The Importance Of Unity

Oppression is the unjust treatment of a person or a specific group of people. Women experience oppression because the world is set up to where men are at the advantage and everyone else is at the disadvantage. Around the world, people who have lighter skin tone and have European features are more likely to be treated fairly compared to those who look the opposite. For women of color, they are unjustly treated because they are female and they are a person of color.

The struggles that women of color faced in history until now is different than that of a white woman. For the last three weeks, the readings have consisted of authors rightfully claiming their identity while finding ways to unite each other in order to fight against the oppression. Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera demonstrates her experiences and the challenges she faces because of her intersecting identities. She begins by introducing the many races in her community, and within the races are all the different ethnicities and cultures. Since Anzaldua’s community is not part of the dominant culture, and is in fact, part of the minority. The people within the group are oppressed because the society they are in is only built for the majority culture. Although living and growing up in a diverse area is great, Anzaldua explains the struggle that she and the people have because of the different backgrounds on top of facing the dominant white culture.

For the writer, it is a challenge to try to figure out her identity when she is constantly pulled one way or the other. The author says that she “continually walk[s] out of one culture and into another, because [she is] in all cultures at the same time. ” (Anzaldua, 99). Being part of the many cultures, she faces a chaos within herself as she tries to fit in into the community among the voices that often clashes leaving her in a conundrum. Anzaldua explains that the differences between the diverse groups often create an animosity within that makes it difficult for the people to live in harmony. She proposes that in order for the community to live in agreement they have to rebel against the idea that one group is right and the other is wrong. The writer introduces that people must leave their side of the river bank, abandon their culture for a moment and examine another culture (Anzaldua, 100). After looking into the other cultures, they must look through the lens of that culture instead of their own. The people need to put themselves in other people’s shoes to understand them just as they expect the other culture to look through their perspective. Anzaldua believes that to achieve the freedom that the community has been longing they must work “towards a whole perspective that includes rather than excludes. ” (Anzaldua, 101).

The author identifies herself as a mestiza, she claims no races and ethnicities, but in fact, claims all. Anzaldua concludes that she and her people have not melted into the American pot, but instead have created their own group within the Americans. Black women in America continuously struggle with fighting for their survival and liberation. Since the American political system is a system of white male rule, not only are African American women oppressed because of their race, but they are further oppressed because of their gender. Their sexual identity along with their racial identity makes their life situation and political struggles unique compared to those of white women. The Combahee River Collective believes that “racial politics and indeed racism are pervasive factors in [their] lives that did not allow [them]. . . to look more deeply into [their] own experiences and. . . to build a politics that will change [their] lives and inevitably end [their] oppression. ” The way African American women have been treated for the past 400 hundred years, from slavery to exploitation to belittling stereotypes shows how little value has been placed upon their lives. Since the system is built to go against black women, the only way they can fight towards their liberation is through them. The first generation of Black youth to partake in education and employment options were after World War Two. Although their participation was minimal and very limited, they were still able to learn and pass their knowledge to the next generation. Throughout history, a handful of the Combahee River Collective was able to gain certain tools in education and employment as well which enables their ability to fight their oppressors more effectively. They also state that their “politics evolve from a healthy love for [them]selves, [their] sisters and [their] community which allows [them] to continue [their] struggle and work. ” (The Combahee River Collective). Ultimately, the group’s ability to come and work together to fight against their oppression and oppressors is what will liberate them because they are the only ones who knows and understands their struggles.

Part of what makes a person unique are the challenges they face growing up which eventually makes them to who they are. This Bridge Called My Back pulls the writings from different authors and how their experiences shape their identities. A person’s skin color, homeland, social class, and sexuality are all part of their individuality. Some identities often contradict the major identity in a culture, This Bridge Called My Back demonstrates how minorities are able to accept themselves in a society where they are usually the outcasts. Similar to Anzaldua’s experience, people who have intersecting identities are often pulled from different directions, making them choose which specific identity they truly are. The excerpt by Cherrie Moraga, “La Guera” says, “In this country, lesbianism is poverty -- as is being brown, as is being a woman, as is being just plain poor… The danger lies in failing to acknowledge the specificity of the oppression. ” (Moraga, 29). If a person is not a straight white male, then in some way they are oppressed because they do not fit into society’s mold of a normal/perfect being.

In order to fight the oppressors, This Bridge Called My Back proposes that women need to embrace each other’s differences in race, sexuality, and socio-economic class. Women must also write to acknowledge and deal with the racism they experience in their life; which will ultimately lead to connecting all women. Embracing one’s individuality, accepting other people’s differences, and being inclusive results in unity that will lead to a revolution that benefits minorities, especially those with intersecting identities.

There have been specific times in history where people have united together to fight for a cause. The Civil Rights Movement united all African Americans, and those who wanted equality, to end racial segregation. Recently, there has been more unification and support within minority groups because of the current political state in the United States. The big push in voting has increased in the last two years especially older people telling young adults the importance of their voice and their vote. More people are willing to listen to each other and their experiences. People are working together to fight against the current administration. The pattern of people uniting and working together for a common goal should continue even after the goal has been achieved, so the progress just keeps going which will make the revolution unstoppable.

18 May 2020
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