In These Times on feminism and race: The “browning” of America has yet to serve as a wakeup call for feminist organizers. Attempts to address the racism of the feminist movement have largely been token efforts without lasting effects. Many young women of color still feel alienated from a mainstream feminism that doesn’t explicitly address race. One woman of color, who wishes not to be identified and is working with the March for Women’s Lives, put it this way: “We’re more than your nannies and outreach workers. We’re your future.” ...Last fall, Erika Jackson’s feminist campus group organized against Proposition 54, which would have eliminated racial classifications in California. They were the first student organization to tackle the issue, and they didn’t debate whether it was a feminist issue. “Like with public health, we talked about how it affects women of color,” she says. A lack of racial classifications would hide the higher rate of low birth weight babies born to women of color. The measure was defeated in the November 2003 state election. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, a Toronto-based spoken-word artist, sees race as a central part of the work she did in counseling women who have suffered from sexual abuse and racism. “You can’t deal with the abuse and not the colonialism,” she says of her work with Native American women. Healing, she adds, can often mean reconnecting to cultural pride.


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