Friday, July 19, 2013
** Loretta Ross: SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective***.
** January 28, 2011.
Y'all know where the term 'Women of Color' came from? Who can say that?
See we're bad at transmitting history….
In 1977, a group of black women from Washington D.C. went to the National Women's Conference that Jimmy Carter had given five million dollars to have as part of the World Decade for Women -- there was a conference in Houston, Texas.
This group of black women carried to that conference something called A Black Women's Agenda, because the organizers of the conference… had put together a three-page minority womens' plank…
And they actually formed a group called Black Women's Agenda to come there in Houston with a black women's plan of action that they wanted the delegates to vote to substitute for the minority plank that was in the proposed plan of action. Well a funny thing happened in Houston. When they took the Black Womens' Agenda to Houston, then all the rest of the 'minority women of color' wanted to be included in the Black Womens' Agenda. Okay?… Well, they agreed, except that you could no longer call it the Black Womens' Agenda!
And it was in those negotiations in Houston the term 'Women of Color' was created. Okay? And they didn't see it as a biological designation -- you're born Asian, you're born black, you're born African-American, whatever…. It is a solidarity definition -- a commitment to work in collaboration with other oppressed women of color who have been 'minoritized.'
Now what's happened, you know, in the thirty years since then is that people see it as biology now. You know, like, okay… and people are saying, "I don't want to be definied as a woman of color, I am black, I am Asian-American, well that's fine, but why are you reducing a political designation to a biological destiny? That's what white supremacy wants you to do.
And I think it's a setback when we disintegrate as people of color, you know, around primitive ethnic claiming. You know, yes, we are Asian-American, Native American, whatever -- but the point is when you choose to work with other people who are minoritized by oppression, you have lifted yourself out of that basic identity. Into another political being. Another political space. And unfortunately so many times, people of color hear the term 'people of color' from other white people that they think white people created it, instead of understanding that we -- we self-named ourselves this. This is a term that has a lot of power for us. But we've done a poor ass job of communicating that history so that people understand that power.