Posted by: mzbitca | June 22, 2009

WOC erasure at Civil Rights game

This weekend my husband, friend from college, and her husband all traveled to Cinicannati for the Civil Rights Baseball game.  This was the first year that the game was played during the regular season (it was usually relegated to pre-season games).

There was excitement to it: Seeing the beautiful building that is a center for equal rights, seeing former negro league players on the field to throw out the first pitch with Frank Robinson and just the general excitement that this game was supposed to be about something.  Three people receieved awards at this game: Muhammoud Ali, Hank Aaron and Bill Cosby.  There were also awards given to CEOs and presidents of companies that are known for working for civil rights.

However, things were still off, like the fact that the four kids who lead the way carrying banners were ALL white, or that the women who were there to receive awards for their company (two white, two WOC) were often not the president but other lower positions like chairman of diversity. Also, of course the recipients were three men and the only one of them that had a female member with him was Ali, who needs someone there to help him.

The biggest issue to me was during the game’s Civil Right’s highlights,  fact based information that flashed across the scoreboard.  The only Woc mentioned was Rosa Parks.  This included when discussing the civil rights movement & the women’s movement.  It blew my mind that when discussing the feminist movement that, even during the civil rights game, that they did not put up one woc who worked for equal rights.  It was still all Betty Friedan and Susan B. Anthony.  It made me sad because it was such an obvious erasure to me and I wonder how many people didn’t even notice it.  Men were awarded for the civil rights movement and white women were rewarded for the woman’s movement.  But where were the women of color?  Already working two jobs while middle class white woman discussed fighting for the right to not be housewifes?  Raising sons and worrying about them coming home alive when racial tensions were high?  Yet no mention as though there work wasn’t important, as though the other movements could have existed without them.

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Responses

  1. Many feel that our only contribution to the civil rights movement was by Rosa Parks. This in part the result of both black men and white women to affirm hierarchy and exert power. Until we fight the twin evils of sexism and racism WOC will continue to be invisible.

  2. as a white woman, i don’t know what to say except “i’m sorry”. i’m sorry for all the times woc have been silenced, ESPECIALLY in the feminist movement. i’m sorry that i’m not more confident in speaking up about such things. i want to be a better ally.

  3. I’d like to echo infamousqbert. I need to demand more of myself every single day. This was so disappointing.

  4. The sad thing is that there’s not a dearth of WOC feminist leaders. I can think of four right off the top of my head (Shirley Chisholm, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Dorothy Pittman Hughes) and there are so many I forget because of my blindingly white privilege.


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