intersect with norms of women'ssexuality,normsthat are used to distinguishgood women from bad, the madonnasfrom the whores. Thus Black women are essentially prepackagedas bad women within culturalnarrativesabout good women who can be raped and bad women who cannot. The discreditingof Black women's claims is the consequence of a complex intersection of a genderedsexual system, one that constructsrules appropriatefor good and bad women, and a race code that providesimages definingthe allegedly essential natureof Black women. If these sexual images form even part of the cultural imagery of Black women, then the very representationof a Black female body at least suggests certain narrativesthat may make Black women's rape either less believable or less important. These narrativesmay explainwhy rapesof Black women are less likely to result in convictionsand long prison terms than rapes of white women.92 Rape law reformmeasuresthat do not in some way engageand challenge the narrativesthat are read onto Black women'sbodies are unlikelyto affect the way cultural beliefs oppress Black women in rape trials. While the degree to which legal reformcan directly challengeculturalbeliefs that shape rape trials is limited,93the very effortto mobilize political resourcestoward addressingthe sexual oppressionof Black women can be an importantfirst step in drawing greaterattention to the problem. One obstacle to such an effort has been the failure of most antirapeactivists to analyze specifically the consequencesof racismin the context of rape. In the absenceof a direct attempt to address the racial dimensionsof rape, Black women are simply presumedto be representedin and benefittedby prevailingfeministcritiques. 3. Antiracism and rape. Antiracistcritiquesof rape law focus on how the law operatesprimarily to condemn rapes of white women by Black men.94 While the heightened 92. See note 35 supra. 93. One can imagine certain trial-based interventions that might assist prosecutors in struggling with these beliefs. For example, one might consider expanding the scope of voir dire to examine jurors' attitudes toward Black rape victims. Moreover, as more is learned about Black women's response to rape, this information may be deemed relevant in evaluating Black women's testimony and thus warrantintroduction through expert testimony. In this regard, it is worth noting that the battered women's syndrome and the rape trauma syndrome are both forms of expert testimony that frequently function in the context of a trial to counter stereotypes and other dominant narratives that might otherwise produce a negative outcome for the woman "on trial." These interventions, probably unimaginablea short while ago, grew out of efforts to study and somehow quantify women's experience. Similar interventions that address the particular dimensions of the experiences of women of color may well be possible. This knowledge may grow out of efforts to map how women of color have fared under standard interventions. For an example of an intersectional critique of the battered women's syndrome, see Sharon A. Allard, Rethinking Battered WomanSyndrome. A Black Feminist Perspective, 1 U.C.L.A. WOMEN'SL.J. 191 (1991) (student author). 94. See Smith, supra note 74 (discussing media sensationalization of the Central Park jogger case as consistent with historical patterns of focusing almost exclusively on Black male/white female 1272 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 concernwith protectingwhite women againstBlack men has been primarily criticized as a form of discriminationagainst Black men,95it just as surely reflectsdevaluationof Black women.96 This disregardfor Black women results from an exclusive focus on the consequencesof the problemfor Black men.97 Of course, rape accusationshistoricallyhave provideda justification for white terrorismagainst the Black community,generatinga legitimating powerof such strengththat it createda veil virtuallyimpenetrableto appeals based on either humanity or fact.98 Ironically,while the fear of the Black rapistwas exploitedto legitimatethe practiceof lynching,rape was not even alleged in most cases.99 The well-developedfear of Black sexuality served primarilyto increase white tolerancefor racial terrorismas a prophylactic measure to keep Blacks under control.'?? Within the African-American community,cases involving race-basedaccusationsagainst Black men have stood as hallmarksof racial injustice. The prosecutionof the Scottsboro boys10l and the Emmett Till'02 tragedy, for example, triggered Africandyads.); see also Terry, supra note 81 (discussing the 28 other rapes that occurred during the same week, but that were not given the same media coverage). Although rape is largely an intraracial crime, this explanation for the disparate coverage given to nonwhite victims is doubtful, however, given the findings of at least one study that 48% of those surveyed believed that most rapes involved a Black offender and a white victim. See H. FEILD& L. BIENEN,supra note 35, at 80. Ironically, Feild and Bienen include in their book-length study of rape two photographs distributed to the subjects in their study depicting the alleged victim as white and the alleged assailant as Black. Given the authors' acknowledgment that rape was overwhelmingly intraracial, the appearance of these photos was particularly striking, especially because they were the only photos included in the entire book. 95. See, e.g., G. LAFREE, supra note 86, at 237-39. 96. For a similar argument that race-of-victim discrimination in the administration of the death penalty actually represents the devalued status of Black victims rather than discrimination against Black offenders, see Randall L. Kennedy, McCleskey v. Kemp: Race, Capital Punishment, and the Supreme Court, 101 HARV. L. REV. 1388 (1988). 97. The statistic that 89% of all men executed for rape in this country were Black is a familiar one. Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238, 364 (1972) (Marshall, J., concurring). Unfortunately, the dominant analysis of racial discrimination in rape prosecutions generally does not discuss whether any of the rape victimsin these cases were Black. See Jennifer Wriggins, Rape, Racism, and the Law, 6 HARV.WOMEN'SL.J. 103, 113 (1983) (student author). 98. Race was frequently sufficientto fill in facts that were unknown or unknowable. As late as 1953, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a jury could take race into account in determining whether a Black man was guilty of "an attempt to commit an assault with an attempt to rape." See McQuirter v. State, 63 So. 2d. 388, 390 (Ala. 1953). According to the "victim's" testimony, the man stared at her and mumbled something unintelligible as they passed. Id. at 389. 99. Ida Wells, an early Black feminist, investigated every lynching she could for about a decade. After researching 728 lynchings, she concluded that "[o]nly a third of the murdered Blacks were even accused of rape, much less guilty of it." PAULA GIDDINGS, WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER: THE IMPACTOF BLACKWOMENON RACEAND SEX IN AMERICA28 (1984) (quoting Wells). 100. See Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, "The Mind That Burns in Each Body": Women, Rape, and Racial Violence,in POWERSOF DESIRE:THEPOLITICS OF SEXUALITY 328, 334 (Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, & Sharon Thompson eds. 1983). 101. Nine Black youths were charged with the rape of two white women in a railroad freight car near Scottsboro, Alabama. Their trials occurred in a heated atmosphere. Each trial was completed in a single day, and the defendants were all convicted and sentenced to death. See DAN T. A TRAGEDYOF THE AMERICANSOUTH(1976). The Supreme Court reCARTER, SCOTTSBORO: versed the defendants' convictions and death sentences, holding that they were unconstitutionally denied the right to counsel. Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 65 (1932). However, the defendants were retried by an all-white jury after the Supreme Court reversed their convictions. 102. Emmett Till was a 14-year-oldBlack boy from Chicago visiting his relatives near Money, July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1273 Americanresistanceto the rigid social codes of white supremacy.'03To the extent rapeof Black women is thought to dramatizeracism,it is usuallycast as an assaulton Black manhood,demonstratinghis inabilityto protectBlack women. The direct assault on Black womanhoodis less frequentlyseen as an assault on the Black community.104 The sexual politics that this limited readingof racismand rapeengenders continuesto play out today, as illustratedby the Mike Tyson rape trial. The use of antiracistrhetoricto mobilizesupportfor Tyson representedan ongoing practiceof viewing with considerablesuspicionrape accusationsagainst Black men and interpretingsexual racism through a male-centeredframe. The historicalexperienceof Black men has so completelyoccupiedthe dominant conceptionsof racism and rape that there is little room to squeeze in the experiencesof Black women. Consequently,racialsolidaritywas continually raised as a rallying point on behalf of Tyson, but never on behalf of Desiree Washington,Tyson's Black accuser. Leaders ranging from Benjamin Hooks to Louis Farrakhanexpressedtheir supportfor Tyson,105yet no establishedBlack leader voiced any concern for Washington. The fact that Black men have often been falsely accused of rapingwhite women underlies the antiracistdefense of Black men accused of rape even when the accuser herself is a Black woman. As a resultof this continualemphasison Black male sexualityas the core issue in antiracistcritiquesof rape, Black women who raise claims of rape against Black men are not only disregardedbut also sometimes vilified within the African-Americancommunity. One can only imaginethe alienation experiencedby a Black rape survivorsuch as Desiree Washingtonwhen the accused rapistis embracedand defendedas a victim of racismwhile she is, at best, disregarded,and at worst, ostracizedand ridiculed. In contrast, Tyson was the beneficiaryof the longstandingpractice of using antiracist rhetoric to deflect the injury sufferedby Black women victimizedby Black men. Some defendedthe supportgiven to Tyson on the groundthat all AfriMississippi. On a dare by local boys, he entered a store and spoke to a white woman. Several days later, Emmett Till's body was found in the Tallahatchie River. "The barbedwire holding the cottongin fan around his neck had became snagged on a tangled river root." After the corpse was discovered, the white woman's husband and his brother-in-law were charged with Emmett Till's murder. JUAN WILLIAMS, EYES ON THE PRIZE 39-43 (1987). For a historical account of the Emmett Till A DEATHIN THEDELTA (1988). tragedy, see STEPHENJ. WHITFIELD, 103. Crenshaw, supra note 7, at 159 (discussing how the generation of Black activists who created the Black Liberation Movement were contemporaries of Emmett Till). 104. Until quite recently, for example, when historians talked of rape in the slavery experience they often bemoaned the damage this act did to the Black male's sense of esteem and respect. He was powerless to protect his woman from white rapists. Few scholars probed the effect that rape, the threat of rape, and domestic violence had on the psychic development of the female victims. Darlene Clark Hine, Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women in the Middle West:Preliminary A MULTI-CULTURAL READERIN Thoughtson the Culture of Dissemblance, in UNEQUALSISTERS: U.S. WOMEN'S HISTORY (Ellen Carol Dubois & Vicki L. Ruiz eds. 1990). 105. Michael Madden, No Offensivefrom Defense, Boston Globe, Feb. 1, 1992, at 33 (Hooks); Farrakhan Backs Calls for Freeing Tyson, UPI, July 10, 1992. 1274 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 can Americans can readily imagine their sons, fathers, brothers,or uncles being wrongly accused of rape. Yet daughters,mothers, sisters, and aunts also deserve at least a similar concern, since statistics show that Black women are more likely to be rapedthan Black men are to be falsely accused of it. Given the magnitudeof Black women's vulnerabilityto sexual violence, it is not unreasonableto expect as much concern for Black women who are raped as is expressedfor the men who are accused of raping them. Black leaders are not alone in their failure to empathize with or rally aroundBlack rape victims. Indeed,some Black women were amongTyson's staunchest supporters and Washington's harshest critics.106 The media widely noted the lack of sympathyBlack women had for Washington;Barbara Walters used the observationas a way of challenging Washington's credibility,going so far as to press Washingtonfor a reaction.107The most troubling revelation was that many of the women who did not support Washingtonalso doubted Tyson's story. These women did not sympathize with Washingtonbecausethey believedthat Washingtonhad no businessin Tyson's hotel room at 2:00 a.m. A typical response was offered by one young Black woman who stated, "She asked for it, she got it, it's not fair to cry rape."108 Indeed, some of the women who expressedtheir disdainfor Washington acknowledged that they encountered the threat of sexual assault almost daily.109Yet it may be preciselythis threat-along with the relativeabsence of rhetorical strategies challenging the sexual subordinationof Black women-that animatedtheir harshcriticism. In this regard,Black women who condemned Washingtonwere quite like all other women who seek to distance themselvesfrom rapevictimsas a way of denyingtheir own vulnerability. Prosecutors who handle sexual assault cases acknowledge that they often exclude women as potentialjurors because women tend to empathize the least with the victim.110To identify too closely with victimizationmay reveal their own vulnerability.111Consequently,women often look for evi106. See Megan Rosenfeld, After the Verdict,The Doubts:Black WomenShow Little Sympathy for Tyson'sAccuser, Wash. Post, Feb. 13, 1992, at D1; Allan Johnson, Tyson Rape Case Strikes a Nerve Among Blacks, Chicago Trib., Mar. 29, 1992, at Cl; Suzanne P. Kelly, Black Women Wrestle with Abuse Issue: Many Say ChoosingRacial OverGenderLoyalty Is Too Greata Sacrifice, Star Trib., Feb. 18, 1992, at Al. 107. 20/20 (ABC television broadcast, Feb. 21, 1992). 108. Id. 109. According to a study by the Bureau of Justice, Black women are significantly more likely to be raped than white women, and women in the 16-24 age group are 2 to 3 times more likely to be victims of rape or attempted rape than women in any other age group. See Ronald J. Ostrow, Typical Rape Victim Called Poor, Young, L.A. Times, Mar. 25, 1985, at 8. 110. See Peg Tyre, What Experts Say About Rape Jurors, Newsday, May 19, 1991, at 10 (reporting that "researchershad determined that jurors in criminal trials side with the complainant or defendant whose ethnic, economic and religious background most closely resembles their own. The exception to the rule ... is the way women jurors judge victims of rape and sexual assault."). Linda Fairstein, a Manhattan prosecutor, states, "(T)oo often women tend to be very critical of the conduct of other women, and they often are not good jurors in acquaintance-rapecases." Margaret Carlson, The Trials of ConvictingRapists, TIME, Oct. 14, 1991, at 11. 111. As sex crimes prosecutor BarbaraEganhauser notes, even young women with contemporary lifestyles often reject a woman's rape accusation out of fear. "To call another woman the victim July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1275 dence that the victim broughtthe rape on herself, usuallyby breakingsocial rules that are generallyheld applicableonly to women. And when the rules classify women as dumb, loose, or weak on the one hand, and smart, discriminating,and strong on the other, it is not surprisingthat women who cannot step outside the rules to critiquethem attemptto validatethemselves within them. The positionof most Black women on this issue is particularly problematic,first, because of the extent to which they are consistently reminded that they are the group most vulnerableto sexual victimization,and second, because most Black women share the African-Americancommunity's generalresistanceto explicitlyfeministanalysiswhen it appearsto run up againstlong-standingnarrativesthat constructBlack men as the primary victims of sexual racism. C. Rape and Intersectionalityin Social Science The marginalizationof Black women's experienceswithin the antiracist and feministcritiquesof rapelaw are facilitatedby social science studiesthat fail to examine the ways in which racism and sexism converge. Gary LaFree'sRape and CriminalJustice: The Social Constructionof Sexual Assault112is a classic example. Througha study of rape prosecutionsin Minneapolis, LaFreeattemptsto determinethe validity of two prevailingclaims regardingrape prosecutions. The first claim is that Black defendantsface significantracial discrimination.113The second is that rape laws serve to regulatethe sexual conduct of women by withholdingfrom rape victims the ability to invoke sexual assault law when they have engaged in nontraditional behavior.14 LaFree'scompellingstudy concludesthat law constructs rape in ways that continueto manifestboth racialand genderdomination.115 Although Black women are positionedas victims of both the racismand the sexism that LaFree so persuasivelydetails, his analysis is less illuminating than might be expectedbecauseBlack women fall through the cracks of his dichotomizedtheoreticalframework. 1. Racial dominationand rape. LaFree confirmsthe findings of earlier studies that show that race is a significantdeterminantin the ultimate disposition of rape cases. He finds that Black men accused of rapingwhite women were treated most harshly, while Black offendersaccused of raping Black women were treated most leniently.116 These effects held true even after controllingfor other factors of rape is to acknowledge the vulnerability in yourself. They go out at night, they date, they go to bars, and walk alone. To deny it is to say at the trial that women are not victims." Tyre, supra note 110. 112. G. LAFREE, supra note 86. 113. Id. at 49-50. 114. Id. at 50-51. 115. Id. at 237-40. 116. LaFree concludes that recent studies finding no discriminatory effect were inconclusive because they analyzed the effects of the defendant's race independently of the race of victim. The differentialrace effects in sentencing are often concealed by combining the harsher sentences given to 1276 STANFORD LAW REVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 such as injury to the victim and acquaintance between victim and assailant. Comparedto other defendants,blacks who were suspected of assaulting white women receivedmore serious charges,were more likely to have their cases filed as felonies, were more likely to receive prison sentences if convicted, were more likely to be incarceratedin the state penitentiary(as opposed to a jail or minimum-securityfacility), and receivedlonger sentences on the average.117 LaFree's conclusions that Black men are differentially punished depending on the race of the victim do not, however, contribute much to understanding the plight of Black rape victims. Part of the problem lies in the author's use of "sexual stratification" theory, which posits both that women are differently valued according to their race and that there are certain "rules of sexual access" governing who may have sexual contact with whom in this sexually stratified market. 18According to the theory, Black men are discriminated against in that their forced "access" to white women is more harshly penalized than their forced "access" to Black women. 19 LaFree's analysis focuses on the harsh regulation of access by Black men to white women, but is silent about the relative subordination of Black women to Black men accused of raping white women with the more lenient treatment of Black men accused of raping Black women. Id. at 117, 140. Similar results were found in another study. See Anthony Walsh, The Sexual StratificationHypothesisand Sexual Assault in Light of the Changing Conceptions 153, 170 (1987) ("sentence severity mean for blacks who assaulted of Race, 25 CRIMINOLOGY whites, which was significantly in excess of mean for whites who assaulted whites, was masked by the lenient sentence severity mean for blacks who assaulted blacks"). 117. G. LAFREE,supra note 86, at 139-40. 118. Sexual stratification, according to LaFree, refers to the differential valuation of women according to their race and to the creation of "rules of sexual access" governing who may have contact with whom. Sexual stratification also dictates what the penalty will be for breaking these rules: The rape of a white woman by a Black man is seen as a trespass on the valuable property rights of white men and is punished most severely. Id. at 48-49. The fundamental propositions of the sexual stratification thesis have been summarized as follows: (1) Women are viewed as the valued and scarce property of the men of their own race. (2) White women, by virtue of membership in the dominant race, are more valuable than black women. (3) The sexual assault of a white by a black threatens both the white man's "property rights" and his dominant social position. This dual threat accounts for the strength of the taboo attached to interracial sexual assault. (4) A sexual assault by a male of any race upon members of the less valued black race is perceived as nonthreatening to the status quo and therefore less serious. (5) White men predominate as agents of social control. Therefore, they have the power to sanction differentially according to the perceived threat to their favored social position. Walsh, supra note 116, at 155. 119. I use the term "access" guardedly because it is an inapt euphemism for rape. On the other hand, rape is conceptualized differently depending on whether certain race-specific rules of sexual access are violated. Although violence is not explicitly written into the sexual stratification theory, it does work itself into the rules, in that sexual intercourse that violates the racial access rules is presumed to be coercive rather that voluntary. See, e.g., Sims v. Balkam, 136 S.E. 2d 766, 769 (Ga. 1964) (describing the rape of a white woman by a Black man as "a crime more horrible than death"); Story v. State, 59 So. 480 (Ala. 1912) ("The consensus of public opinion, unrestricted to either race, is that a white woman prostitute is yet, though lost of virtue, above the even greater sacrifice of the voluntary submission of her person to the embraces of the other race."); Wriggins, supra note 97, at 125, 127. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1277 white women. The emphasis on differentialaccess to women is consistent with analyticalperspectivesthat view racism primarilyin terms of the inequality between men. From this prevailingviewpoint, the problem of discriminationis that white men can rape Black women with relativeimpunity while Black men cannot do the same with white women.120Black women are consideredvictims of discriminationonly to the extent that white men can rape them without fear of significantpunishment. Rather than being viewed as victims of discriminationin their own right, they become merely the means by which discriminationagainst Black men can be recognized. The inevitableresult of this orientationis that effortsto fight discrimination tend to ignore the particularlyvulnerableposition of Black women, who must both confront racial bias and challenge their status as instruments, rather than beneficiaries,of the civil rights struggle. Where racial discriminationis framedby LaFreeprimarilyin terms of a contest between Black and white men over women, the racism experienced by Black women will only be seen in terms of white male access to them. When rape of Black women by white men is eliminatedas a factor in the analysis, whether for statistical or other reasons, racial discrimination against Black women no longer matters, since LaFree's analysis involves comparingthe "access" of white and Black men to white women.'21 Yet Black women are not discriminatedagainst simply because white men can rape them with little sanctionand be punishedless than Black men who rape white women, or because white men who rape them are not punished the same as white men who rape white women. Black women are also discriminated against because intraracialrape of white women is treated more seriously than intraracialrape of Black women. But the differentialprotection that Black and white women receive against intraracialrape is not seen as racist becauseintraracialrape does not involve a contest between Black and white men. In other words, the way the criminaljustice system treats rapes of Black women by Black men and rapes of white women by white men is not seen as raising issues of racism because Black and white men are not involved with each other's women. In sum, Black women who are raped are racially discriminatedagainst because their rapists, whether Black or white, are less likely to be charged with rape, and when chargedand convicted,are less likely to receivesignificant jail time than the rapistsof white women. And while sexual stratification theory does posit that women are stratified sexually by race, most applicationsof the theory focus on the inequality of male agents of rape rather than on the inequalityof rape victims, thus marginalizingthe racist 120. This traditional approach places Black women in a position of denying their own victimization, requiringBlack women to argue that it is racist to punish Black men more harshly for raping white women than for raping Black women. However, in the wake of the Mike Tyson trial, it seems that many Black women are prepared to do just that. See notes 106-109 supra and accompanying text. 121. In fact, critics and commentators often use the term "interracial rape" when they are actually talking only about Black male/white female rape. 1278 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 treatmentof Black women by consistentlyportrayingracismin terms of the relative power of Black and white men. In order to understandand treat the victimizationof Black women as a consequenceof racism and sexism, it is necessaryto shift the analysis away from the differentialaccess of men and more toward the differentialprotection of women. Throughouthis analysis, LaFree fails to do so. His sexual stratificationthesis-in particular,its focus on the comparativepower of male agents of rape-illustrates how the marginalizationof Black women in antiracistpolitics is replicatedin social science research. Indeed, the thesis leaves unproblematizedthe racist subordinationof less valuable objects (Black women) to more valuableobjects (white women), and it perpetuates the sexist treatmentof women as propertyextensionsof "their"men. 2. Rape and gender subordination. Although LaFreedoes attemptto addressgender-relatedconcernsof women in his discussionof rape and the social control of women, his theory of sexual stratificationfails to focus sufficientlyon the effectsof stratificationon women.122 LaFree quite explicitly uses a frameworkthat treats race and gender as separatecategories,giving no indicationthat he understandsthat Black women may fall in between or within both. The problem with LaFree's analysis lies not in its individual observations,which can be insightful and accurate, but in his failure to connect them and develop a broader,deeper perspective. His two-trackframeworkmakes for a narrow interpretationof the data because it leaves untouched the possibility that these two tracksmay intersect.And it is those who reside at the intersection of genderand race discrimination-Black women-that sufferfrom this fundamentaloversight. LaFree attempts to test the feminist hypothesisthat "the applicationof law to nonconformistwomen in rapecases may serveto control the behavior of all women."123This inquiryis important,he explains,because"if women who violate traditionalsex roles and are raped are unable to obtainjustice throughthe legal system, then the law may be interpretedas an institutional arrangementfor reinforcingwomen's gender-roleconformity."'24He finds that "acquittalswere more common and final sentenceswere shorter when nontraditionalvictim behaviorwas alleged."125Thus LaFreeconcludesthat the victim's moral characterwas more important than victim injury, and was second only to the defendant'scharacter. Overall, 82.3 percent of the traditional victim cases resulted in convictions and average sentences of 122. G. LAFREE, supra note 86, at 148. LaFree's transition between race and gender suggests that the shift might not loosen the frame enough to permit discussion of the combined effects of race and gender subordination on Black women. LaFree repeatedly separates race from gender, treating them as wholly distinguishable issues. See, e.g., id. at 147. 123. Id. 124. Id. at 151. LaFree interprets nontraditionalbehavior to include drinking, drug use, extramarital sex, illegitimate children, and "having a reputation as a 'partier,'a 'pleasureseeker' or someone who stays out late at night." Id. at 201. 125. Id. at 204. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1279 43.38 months.126 Only 50 percent of nontraditional victim cases led to convictions, with an average term of 27.83 months.127 The effects of traditional and nontraditional behavior by Black women are difficult to determine from the information given and must be inferred from LaFree's passing comments. For example, LaFree notes that Black victims were evenly divided between traditional and nontraditional gender roles. This observation, together with the lower rate of conviction for men accused of raping Blacks, suggests that gender role behavior was not as significant in determining case disposition as it was in cases involving white victims. Indeed, LaFree explicitly notes that "the victim's race was ... an important predictor of jurors' case evaluations."128 Jurorswere less likely to believe in a defendant'sguilt when the victim was black. Our interviewswith jurors suggestedthat part of the explanationfor this effectwas thatjurors ... were influencedby stereotypesof black women as more likely to consent to sex or as more sexually experiencedand hence less harmedby the assault. In a case involving the rape of a young black girl, one juror arguedfor acquittalon the groundsthat a girl her age from 'that kind of neighborhood'probablywasn't a virgin anyway.129 126. Id. 127. Id. 128. Id. at 219 (emphasis added). While there is little direct evidence that prosecutors are influenced by the race of the victim, it is not unreasonableto assume that since race is an important predictor of conviction, prosecutors determined to maintain a high conviction rate might be less likely to pursue a case involving a Black victim than a white one. This calculus is probably reinforced when juries fail to convict in strong cases involving Black victims. For example, the acquittal of three white St. John's University athletes for the gang rape of a Jamaican schoolmate was interpreted by many as racially influenced. Witnesses testified that the woman was incapacitated during much of the ordeal, having ingested a mixture of alcohol given to her by a classmate who subsequently initiated the assault. The jurors insisted that race played no role in their decision to acquit. "There was no race, we all agreed to it," said one juror; "They were trying to make it racial but it wasn't," said another. Jurors: 'It Wasn'tRacial,' Newsday, July 25, 1991, at 4. Yet it is possible that race did influence on some level their belief that the woman consented to what by all accounts, amounted to dehumanizing conduct. See, e.g., Carole Agus, WhateverHappened to 'The Rules' Newsday, July 28, 1991, at 11 (citing testimony that at least two of the assailants hit the victim in the head with their penises). The jury nonetheless thought, in the words of its foreman, that the defendants' behavior was "obnoxious" but not criminal. See Sydney H. Schanberg, Those 'Obnoxious'St. John's Athletes, Newsday, July 30, 1991, at 79. One can imagine a differentoutcome had the races of the parties only been reversed. Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) called the verdict "a rerun of what used to happen in the South." James Michael Brodie, The St. John's Rape Acquittal: Old Wounds That Just Won't Go Away, BLACK ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUC., Aug. 15, 1991, at 18. Denise Snyder, executive director of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, commented: It's a historical precedent that white men can assault black women and get away with it. Woe be to the black man who assaults white women. All the prejudices that existed a hundred years ago are dormant and not so dormant, and they rear their ugly heads in situations like this. Contrast this with the Central Park jogger who was an upper-class white woman. Judy Mann, New Age, Old Myths, Wash. Post, July 26, 1991, at C3 (quoting Snyder); see Kristin Bumiller, Rape as a Legal Symbol: An Essay on Sexual Violenceand Racism, 42 U. MIAMI L. REV. 75, 88 ("The cultural meaning of rape is rooted in a symbiosis of racism and sexism that has tolerated the acting out of male aggression against women and, in particular, black women."). 129. Id. at 219-20 (citations omitted). Anecdotal evidence suggests that this attitude exists among some who are responsible for processing rape cases. Fran Weinman, a student in my seminar on race, gender, and the law, conducted a field study at the Rosa Parks Rape Crisis Center. During 1280 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 LaFreealso notes that "[o]therjurors were simply less willing to believe the testimony of black complainants."'30One white juror is quoted as saying, "Negroes have a way of not telling the truth. They've a knack for coloring the story. So you know you can't believe everythingthey say."131 Despite explicit evidencethat the race of the victim is significantin determining the dispositionof rape cases, LaFree concludes that rape law functions to penalize nontraditionalbehaviorin women.132LaFree fails to note that racialidentificationmay itself serve as a proxy for nontraditionalbehavior. Rape law, that is, serves not only to penalize actual examples of nontraditionalbehaviorbut also to diminishand devaluewomen who belong to groups in which nontraditionalbehavioris perceivedas common. For the Black rape victim, the disposition of her case may often turn less on her behaviorthan on her identity. LaFree misses the point that althoughwhite and Black women have sharedinterestsin resistingthe madonna/whoredichotomy altogether,they neverthelessexperienceits oppressivepower differently. Black women continue to be judged by who they are, not by what they do. 3. Compoundingthe marginalizationsof rape. LaFree offers clear evidence that the race/sex hierarchy subordinates Black women to white women, as well as to men-both Black and white. However,the differenteffectsof rape law on Black women are scarcelymentioned in LaFree'sconclusions. In a finalsection, LaFreetreatsthe devaluation of Black women as an aside-one without apparentramificationsfor rapelaw. He concludes: "Themore severetreatmentof black offenderswho rape white women (or,for that matter,the milder treatmentof black offenders who rape black women)is probablybest explainedin terms of racial discrimination within a broader context of continuing social and physical segregationbetween blacks and whites."133Implicit throughout LaFree's her study, she counseled and accompanied a 12-year-old Black rape survivor who became pregnant as a result of the rape. The girl was afraid to tell her parents, who discovered the rape after she became depressed and began to slip in school. Police were initially reluctant to interview the girl. Only after the girl's father threatened to take matters into his own hands did the police department send an investigator to the girl's house. The City prosecutor indicated that the case wasn't a serious one, and was reluctant to prosecute the defendant for statutory rape even though the girl was underage. The prosecutor reasoned, "After all, she looks 16." After many frustrations, the girl's family ultimately decided not to pressure the prosecutor any further and the case was dropped. See Fran Weinman, Racism and the Enforcement of Rape Law, 13-30 (1990) (unpublished manuscript) (on file with the Stanford Law Review). 130. G. LAFREE,supra note 86, at 220. 131. Id. 132. Id. at 226. 133. Id. at 239 (emphasis added). The lower conviction rates for those who rape Black women may be analogous to the low conviction rates for acquaintance rape. The central issue in many rape cases is proving that the victim did not consent. The basic presumption in the absence of explicit evidence of lack of consent is that consent exists. Certain evidence is sufficient to disprove that presumption, and the quantum of evidence necessary to prove nonconsent increases as the presumptions warrantingan inference of consent increases. Some women-based on their character, identity, or dress-are viewed as more likely to consent than other women. Perhaps it is the combination of the sexual stereotypes about Black people along with the greater degree of familiarity presumed to July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1281 study is the assumptionthat Blacks who are subjectedto social control are Black men. Moreover, the social control to which he refers is limited to securing the boundariesbetween Black males and white females. His conclusion that race differentialsare best understoodwithin the context of social segregationas well as his emphasison the interracialimplicationsof boundary enforcementoverlookthe intraracialdynamicsof race and gendersubordination. When Black men are leniently punishedfor rapingBlack women, the problem is not "best explained"in terms of social segregationbut in terms of both the race- and gender-baseddevaluationof Black women. By failing to examine the sexist roots of such lenient punishment,LaFree and other writerssensitiveto racism ironicallyrepeatthe mistakesof those who ignore race as a factor in such cases. Both groups fail to consider directly the situation of Black women. Studies like LaFree'sdo little to illuminatehow the interactionof race, class and nontraditionalbehavioraffectsthe dispositionof rape cases involving Black women. Such an oversightis especiallytroublinggiven evidence that many cases involvingBlack women are dismissedoutright.134Over 20 percent of rape complaintswere recently dismissedas "unfounded"by the Oakland Police Department, which did not even interview many, if not most, of the women involved.135Not coincidentally,the vast majorityof the complainantswere Black and poor;many of them were substanceabusersor prostitutes.136Explainingtheir failureto pursuethese complaints,the police remarkedthat "those cases were hopelesslytaintedby women who are transient, uncooperative,untruthfulor not credibleas witnessesin court."137 exist between Black men and Black women that leads to the conceptualization of such rapes as existing somewhere between acquaintance rape and stranger rape. 134. See, e.g., Candy J. Cooper, Nowhere to Turnfor Rape Victims:High Proportionof Cases TossedAside by Oakland Police, S.F. Examiner, Sept. 16, 1990, at Al [hereinafterCooper, Nowhere to Turn]. The most persuasiveevidence that the images and beliefs that Oakland police officershold toward rape victims influence the disposition of their cases is represented in two follow-up stories. See Candy J. Cooper, A Rape Victim Vindicated, S.F. Examiner, Sept. 17, 1990, at Al; Candy J. Cooper, Victimof Rape, Victimof the System, S.F. Examiner, Sept. 17, 1990, at A10. These stories contrasted the experiences of two Black women, both of whom had been raped by an acquaintance after smoking crack. In the first case, although there was little physical evidence and the woman was initially reluctant to testify, her rapist was prosecuted and ultimately convicted. In the second case, the woman was severely beaten by her assailant. Despite ample physical evidence and corroboration, and a cooperative victim, her case was not pursued. The former case was handled by the Berkeley, California, police department while the latter was handled by the Oakland police department. Perhaps the differentapproachesproducing these disparateresults can best be captured by the philosophies of the investigators. Officersin Berkeley "take every woman's case so seriously that not one [in 1989] was found to be false." See Candy J. Cooper, Berkeley Unit Takes All Cases as Legitimate, S.F. Examiner, Sept. 16, 1990, at A16. The same year, 24.4% of Oakland's rape cases were classified as "unfounded." Cooper, Nowhere to Turn, supra. 135. Cooper, Nowhere to Turn, supra note 134, at A10. 136. Id. ("Police, prosecutors, victims and rape crisis workers agree that most of the dropped cases were reported by women of color who smoked crack or were involved in other criminal, highrisk behavior, such as prostitution."). 137. Id. Advocates point out that because investigators work from a profile of the kind of case likely to get a conviction, people left out of that profile are people of color, prostitutes, drug users and people raped by acquaintances. This exclusion results in "a whole class of women . . . systematically being denied justice. Poor women suffer the most." Id. STANFORDLAWREVIEW 1282 [Vol. 43:1241 The effort to politicize violence against women will do little to address the experiencesof Black and other nonwhite women until the ramifications of racial stratificationamong women are acknowledged. At the same time, the antiracistagenda will not be furtheredby suppressingthe reality of intraracialviolenceagainstwomen of color. The effectof both these marginalizationsis that women of color have no readymeansto link their experiences with those of other women. This sense of isolation compounds efforts to politicize sexual violence within communities of color and permits the deadly silence surroundingthese issues. D. Implications With respect to the rape of Black women, race and gender convergein ways that are only vaguely understood. Unfortunately, the analytical frameworksthat have traditionallyinformed both antirape and antiracist agendastend to focus only on single issues. They are thus incapableof developing solutions to the compound marginalizationof Black women victims, who, yet again, fall into the void between concerns about women's issues and concernsabout racism. This dilemmais complicatedby the role that culturalimages play in the treatmentof Black women victims. That is, the most criticalaspectsof these problemsmay revolveless aroundthe political agendasof separaterace- and gender-sensitivegroups,and more around the social and culturaldevaluationof women of color. The stories our culture tells about the experience of women of color present another challenge-and a further opportunity-to apply and evaluate the usefulnessof the intersectionalcritique. III. REPRESENTATIONAL INTERSECTIONALITY With respect to the rape of Black women, race and gender converge so that the concerns of minority women fall into the void between concerns about women's issues and concerns about racism. But when one discourse fails to acknowledge the significance of the other, the power relations that each attempts to challenge are strengthened. For example, when feminists fail to acknowledge the role that race played in the public response to the rape of the CentralParkjogger, feminismcontributesto the forces that produce disproportionatepunishmentfor Black men who rape white women, and when antiracists represent the case solely in terms of racial domination, they belittle the fact that women particularly, and all people generally, should be outraged by the gender violence the case represented. Perhaps the devaluation of women of color implicit here is linked to how women of color are represented in cultural imagery. Scholars in a wide range of fields are increasingly coming to acknowledge the centrality of issues of representation in the reproduction of racial and gender hierarchy in the United States. Yet current debates over representation continually elide the intersection of race and gender in the popular culture's construction of images of women of color. Accordingly, an analysis of what may be termed July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1283 "representationalintersectionality"would include both the ways in which these images are producedthrough a confluenceof prevalentnarrativesof race and gender, as well as a recognitionof how contemporarycritiquesof racist and sexist representationmarginalizewomen of color. In this section I explore the problem of representationalintersectionality-in particular,how the productionof images of women of color and the contestationsover those images tend to ignore the intersectionalinterestsof women of color-in the context of the controversyover 2 Live Crew, the Black rap group that was the subjectof an obscenityprosecutionin Florida in 1990. I oppose the obscenityprosecutionof 2 Live Crew, but not for the same reasonsas those generallyofferedin supportof 2 Live Crew, and not without a sense of sharp internal division, of dissatisfactionwith the idea that the "realissue" is race or gender,inertlyjuxtaposed. An intersectional analysis offers both an intellectual and political response to this dilemma. Aiming to bring togetherthe differentaspects of an otherwisedividedsensibility, an intersectionalanalysis argues that racial and sexual subordination are mutually reinforcing,that Black women are commonly marginalizedby a politics of race alone or genderalone, and that a political responseto each form of subordinationmust at the same time be a political responseto both. A. The 2 Live CrewControversy In June 1990, the membersof 2 Live Crew were arrestedand charged under a Florida obscenity statute for their performancein an adults-only club in Hollywood, Florida. The arrestscame just two days after a federal courtjudge ruled that the sexuallyexplicit lyrics in 2 Live Crew'salbum,As Nasty As They WannaBe, 38were obscene.'39 Although the membersof 2 Live Crew were eventuallyacquittedof chargesstemmingfrom the live performance,the federalcourt determinationthat Nasty is obscene still stands. This obscenity judgment, along with the arrests and subsequent trial, promptedan intense public controversyabout rap music, a controversythat mergedwith a broaderdebateaboutthe representationof sex and violencein popularmusic, about cultural diversity,and about the meaning of freedom of expression. Two positionsdominatedthe debateover 2 Live Crew. Writingin Newsweek, political columnist George Will staked out a case for the prosecu138. 2 LIVECREW,As NASTYAS THEYWANNABE (Luke Records 1989). 139. In June 1990, a federal judge ruled that 2 Live Crew's lyrics referring to sodomy and sexual intercourse were obscene. Skywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 739 F. Supp. 578, 596 (S.D. Fla. 1990). The court held that the recording appealed to the prurient interest, was patently offensive as defined by state law, and taken as a whole, lacked serious literary, artistic or political value. Id. at 591-96. However, the court also held that the sheriffs office had subjected the recording to unconstitutional prior restraint and consequently granted 2 Live Crew permanent injunctive relief. Id. at 596-604. Two days after the judge declared the recording obscene, 2 Live Crew members were charged with giving an obscene performance at a club in Hollywood, Florida. Experts Defend Live Crew Lyrics, UPI, Oct. 19, 1990. Deputy sheriffs also arrested Charles Freeman, a merchant who was selling copies of the Nasty recording. See Gene Santoro, How 2 B Nasty, NATION,July 2, 1990, at 4. The 11th Circuit reversed the conviction, Luke Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 960 F.2d 134 (11th Cir. 1992). 1284 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 tion.'40 Will argued that Nasty was misogynistic filth and characterized2 Live Crew's performanceas a profoundly repugnant "combinationof extreme infantilism and menace" that objectifiedBlack women and represented them as suitable targets of sexual violence.141The most prominent defense of 2 Live Crew was advancedby Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard professorand expert on African-Americanliterature. In a New YorkTimes op-ed piece and in testimony at the criminal trial, Gates contended that 2 Live Crew's members were important artists operating within and inventively elaboratingupon distinctivelyAfrican-Americanforms of culturalexpression.142 According to Gates, the characteristicexaggerationfeaturedin 2 Live Crew'slyrics serveda political end: to explode popularracist stereotypes in a comicallyextremeform.143WhereWill saw a misogynisticassault on Black women by social degenerates, Gates found a form of "sexual carnivalesque"with the promiseto free us from the pathologiesof racism.144 Unlike Gates, there are many who do not simply "bust out laughing" upon first hearing 2 Live Crew.'45 One does a disservice to the issue to describethe imagesof women in Nasty as simply "sexuallyexplicit."'46 Listening to Nasty, we hear about "cunts"being "fucked"until backbonesare cracked,"asses"being "busted,""dicks"rammeddown throats, and semen 140. See George F. Will, America's Slide into the Sewer, NEWSWEEK, July 30, 1990, at 64. 141. Id. 142. Henry Louis Gates, 2 Live Crew,Decoded, N.Y. Times, June 19, 1990, at A23. Professor Gates, who testified on behalf of 2 Live Crew in the criminal proceeding stemming from their live performance, pointed out that the members of 2 Live Crew were expressing themselves in coded messages, and were engaging in parody. "For centuries, African-Americans have been forced to develop coded ways of communicating to protect them from danger. Allegories and double meanings, words redefined to mean their opposites . . . have enabled blacks to share messages only the initiated understood." Id. Similarly, parody is a component of "the street tradition called 'signifying' or 'playing the dozens,' which has generally been risque, and where the best signifier or 'rapper' is the one who invents the most extravagant images, the biggest 'lies,' as the culture says." Id. 143. Testifying during 2 Live Crew's prosecution for obscenity, Gates argued that, "[o]ne of the brilliant things about these four songs is they embrace that stereotype [of blacks having overly large sexual organs and being hypersexed individuals]. They name it and they explode it. You can have no reaction but to bust out laughing. The fact that they're being sung by four virile young black men is inescapable to the audience." Laura Parker, Rap Lyrics Likened to Literature; Witness in 2 Live Crew Trial Cites Art, Parody, Precedents, Wash. Post, Oct. 20, 1990, at D1. 144. Compare Gates, supra note 142 (labeling 2 Live Crew's braggadocio as "sexual carnivalesque") with Will, supra note 140 (characterizing 2 Live Crew as "lower animals"). 145. See note 143 supra. 146. Although I have elected to print some of the actual language from Nasty, much of the debate about this case has proceeded without any specific discussion of the lyrics. There are reasons one might avoid repeating such sexually explicit material. Among the more compelling ones is the concern that presenting lyrics outside of their fuller musical context hampers a complex understanding and appreciationof the art form of rap itself. Doing so also essentializes one dimension of the art work-its lyrics-to stand for the whole. Finally, focusing on the production of a single group may contribute to the impression that that group-here, 2 Live Crew-fairly represents all rappers. Recognizing these risks, I believe that it is nonetheless important to incorporate excerpts from the Crew's lyrics into this analysis. Not only are the lyrics legally relevant in any substantive discussion of the obscenity prosecution, but also their inclusion here serves to reveal the depth of misogyny many African-American women must grapple with in order to defend 2 Live Crew. This is particularly true for African-American women who have been sexually abused by men in their lives. Of course, it is also the case that many African-American women who are troubled by the sexual degradation of Black women in some rap music can and do enjoy rap music generally. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1285 splatteredacross faces. Black women are "cunts," "bitches,"and all-purpose "hos."147 This is no mere braggadocio. Those who are concernedabout high rates of genderviolence in our communitiesmust be troubledby the possibleconnectionsbetweenthese imagesand the tolerancefor violenceagainstwomen. Children and teenagersare listening to this music, and one cannot but be concerned that the range of acceptablebehavioris being broadenedby the constant propagation of misogynistic imagery. One must worry as well about young Black women who, like young men, are learning that their value lies between their legs. But the sexual value of women, unlike that of men, is a depletable commodity; boys become men by expending theirs, while girls become whores. Nasty is misogynist, and an intersectionalanalysis of the case against 2 Live Crewshould not departfrom a full acknowledgementof that misogyny. But such an analysismust also considerwhetheran exclusivefocus on issues of gender risks overlookingaspects of the prosecutionof 2 Live Crew that raise serious questionsof racism. B. The ObscenityProsecutionof 2 Live Crew An initial problemwith the obscenityprosecutionof 2 Live Crew was its apparent selectivity.148Even the most superficialcomparison between 2 Live Crew and other mass-marketedsexual representationssuggeststhe likelihood that race played some role in distinguishing2 Live Crew as the first group ever to be prosecutedfor obscenity in connection with a musical recording, and one of a handfulof recordingartiststo be prosecutedfor a live performance. Recent controversiesabout sexism, racism, and violence in popularculturepoint to a vast rangeof expressionthat might have provided targetsfor censorship,but was left untouched. Madonnahas acted out masturbation,portrayedthe seduction of a priest, and insinuatedgroup sex on stage,149but she has never been prosecuted for obscenity. While 2 Live Crew was performingin Hollywood, Florida, Andrew Dice Clay's recordings were being sold in stores and he was performingnationwideon HBO. 147. See generally 2 LIVECREW, supra note 138; N.W.A., STRAIGHT OUTTACOMPTON (Priority Records, Inc. 1988); N.W.A., N.W.A. & THE POSSE(Priority Records, Inc. 1989). 148. There is considerable support for the assertion that prosecution of 2 Live Crew and other rap groups is a manifestation of selective repression of Black expression which is no more racist or sexist than expression by non-Black groups. The most flagrant example is Geffen Records' decision not to distribute an album by the rap act, the Geto Boys. Geffen explained that "the extent to which the Geto Boys album glamorizes and possibly endorses violence, racism, and misogyny compels us to encourage Def American (the group's label) to select a distributor with a greater affinity for this musical expression." Greg Ket, No Sale, Citing Explicit Lyrics, DistributorBacks Away From Geto Boys Album, Chicago Trib., Sept. 13, 1990, ? 5, at 9. Geffen apparently has a greater affinity for the likes of Andrew Dice Clay and Guns 'N Roses, non-Black acts which have come under fire for racist and sexist comments. Despite criticism of Guns 'N Roses for lyrics which include "niggers" and Clay's "joke" about Native Americans (see note 150 infra), Geffen continued to distribute their recordings. Id. 149. See Derrick Z. Jackson, WhyMust Only Rappers Take the Rap?, Boston Globe, June 17, 1990, at A17. 1286 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 Well-knownfor his racist "humor,"Clay is also comparableto 2 Live Crew in sexual explicitnessand misogyny. In his show, for example, Clay offers, "Eenie, meenie, minee, mo / Suck my [expletive]and swallow slow," and "Lose the bra, bitch."'50 Moreover,graphicsexual images-many of them violent-were widely availablein BrowardCounty where the performance and trial took place. According to the testimonyof a BrowardCounty vice detective, "nudedance shows and adult bookstoresare scatteredthroughout the county where 2 Live Crew performed."'51Given the availability of other forms of sexually explicit "entertainment"in BrowardCounty, Florida, one might wonder how 2 Live Crew could have been seen as uniquely obsceneby the lights of the "communitystandards"of the county.'52 After all, patronsof certain BrowardCounty clubs "can see women dancing with at least their breasts exposed," and bookstore patrons can "view and purchasefilms and magazinesthat depict vaginal, oral and anal sex, homosexual sex and group sex."153 In arriving at its finding of obscenity, the court placed little weight on the availablerangeof films,magazines,and live shows as evidenceof the community'ssensibilities. Instead,the court apparently accepted the sheriffs testimony that the decision to single out Nasty was basedon the numberof complaintsagainst2 Live Crew "communicated by telephone calls, anonymousmessages,or letters to the police." 54 Evidence of this popularoutcry was never substantiated. But even if it 150. Id. at A20. Not only does Clay exhibit sexism comparable to, if not greater than, that of 2 Live Crew, he also intensifies the level of hatred by flaunting racism: " 'Indians, bright people, huh? They're still livin' in [expletive] tepees. They deserved it. They're dumb as [expletive].' " Id. (quoting Clay). One commentator asked, "What separates Andrew Dice Clay and 2 Live Crew? Answer: Foulmouthed Andrew Dice Clay is being chased by the producers of 'Saturday Night Live.' Foulmouthed 2 Live Crew are being chased by the police." Id. at A17. When Clay did appear on Saturday Night Live, a controversy was sparked because cast member Nora Dunn and musical guest Sinead O'Connor refused to appear. Jean Seligmann,Dicey Problem, NEWSWEEK, May 21, 1990, at 95. 151. Jane Sutton, Untitled, 2 Live Crew, UPI, Oct. 18, 1990. 152. Prosecuting 2 Live Crew but not Clay might be justified by the argument that there is a distinction between "obscenity," defined as expressions of prurient interests, and "pornography"or "racist speech," defined as expressions of misogyny and race hatred, respectively. 2 Live Crew's prurient expressions could be prosecuted as constitutionally unprotected obscenity while Clay's protected racist and misogynistic expressions could not. Such a distinction has been subjected to critical analysis. See Catharine A. MacKinnon, Not A Moral Issue, 2 YALEL. & POL'YREV. 321 (1984). The distinction does not explain why other expressions which appeal more directly to "prurient interests" are not prosecuted. Further, 2 Live Crew's prurient appeal is produced, at least in part, through the degradation of women. Accordingly, there can be no compelling distinction between the appeal Clay makes and that of 2 Live Crew. 153. Sutton, supra note 151. 154. Skywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 739 F. Supp. 578, 589 (S.D. Fla 1990). The court rejected the defendants' argument that "admission of other sexually explicit works" is entitled to great weight in determining community standards and held that "this type of evidence does not even have to be considered even if the comparable works have been found to be nonobscene." Id. (citing Hamling v. United States, 418 U.S. 82, 126-27 (1974)). Although the court gave "some weight" to sexually explicit writings in books and magazines, Eddie Murphy's audio tape of Raw, and Andrew Dice Clay's tape recording, it did not explain why these verbal messages "analogous to the format in the Nasty recording" were not obscene as well. Id. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1287 were, the case for selectivitywould remain.155The history of social repression of Black male sexuality is long, often violent, and all too familiar.'56 Negative reactions to the sexual conduct of Black men have traditionally had racistovertones,especiallywherethat conduct threatensto "crossover" into the mainstreamcommunity.157 So even if the decision to prosecutedid reflecta widespreadcommunityperceptionof the purely prurientcharacter of 2 Live Crew's music, that perceptionitself might reflect an established patternof vigilanteattitudesdirectedtoward the sexual expressionof Black men.158 In short, the appeal to community standardsdoes not undercuta 155. One report suggested that the complaint came from a lawyer, Jack Thompson. Thompson has continued his campaign, expanding his net to include rap artists the Geto Boys and Too Short. Sara Rimer, Obscenityor Art? Trial on Rap Lyrics Opens, N.Y. Times, Oct. 17, 1990, at Al. Despite the appearance of selective enforcement, it is doubtful that any court would be persuaded that the requisite racial motivation was proved. Even evidence of racial disparity in the heaviest of criminal penalties-the death sentence-is insufficient to warrant relief absent specific evidence of discrimination in the defendant's case. See McClesky v. Kemp, 481 U. S. 279 (1987). 156. See notes 101-104 supra and accompanying text. 157. Some critics speculate that the prosecution of 2 Live Crew has less to do with obscenity than with the traditional policing of Black males, especially as it relates to sexuality. Questioning whether 2 Live Crew is more obscene than Andrew Dice Clay, Gates states, "Clearly, this rap group is seen as more threatening than others that are just as sexually explicit. Can this be completely unrelated to the specter of the young black male as a figure of sexual and social disruption, the very stereotypes that 2 Live Crew seems determined to undermine?"Gates, supra note 142. Clarence Page makes a similar point, speculating that "2 Live Crew has become the scapegoat for widespread frustration shared by many blacks and whites over a broad range of social problems that seem to have gotten out of control." Clarence Page, Culture, Taste and Standard-Setting, Chicago Trib., Oct. 7, 1990, ? 4, at 3. Page implies, however, that this explanation is something more than or different from racism. "Could it be (drumroll, please) racism? Or could it be fear?" Id. (emphasis added). Page's definition of racism apparently does not include the possibility that it is racist to attach one's societal fears and discomforts to a subordinated and highly stigmatized "other." In other words, scapegoating, at least in this country, has traditionally been, and still is, considered racist, whatever the source of the fear. 158. Even in the current era, this vigilantism is sometimes tragically expressed. Yusef Hawkins became a victim of it in New York on August 23, 1989, when he was killed by a mob of white men who believed themselves to be protecting "their" women from being taken by Black men. UPI, May 18, 1990. Jesse Jackson called Hawkins's slaying a "racially and sexually motivated lynching" and compared it to the 1955 murder of black Mississippi youth Emmett Till, who was killed by men who thought he whistled at a white woman. Id. Even those who denied the racial overtones of Hawkins's murder produced alternative explanations that were part of the same historical narrative. Articles about the Hawkins incident focused on Gina Feliciano as the cause of the incident, attacking her credibility. See, e.g., Lorrin Anderson, Cracks in the Mosaic, NAT'LREV., June 25, 1990, at 36. "Gina instigated the trouble .... Gina used drugs and apparentlystill does. She dropped out of a rehabilitationprogram before testifying for the prosecution at trial" and was later picked up by the police and "charged with possession of cocaine-15 vials of crack fell out of her purse, police said, and she had a crack pipe in her bra." Id. at 37. At trial, defense attorney Stephen Murphy claimed that Feliciano "lied, . . . perjuredherself .... She divides, polarizes eight million people .... It's despicable what she did, making this a racial incident." Id. (quoting Murphy). But feminists attacked the "scapegoating"of Feliciano, one stating, "Not only are women the victims of male violence, they're blamed for it." Alexis Jetter, ProtestersBlast Scapegoat Tactics, Newsday, Apr. 3, 1990, at 29 (quoting Francoise Jacobsohn, president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women). According to Merle Hoffman, founder of the New York Pro-Choice Coalition, "Gina's personal life has nothing to do with the crime, . . . [b]ut rest assured, they'll go into her sexual history .... It's all part of the 'she made me do it' idea." Id. (quoting Hoffman). And New York columnist Ilene Barth observed that Gender . . . has a role in New York's race war. Fingers were pointed in Bensonhurst last week at a teenage girl . . . [who] never harmed anyone .... Word of her invitation offended local studs, sprouting macho-freaks determined to own local turf and the young 1288 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 concern about racism;rather,it underscoresthat concern. A second troublingdimensionof the case brought against 2 Live Crew was the court's apparentdisregardfor the culturallyrooted aspectsof 2 Live Crew's music. Such disregardwas essential to a findingof obscenity given the third prong of the Miller test requiringthat materialjudged obscene must, taken as a whole, lack literary, artistic, or political value.1592 Live Crew arguedthat this criterionof the Miller test was not met in the case of Nasty since the recording exemplified such African-American cultural modes as "playing the dozens," "call and response,"and "signifying."160 The court denied each of the group's claims of cultural specificity, recharacterizingin more generic terms what 2 Live Crew contended was distinctly African American. According to the court, "playingthe dozens" is "commonlyseen in adolescents,especiallyboys, of all ages"; "boasting" appearsto be "partof the universalhuman condition";and the culturalorigins of "call and response"-featured in a song on Nasty about fellatio in which competing groups chanted "less filling" and "tastes great"-were to be found in a Miller beer commercial,not in African-Americanculturaltradition.161The possibility that the Miller beer commercialmay have itself evolved from an African-Americanculturaltraditionwas apparentlylost on the court. In disregardingthe argumentsmade on behalf of 2 Live Crew, the court denied that the form and style of Nasty and, by implication, rap music in general had any artistic merit. This disturbingdismissalof the cultural attributesof rap and the effortto universalizeAfrican-Americanmodes of expression are a form of colorblindnessthat presumesto level all significant racial and ethnic differencesin order to pass judgment on intergroupconflicts. The court's analysis here also manifests a frequently encountered strategy of cultural appropriation. African-Americancontributions that have been accepted by the mainstreamculture are eventually absorbedas females in their ethnic group .... [W]omen have not made the headlines as part of marauding bands intent on racial assault. But they number among their victims." Ilene Barth, Let the Womenof BensonhurstLead Us in a Prayer Vigil, Newsday, Sept. 3, 1989, at 10. 159. The Supreme Court articulated its standard for obscenity in Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973), reh'g denied, 414 U.S. 881 (1973). The Court held that the basic guidelines for the trier of fact were (a) "whether the 'average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest";(b) "whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law"; and (c) "whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Id. at 24 (citations omitted). 160. See Gates, supra note 142. 161. Skywalker Records, Inc., v. Navarro, 739 F. Supp. 578, 595 (S.D. Fla. 1990). The commercial appropriationof rap is readily apparentin pop culture. Soft drink and fast food commercials now feature rap even though the style is sometimes presented without its racial/cultural face. Dancing McDonald's french fries and the Pillsbury Doughboy have gotten into the rap act. The crossover of rap is not the problem; instead, it is the tendency, representedin Skywalker, to reject the cultural origins of language and practices which are disturbing. This is part of an overall pattern of cultural appropriation that predates the rap controversy. Most starkly illustrated in music and dance, cultural trailblazers like Little Richard and James Brown have been squeezed out of their place in popular consciousness to make room for Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, and others. The meteoric rise of white rapper Vanilla Ice is a contemporary example. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1289 simply "American"or found to be "universal." Other modes associated with African-Americanculture that resist absorptionremaindistinctiveand are either neglected or dismissedas "deviant." The court apparentlyrejectedas well the possibilitythat even the most misogynisticrap may have political value as a discourseof resistance. The element of resistancefound in some rap is in makingpeople uncomfortable, therebychallengingreceivedhabits of thought and action. Such challenges are potentially political, as are more subversiveattempts to contest traditional rules by becoming what is most feared.162Against a historicalbackdrop in which the Black male as social outlaw is a prominent theme, "gangsta'rap"might be taken as a rejectionof a conciliatorystance aimed at underminingfear throughreassurance,in favorof a more subversiveform of opposition that attempts to challenge the rules precisely by becoming the very social outlaw that society fears and attempts to proscribe. Rap representationscelebratingan aggressiveBlack male sexuality can be easily construed as discomfortingand oppositional. Not only does readingrap in this way preclude a finding that Nasty lacks political value, it also defeats the court's assumptionthat the group's intent was to appeal solely to prurient interests. To be sure, these considerationscarry greaterforce in the case of other rap artists,such as N.W.A., Too Short, Ice Cube, and The Geto Boys, all of whose standardfare includes depictionsof violent assault, rape, rapemurder, and mutilation.163In fact, had these other groups been targeted rather than the comparativelyless offensive2 Live Crew, they might have successfullydefeatedprosecution. The graphicviolence in their representations militate against a finding of obscenity by suggestingan intent not to appeal to prurientinterestsbut instead to more expresslypolitical ones. So long as violence is seen as distinct from sexuality, the prurientinterest requirementmay provide a shield for the more violent rap artists. However, even this somewhatformalisticdichotomy may providelittle solace to such rap artists given the historicallinkagesthat have been made between Black 162. Gates argues that 2 Live Crew is undermining the "specter of the young black male as a figure of sexual and social disruption." Gates, supra note 142. Faced with "racist stereotypes about black sexuality," he explains, "you can do one of two things: you can disavow them or explode them with exaggeration." Id. 2 Live Crew, Gates suggests, has chosen to burst the myth by parodying exaggerations of the "oversexed black female and male." Id. 163. Other rap acts that have been singled out for their violent lyrics include Ice Cube, the Geto Boys, and Too Short. See, e.g., ICECUBE,KILLAT WILL(Gangsta Boogie Music (ASCAP)/ UJAMA Music, Inc. 1990); GETOBOYS,THE GETOBOYS(N-The-Water Music, Inc. (ASCAP) 1989); Too SHORT,SHORTDOG'SIN THE HOUSE(RCA Records 1990). Not all rap lyrics are misogynist. Moreover, even misogynist acts also express a political world view. The differences among rap groups and the artistic value of the medium is sometimes overlooked by mainstream critics. See, e.g., Jerry Adler, The Rap Attitude, NEWSWEEK, Mar. 19, 1990, at 56, 57 (labeling rap as a "bombastic,self-aggrandizing"by-product of the growing "Culture of Attitude"). Adler's treatment of rap set off a storm of responses. See, e.g., Patrick Goldstein, Pop Eye: RappersDon't Have Time For Newsweek'sAttitude, L.A. Times, Mar. 25, 1990, at 90 (Magazine). Said Russell Simmons, chairman of Def-Jam Records, rap's most successful label, "Surely the moral outrage in [Adler's] piece would be better applied to contemporary American crises in health care, education, homelessness .... Blaming the victims-in this case America's black working class and underclass-is never a very useful approach to problem-solving." Id. (quoting Simmons). 1290 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 male sexualityand violence. Indeed, it has been the specterof violence that surroundsimages of Black male sexualitythat presented2 Live Crew as an acceptabletargetof an obscenityprosecutionin a field that includedAndrew Dice Clay and countless others. The point here is not that the distinction between sex and violence should be rigorously maintainedin determiningwhat is obscene or, more specifically,that rap artists whose standardfare is more violent ought to be protected. To the contrary,these more violent groupsshould be much more troublingthan 2 Live Crew. My point instead is to suggest that obscenity prosecutionsof rap artists do nothing to protect the interestsof those most directly implicatedin rap-Black women. On the one hand, prevailingnotions of obscenityseparateout sexualityfrom violence, which has the effect of shieldingthe more violently misogynisticgroupsfrom prosecution;on the other, historical linkages between images of Black male sexuality and violence permitthe singlingout of "lightweight"rappersfor prosecutionamong all other purveyorsof explicit sexual imagery. C. Addressingthe Intersectionality Although Black women'sinterestswere quite obviouslyirrelevantin the 2 Live Crew obscenityjudgment, their images figured prominentlyin the public case supportingthe prosecution. George Will's Newsweekessay provides a striking example of how Black women's bodies were appropriated and deployed in the broaderattack against 2 Live Crew. Commentingon "America'sSlide into the Sewers,"Will laments that America today is capable of terrific intolerance about smoking, or toxic waste that threatenstrout. But only a deeply confusedsociety is more concerned about protecting lungs than minds, trout than black women. We legislateagainstsmokingin restaurants;singing "Me So Horny"is a constitutional right. Secondarysmoke is carcinogenic;celebrationof torn vaginas is "merewords."164 Lest one be misled into thinking that Will has become an ally of Black women, Will's real concern is suggested by his repeated referencesto the CentralParkjogger assault. Will writes, "Herface was so disfigureda friend took 15 minutes to identify her. 'I recognizedher ring.' Do you recognize the relevanceof 2 Live Crew?"165While the connectionbetween the threat of 2 Live Crew and the image of the Black male rapistwas suggestedsubtly in the public debate, it is blatant throughout Will's discussion. Indeed, it bids to be the centraltheme of the essay. "Fact: Some membersof a particular age and societal cohort-the one making 2 Live Crew rich-stomped and raped the jogger to the razor edge of death, for the fun of it."166 Will directly indicts 2 Live Crew in the Central Parkjogger rape through a fictional dialoguebetween himself and the defendants. Respondingto one de164. See Will, supra note 140. 165. Id. 166. Id. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1291 fendant'salleged confession that the rape was fun, Will asks, "Wherecan you get the idea that sexual violence against women is fun? From a music store, through Walkmanearphones,from boom boxes blaringforth the rap lyrics of 2 Live Crew."167Since the rapists were young Black males and Nasty presents Black men celebratingsexual violence, 2 Live Crew was in Central Park that night, providingthe underlyingaccompanimentto a vicious assault. Ironically,Will rejectedpreciselythis kind of argumentin the context of racist speech on the ground that efforts to link racist speech to racist violence presumethat those who hear racistspeech will mindlesslyact on what they hear.l68 Apparently,the certain"socialcohort"that produces and consumesracistspeech is fundamentallydifferentfrom the one that produces and consumes rap music. Will invokes Black women-twice-as victims of this music. But if he were really concernedwith the threat of 2 Live Crew to Black women, why does the Central Parkjogger figure so prominentlyin his argument? Why not the Black woman in Brooklyn who was gang-rapedand then thrown down an airshaft? In fact, Will fails even to mentionBlack victims of sexual violence, which suggests that Black women simply function for Will as stand-insfor white women. Will's use of the Black femalebody to press the case against 2 Live Crew recalls the strategy of the prosecutorin Richard Wright's novel Native Son. Bigger Thomas, Wright's Black male protagonist, is on trial for killing Mary Dalton, a white woman. Because Bigger burned her body, it cannot be establishedwhether Bigger had sexually assaulted her, so the prosecutorbrings in the body of Bessie, a Black woman raped by Bigger and left to die, in order to establishthat Bigger had raped Mary Dalton.169 These considerationsabout selectivity,about the denial of culturalspecificity, and aboutthe manipulationof Black women'sbodies convinceme that race played a significant,if not determining,role in the shaping of the case against2 Live Crew. While using antisexistrhetoricto suggesta concernfor women, the attackon 2 Live Crew simultaneouslyendorsestraditionalreadings of Black male sexuality. The fact that the objectsof these violent sexual images are Black women becomes irrelevant in the representationof the threat in terms of the Black rapist/white victim dyad. The Black male becomes the agent of sexual violence and the white community becomes his potentialvictim. The subtextof the 2 Live Crew prosecutionthus becomesa re-readingof the sexualizedracial politics of the past. 167. Id. 168. See George F. Will, On Campuses, Liberals Would Gag Free Speech, Newsday, Nov. 6, 1989, at 62. 169. RICHARDWRIGHT,NATIVESON 305-08 (Perennial Library ed. 1989) (1940). Wright wrote, Though he had killed a black girl and a white girl, he knew that it would be for the death of the white girl that he would be punished. The black girl was merely "evidence." And under it all he knew that white people did not really care about Bessie's being killed. White people never searched for Negroes who killed other Negroes. Id. at 306-07. 1292 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 While concerns about racism fuel my opposition to the obscenity prosecution of 2 Live Crew, the uncriticalsupportfor, and indeed celebrationof, 2 Live Crewby other opponentsof the prosecutionis extremelytroublingas well. If the rhetoricof antisexismprovidedan occasion for racism, so, too, the rhetoricof antiracismprovidedan occasion for defendingthe misogyny of 2 Live Crew. That defense took two forms, one political, the other cultural, both advancedprominentlyby Henry Louis Gates. Gates's political defense arguesthat 2 Live Crew advancesthe antiracistagendaby exaggerating stereotypes of Black male sexuality "to show how ridiculous [they] are."170The defense contends that by highlightingto the extreme the sexism, misogyny,and violencestereotypicallyassociatedwith Black male sexuality, 2 Live Crew representsa postmoderneffort to "liberate"us from the racism that perpetuatesthese stereotypes.171 Gates is right to contend that the reactionsof Will and others confirm that the racial stereotypesstill exist, but even if 2 Live Crew intended to explode these stereotypes, their strategy was misguided. Certainly, the group wholly miscalculatedthe reaction of their white audience, as Will's polemic amply illustrates. Rather than explodingstereotypes,as Gates suggests, 2 Live Crew, it seems most reasonableto argue, was simply (and unsuccessfully)trying to be funny. After all, tradingin sexual stereotypeshas long been a means to a cheap laugh, and Gates's cultural defense of 2 Live Crew recognizesas much in arguing the identificationof the group with a distinctly African-Americancultural tradition of the "dozens" and other forms of verbalboasting,raunchyjokes, and insinuationsof sexual prowess, all of which were meant to be laughedat and to gain for the speakerrespect for his word wizardry,and not to disruptconventionalmyths of Black sexuality.172 Gates's cultural defense of 2 Live Crew, however, recalls similar efforts on behalf of racist humor, which has sometimes been defended as antiracist-an effortto poke fun at or to show the ridiculousnessof racism. 170. Gates, supra note 142. Gates's defense of 2 Live Crew portrayedthe group as engaging in postmodern guerrilla warfare against racist stereotypes of Black sexuality. Says Gates, "2 Live Crew's music exaggerates stereotypes of black men and women to show how ridiculous those portrayals are. One of the brilliant things about these songs is that they embrace the stereotypes .... It's ridiculous. That's why we laugh about them. That is one of the things I noticed in the audience's reaction. There is no undertone of violence. There's laughter, there'sjoy." Id. Gates repeats the celebratory theme elsewhere, linking 2 Live Crew to Eddie Murphy and other Black male performers because they're saying all the things that we couldn't say even in the 1960's about our own excesses, things we could only whisper in dark rooms. They're saying we're going to explode all these sacred cows. It's fascinating, and it's upsetting everybody-not just white people but black people. But it's a liberating moment. John Pareles, An Album is Judged Obscene;Rap: Slick, Violent, Nasty and, Maybe Hopeful, N. Y. Times, June 17, 1990, at 1 (quoting Gates). For a cogent intersectional analysis of Eddie Murphy's popular appeal, see Herman Beavers, The Cool Pose: Intersectionality, Masculinity and Quiescence in the Comedy and Films of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy (unpublished manuscript) (on file with the Stanford Law Review). 171. Gates and others who defend 2 Live Crew as postmodern comic heroes tend to dismiss or downplay the misogyny represented in their rap. Said Gates, "Their sexism is so flagrant, however, that it almost cancels itself out in a hyperbolic war between the sexes." Gates, supra note 142. 172. See note 142 supra. July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1293 More simply, racist humor has often been excused as "justjoking"-even racially motivatedassaults have been defendedas simple pranks. Thus the racism of an Andrew Dice Clay could be defended in either mode as an attempt to explode racist stereotypesor as simple humor not meant to be taken seriously. Implicit in these defensesis the assumptionthat racist representationsare injuriousonly if they are intendedto injure,or to be taken literally, or are devoid of some other nonracist objective. It is highly unlikely that this rationalewould be acceptedby Blacksas a persuasivedefense of Andrew Dice Clay. Indeed, the Black community'shistoricaland ongoing criticism of such humor suggests widespread rejection of these arguments. The claim that a representationis meant simply as a joke may be true, but the joke functions as humor within a specific social context in which it frequentlyreinforcespatterns of social power. Though racial humor may sometimesbe intendedto ridiculeracism,the close relationshipbetweenthe stereotypes and the prevailingimages of marginalizedpeople complicates this strategy. And certainly,the humorist'spositioningvis-a-vis a targeted group colors how the group interpretsa potentially derisive stereotype or gesture. Although one could argue that Black comedians have broaderlicense to market stereotypicallyracist images, that argument has no force here. 2 Live Crew cannot claim an in-groupprivilegeto perpetuatemisogynist humor against Black women: the members of 2 Live Crew are not Black women, and more importantly,they enjoy a power relationshipover them. Humor in which women are objectifiedas packages of bodily parts to serve whatever male-bonding/male-competitionneeds men please subordinates women in much the same way that racist humor subordinatesAfrican Americans. Claimsthat incidencesof such humor arejust jokes and are not meant to injure or to be taken literally do little to blunt their demeaning quality-nor, for that matter,does the fact that the jokes are told within an intragroupcultural tradition. The notion that sexism can serve antiracistends has proponentsranging from Eldridge Cleaver173to ShahrazadAli,174all of whom seem to expect Black women to serve as vehicles for the achievementof a "liberation"that functionsto perpetuatetheir own subordination.175Claimsof culturalspecificity similarly fail to justify toleration of misogyny.176While the cultural 173. See note 47 supra. 174. See notes 37-42 supra and accompanying text. 175. Gates occasionally claims that both Black male and Black female images are exploded by 2 Live Crew. Even if Gates's view holds true for Black male images, the strategy does not workand was not meant to work-for Black women. Black women are not the actors in 2 Live Crew's strategy; they are acted upon. To challenge the images of Black women, Black women themselves would have to embrace them, not simply permit Black men to "act out" on them. The only Black female rap groups that might conceivably claim such a strategy are Bytches With Problems and Hoes With Attitudes. Yet, having listened to the music of these Black female rap groups, I am not sure that exploding racist images is either their intent or effect. This is not to say, of course, that all Black female rap is without its strategies of resistance. See note 179 infra. 176. It is interesting that whether those judging the 2 Live Crew case came out for or against, 1294 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 defenseof 2 Live Crewhas the virtueof recognizingmerit in a formof music common to the Black community,somethingGeorgeWill and the court that convicted 2 Live Crew were all too glib in dismissing,it does not eliminate the need to questionboth the sexism within the traditionit defendsand the objectivesto which the traditionhas been pressed. The fact that playingthe dozens, say, is rooted in the Black cultural tradition,or that themes representedby mythic folk heroessuch as "Stackolee"are AfricanAmericandoes not settle the question of whether such practicesoppress Black women.177 Whetherthese practicesare a distinctivepart of the African-Americancultural traditionis decidedlybesidethe point. The real questionis how subordinating aspects of these practices play out in the lives of people in the community,people who share the benefitsas well as the burdensof a common culture. With regard to 2 Live Crew, while it may be true that the Black community has accepted the cultural forms that have evolved into rap, that acceptanceshould not precludediscussionof whetherthe misogyny within rap is itself acceptable. With respect to Gates's political and cultural defenses of 2 Live Crew, then, little turns on whether the "word play" performedby the Crew is a postmodern challenge to racist sexual mythology or simply an internal group practice that crossed over into mainstreamAmerica. Both defenses are problematicbecause they requireBlack women to accept misogyny and its attendantdisrespectand exploitationin the serviceof some broadergroup objective,whether it be pursuingan antiracistpolitical agenda or maintaining the cultural integrity of the Black community. Neither objectiveobligates Black women to tolerate such misogyny. Likewise,the superficialeffortsof the anti-2 Live Crewmovementto link all seemed to reject the notion that race has anything to do with their analysis. See Skywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 739 F. Supp. 578, 594-96 (S.D. Fla 1990) (rejecting defense contention that 2 Live Crew's Nasty had artistic value as Black cultural expression);see also Sara Rimer, Rap Band MembersFound Not Guilty in ObscenityTrial, N.Y. Times, Oct. 21, 1990, at A30 ("Jurorssaid they did not agree with the defense's assertion that the 2 Live Crew's music had to be understood in the context of black culture. They said they thought race had nothing to do with it."). Clarence Page also rejects the argument that 2 Live Crew's NASTY must be valued as Black cultural expression: "I don't think 2 Live Crew can be said to representblack culture any more than, say, Andrew Dice Clay can be said to represent white culture. Rather, I think both represent a lack of culture." See Page, supra note 157. 177. Gay men are also targets of homophobic humor that might be defended as culturally specific. Consider the homophobic humor of such comedians as Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier, the two actors who currently portray Black gay men on the television show In Living Color. Critics have linked these homophobic representationsof Black gay men to patterns of subordination within the Black community. Black gay filmmaker Marlon Riggs has argued that such caricaturesdiscredit Black gay men's claim to Black manhood, presenting them as "game for play, to be used, joked about, put down, beaten, slapped, and bashed, not just by illiterate homophobic thugs in the night, but by black American culture's best and brightest." Marlon Riggs, Black Macho Revisited: Reflections of a SNAP! Queen, in BROTHER TO BROTHER: NEW WRITINGSBY BLACKGAY MEN 253, 254 (Essex Hemphill ed. 1991); see also Blair Fell, Gayface/Blackface: Parallels of Oppression,NYQ, Apr. 5, 1992, at 32 (drawing parallels between gayface and blackface and arguing that "gayfaced contemporary comedy . . . serves as a tool to soothe the guilty consciences and perpetuate the injustices of gay-bashing America. After all, laughing at something barely human is easier than dealing with flying bullets, split skulls, dying bodies and demands for civil rights."). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1295 the prosecutionof the Crewto the victimizationof Black women had little to do with Black women's lives. Those who deployedBlack women in the service of condemning2 Live Crew's misogynistrepresentationsdid not do so in the interestof empoweringBlack women;rather,they had other interests in mind, the pursuit of which was racially subordinating. The implication here is not that Black feministsshould stand in solidaritywith the supporters of 2 Live Crew. The spiriteddefenseof 2 Live Crew was no more about defendingthe entire Black community than the prosecutionwas about defending Black women. After all, Black women whose very assault is the subjectof the representationcan hardlyregardthe right to be representedas bitches and whoresas essentialto their interest. Instead,the defenseprimarily functions to protect 2 Live Crew's prerogativeto be as misogynisticas they want to be.178 Within the African-Americanpolitical community, Black women will have to make it clear that patriarchyis a critical issue that negativelyaffects the lives not only of Black women, but of Black men as well. Doing so would help reshape traditionalpractices so that evidence of racism would not constitutesufficientjustificationfor uncriticalrallyingaroundmisogynistic politics and patriarchalvalues. Although collective opposition to racist practicehas been and continuesto be cruciallyimportantin protectingBlack interests, an empowered Black feminist sensibility would require that the terms of unity no longer reflect priorities premised upon the continued marginalizationof Black women. 178. Although much of the sexism that is voiced in rap pervades the industry, Black female rappers have gained a foothold and have undertakenvarious strategies of resistance. For some, their very presence in rap challenges prevailing assumptions that rap is a Black male tradition. See Tricia Rose, One Queen, One Tribe, One Destiny, VILLAGEVOICEROCK & ROLLQUARTERLY, Spring 1990, at 10 (profiling Queen Latifah, widely regarded as one of the best female rappers). Although Latifah has eschewed the head-on approach, her rap and videos are often women-centered, as exemplified by her single, "Ladies First." QUEENLATIFAH,ALL HAILTHEQUEEN(Tommy Boy 1989). The "Ladies First" video featured other female rappers, "showing a depth of women's solidarity never seen before." Rose, supra, at 16. Rappers like Yo-Yo, "hip-hop's first self-proclaimedfeminist activist," take a more confrontational line; for example, Yo-Yo duels directly with rapper Ice Cube in "It's a Man's World." Joan Morgan, Throw the 'F' Village Voice, June 11, 1991, at 75. Some female rappers, such as Bytches With Problems, have attempted to subvert the categories of bitches and whores by taking on the appellations and infusing them with power. As Joan Morgan observes, It's common practice for oppressed peoples to neutralize terms of disparagementby adopting and redefining them. Lyndah McCaskill and Tanisha Michelle Morgan's decision to define bitch "as a strong woman who doesn't take crap from anyone, male or female" and to encourage women to "wear the title as a badge of honor and keep getting yours" does not differ significantly from blacks opting to use the word nigger or gays embracing queer. Id. However in the case of the Bytches, Joan Morgan ultimately found the attempt unsuccessful, in part because the subversion operated merely as an exception for the few ("Lynda and Tanisha Michelle are the only B-Y-T-C-H's here; all the other women they speak about, including the menstrual accident, the woman whose boyfriend Lyndah screws, and anyone else who doesn't like their style, are B-I-T-C-H's in the very male sense of the word") and because ultimately, their world view serves to reinscribe male power. Said Morgan, "It's a tired female rendition of age-old sexist, patriarchal thinking: the power is in the pistol or the penis." Id. 1296 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 CONCLUSION This article has presentedintersectionalityas a way of framingthe various interactionsof race and genderin the context of violence againstwomen of color. Yet intersectionalitymight be more broadly useful as a way of mediatingthe tension between assertionsof multiple identity and the ongoing necessity of group politics. It is helpful in this regardto distinguishintersectionalityfrom the closely related perspectiveof antiessentialism,from which women of color have critically engaged white feminism for the absence of women of color on the one hand, and for speakingfor women of color on the other. One renditionof this antiessentialistcritique-that feminism essentializes the category woman-owes a great deal to the postmodernistidea that categorieswe considernaturalor merelyrepresentational are actually socially constructed in a linguistic economy of difference.179While the descriptiveprojectof postmodernismof questioningthe ways in which meaning is socially constructedis generallysound, this critique sometimesmisreadsthe meaningof social constructionand distortsits political relevance. One versionof antiessentialism,embodyingwhat might be called the vulgarizedsocial constructionthesis, is that since all categoriesare socially constructed,there is no such thing as, say, Blacks or women, and thus it makes no sense to continue reproducingthose categories by organizing around them.180Even the SupremeCourt has gotten into this act. In MetroBroadcasting,Inc. v. FCC, 81the Court conservatives,in rhetoricthat oozes vulgar constructionistsmugness,proclaimedthat any set-asidedesignedto increase the voices of minoritieson the air waves was itself based on a racist assumption that skin color is in some way connected to the likely content of one's broadcast.182 But to say that a categorysuch as race or genderis socially constructedis not to say that that categoryhas no significancein our world. On the contrary, a large and continuing projectfor subordinatedpeople-and indeed, one of the projectsfor which postmoderntheorieshave been very helpful-is 179. I follow the practice of others in linking antiessentialismto postmodernism. See generally LINDANICHOLSON, FEMINISM/POSTMODERNISM (1990). 180. I do not mean to imply that all theorists who have made antiessentialist critiques have lasped into vulgar constructionism. Indeed, antiessentialists avoid making these troubling moves and would no doubt be receptive to much of the critique set forth herein. I use the term vulgar constructionism to distinguish between those antiessentialist critiques that leave room for identity politics and those that do not. 181. 110 S. Ct. 2997 (1990). 182. The FCC's choice to employ a racial criterion embodies the related notions that a particular and distinct viewpoint inheres in certain racial groups and that a particular applicant, by virtue of race or ethnicity alone, is more valued than other applicants because the applicant is "likely to provide [that] distinct perspective." The policies directly equate race with belief and behavior, for they establish race as a necessary and sufficient condition of securing the preference.... The policies impermissibly value individuals because they presume that persons think in a manner associated with their race. Id. at 3037 (O'Connor, J., joined by Rehnquist, C.J., and Scalia and Kennedy, J.J., dissenting) (internal citations omitted). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1297 thinkingabout the way power has clusteredaroundcertaincategoriesand is exercised against others. This project attempts to unveil the processes of subordinationand the variousways those processesare experiencedby people who are subordinatedand peoplewho are privilegedby them. It is, then, a project that presumes that categories have meaning and consequences. And this project'smost pressingproblem,in many if not most cases, is not the existence of the categories,but rather the particularvalues attached to them and the way those values foster and create social hierarchies. This is not to deny that the process of categorizationis itself an exercise of power, but the story is much more complicatedand nuanced than that. First, the processof categorizing-or, in identityterms, naming-is not unilateral. Subordinatedpeople can and do participate,sometimes even subvertingthe namingprocessin empoweringways. One need only think about the historicalsubversionof the category "Black"or the currenttransformation of "queer"to understandthat categorizationis not a one-way street. Clearly, there is unequal power, but there is nonetheless some degree of agency that people can and do exert in the politics of naming. And it is importantto note that identity continuesto be a site of resistancefor members of differentsubordinatedgroups. We all can recognize the distinction betweenthe claims "I am Black"and the claim "I am a personwho happens to be Black." "I am Black"takes the socially imposedidentityand empowers it as an anchorof subjectivity. "I am Black"becomesnot simply a statement of resistance but also a positive discourse of self-identification, intimatelylinked to celebratorystatementslike the Black nationalist"Black is beautiful." "I am a personwho happensto be Black,"on the other hand, achievesself-identificationby strainingfor a certainuniversality(in effect, "I am first a person")and for a concommitantdismissal of the imposed category ("Black") as contingent, circumstantial, nondeterminant. There is truth in both characterizations,of course,but they functionquite differently dependingon the political context. At this point in history, a strong case can be made that the most critical resistance strategy for disempowered groups is to occupy and defend a politics of social location rather than to vacate and destroy it. Vulgar constructionism thus distorts the possibilities for meaningful identity politics by conflatingat least two separatebut closely linked manifestationsof power. One is the power exercisedsimply through the process of categorization;the other, the power to cause that categorizationto have social and material consequences. While the former power facilitates the latter, the political implications of challenging one over the other matter greatly. We can look at debates over racial subordinationthroughouthistory and see that in each instance, there was a possibility of challenging either the constructionof identity or the system of subordinationbased on that identity. Consider,for example,the segregationsystem in Plessy v. Ferguson.183 At issue were multiple dimensions of domination, including cate- 183. 163 U.S. 537 (1896). 1298 STANFORDLAWREVIEW [Vol. 43:1241 gorization,the sign of race, and the subordinationof those so labeled. There were at least two targetsfor Plessy to challenge: the constructionof identity ("Whatis a Black?"),and the system of subordinationbased on that identity ("Can Blacks and whites sit together on a train?"). Plessy actually made both arguments,one against the coherenceof race as a category, the other against the subordinationof those deemed to be Black. In his attack on the former,Plessy arguedthat the segregationstatute'sapplicationto him, given his mixed race status, was inappropriate.The Court refusedto see this as an attack on the coherenceof the race system and instead respondedin a way that simply reproducedthe Black/white dichotomy that Plessy was challenging. As we know, Plessy's challenge to the segregationsystem was not successfuleither. In evaluatingvariousresistancestrategiestoday, it is useful to ask which of Plessy's challengeswould have been best for him to have won-the challengeagainstthe coherenceof the racialcategorizationsystem or the challenge to the practiceof segregation? The same question can be posed for Brown v. Board of Education.184 Which of two possible argumentswas politically more empowering-that segregationwas unconstitutionalbecausethe racialcategorizationsystem on which it was based was incoherent,or that segregationwas unconstitutional becauseit was injuriousto Black childrenand oppressiveto their communities? While it might strikesome as a difficultquestion,for the most part, the dimensionof racialdominationthat has been most vexing to AfricanAmericans has not been the social categorizationas such, but the myriadways in which those of us so definedhave been systematicallysubordinated. With particularregard to problems confronting women of color, when identity politics fail us, as they frequentlydo, it is not primarilybecausethose politics take as natural certain categories that are socially constructedbut rather because the descriptivecontent of those categories and the narrativeson which they are based have privilegedsome experiencesand excludedothers. Along these lines, considerthe ClarenceThomas/Anita Hill controversy. During the Senatehearingsfor the confirmationof ClarenceThomas to the Supreme Court, Anita Hill, in bringing allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas, was rhetoricallydisempoweredin part because she fell between the dominantinterpretationsof feminismand antiracism. Caughtbetween the competingnarrativetropes of rape (advancedby feminists)on the one hand and lynching (advancedby Thomas and his antiracistsupporters) on the other, the race and gender dimensionsof her position could not be told. This dilemma could be describedas the consequenceof antiracism's essentializingBlacknessand feminism'sessentializingwomanhood. But recognizing as much does not take us far enough, for the problemis not simply linguistic or philosophicalin nature. It is specificallypolitical: the narratives of gender are based on the experienceof white, middle-classwomen, and the narrativesof race are based on the experienceof Black men. The solution does not merely entail arguing for the multiplicityof identities or 184. 397 U.S. 483 (1954). July 1991] INTERSECTIONALITY 1299 challenging essentialismgenerally. Instead, in Hill's case, for example, it would have been necessaryto assertthose crucialaspectsof her location that were erased,even by many of her advocates-that is, to state what difference her differencemade. If, as this analysis asserts, history and context determinethe utility of identity politics, how then do we understandidentity politics today, especially in light of our recognitionof multiple dimensionsof identity? More specifically,what does it mean to argue that genderidentitieshave been obscured in antiracistdiscourses,just as race identitieshave been obscuredin feminist discourses? Does that mean we cannot talk about identity? Or instead, that any discourseabout identity has to acknowledgehow our identities are constructed through the intersection of multiple dimensions? A beginning response to these questions requiresthat we first recognize that the organizedidentity groupsin which we find ourselvesin are in fact coalitions, or at least potentialcoalitions waiting to be formed. In the context of antiracism,recognizingthe ways in which the intersectional experiencesof women of color are marginalizedin prevailingconceptions of identity politics does not require that we give up attempts to organizeas communitiesof color. Rather, intersectionalityprovidesa basis for reconceptualizingrace as a coalition between men and women of color. For example,in the area of rape, intersectionalityprovidesa way of explaining why women of color have to abandon the general argument that the interests of the community require the suppressionof any confrontation aroundintraracialrape. Intersectionalitymay providethe meansfor dealing with other marginalizationsas well. For example, race can also be a coalition of straightand gay people of color, and thus serve as a basis for critique of churches and other cultural institutionsthat reproduceheterosexism. With identity thus reconceptualized,it may be easier to understandthe need for and to summonthe courageto challengegroupsthat are afterall, in one sense, "home"to us, in the name of the parts of us that are not made at home. This takes a great deal of energy and arouses intense anxiety. The most one could expect is that we will dare to speak against internalexclusions and marginalizations,that we might call attentionto how the identity of "the group" has been centered on the intersectionalidentities of a few. Recognizing that identity politics takes place at the site where categories intersectthus seems more fruitfulthan challengingthe possibilityof talking about categoriesat all. Through an awarenessof intersectionality,we can better acknowledgeand ground the differencesamong us and negotiate the means by which these differenceswill find expressionin constructinggroup politics.
Speech Entitled “Ain’t I a Woman?” by Sojourner Truth Delivered at the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the Negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about? That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman? Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or Negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ‘cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ Sojourner Truth “Ain’t I Woman?”, Speech Delivered at Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, May 1851 come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him. If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it. The men better let them. Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say. 2 Created for Lit2Go on the web at etc.usf.edu

Tutor Answer

School: Cornell University




Surname: 1

Ain't I a Woman?
A human being is somebody who is characterized by the living experiences of the people
who are surrounding him or her. Some social norms in relation to culture help in a dehumanizing
human being with the help of the missing links between human culture and animal nature.
According to Frantz, the dehumanized fellows are categorized using the color that under-classes
the comrades. The discriminations of the human being have led to the development of the liminal
space that helps in pulling together those societies that share some ideas from those with
different opinions. The logical that has led to the liminal space was later analyzed by a number of
scholars depending on their understanding. For instance, some referred to it as, racial capitalism,
color line, neo-colonization, fascism etc (Truth, et al. p.99). The people who are sociogenically
segregated by the social norms found themselves in the liminal space, where they had an
opportunity to empathize, and later make good coalitions with others. Therefore, if it were
pregnant black women who found them in the category they formed groups that helped them in
securing their protection against any form of discrimination. The liminal space that was formed
helps in killing oneself because it creates basements like underclass telemakers, mesmerized
status. Space as well provides the dehumanized individual with biological deselected space
which will help them to feel not discriminated. This creates confidence because each and every

Surname: 2
individual will feel like at least they were created the same way; therefore there is nobody who is
The liminal space helped in ...

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