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Combahee River Collective & Gloria Anzaldua

Read THE COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE: "The Combahee River Collective Statement," copyright © 1978 by Zillah Eisenstein. (http://circuitous.org/scraps/combahee.html)

1). Why did the Combahee River Collective develop as a separate political organization for Black lesbian feminists? What was the ideological difference that led to this separation?

2). What are two problems that arise in activist organizing efforts among Black Feminists, according to the Combahee River Collective?

3). To what does the Combahee River Collective attribute men's oppression? How does this contrast with Stanton's view of male oppression?

4). What does "The personal is political" means?

5). What to Anzaldua is a borderland? How can we apply Anzaldua's conception of the borderland to contemporary political struggles? Give a specific example.

6). What is the new mestiza consciousness? How does it relate to Anzaldua's notion of a "tolerance for ambiguity"?

7). What does Anzaldua mean by the term "counterstance"? How does she find it both useful and problematic?

Solution Preview

1) The Combahee River Collective developed as a separate political organization for Black lesbian feminists because the feminist movement at the time was largely being led by white middle-class women who were racist. On the other hand, the black civil rights movement was being led by black males who were sexist. Thus, the main ideological difference that led to this separation was truly that all people are equal, despite race AND gender (other groups wanted all races treated equally, but not all genders, or all genders treated equally, but not all races).

2) The Combahee River Collective addresses this question in a whole section, Section 3 of their statement. One of the problems in organizing black women into a protesting group is that they are attempting to address multiple issues. While other groups are only lobbying and addressing one issue (eg. sexism or racism), they are fighting against "a whole range of oppressions", which includes race, gender, heterosexual and class oppression. A second problem is that black women are in perhaps the most economically and socially vulnerable position in society. Asking black women to fight against the status quo and whatever balance they may have created. Thus, this may put ...

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The solution examines Combahee River Collective and Gloria Anzaldua.

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