Solidarity Between White and Black Women: Is It Possible?

In order for women to obtain solidarity and create Sisterhood, they must bond with another and stop discriminating each other.

Sisterhood can be defined as a community of women linked together through a common interest. A common interest women may share is “common oppression”— seen as an emotional appeal hiding the fact that women oppress and exploit one another. Solidarity can be similar to sisterhood in the sense that it is a unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest. There is a natural support within the group. Women practice solidarity when confronting the issue of bringing down male supremacy and abolish discrimination among each other. Together, women unite in order to bring awareness to certain issues that affect them as individuals and/or community — in this case, uniting and bonding to support each other and not from a man. Women must learn how to value each other in order to establish positive relationships with other women and not just men. Sisterhood can be attained when these women decide to come together and unite against an issue affecting them, but sexism, racism and classism prevent solidarity from happening due to women not being able to unite.

Male Dominators and Female Subordinators
Male supremacists believe that they should shield women from reality and protect them from certain issues in society. bell hooks states the ideology of male supremacists is to encourage women to believe they are valueless and obtain value only through relating and/or bonding with men. Men have been known to be the dominant gender and women must obey their rules and do as they say. They do not believe that solidarity is attainable for women because women were considered “natural enemies”. In order for solidarity to happen, women must bond and have good relationships with each other, but they cannot due to discriminating one another. From solidarity can come Sisterhood between women, but they must break the attachment to sexism and transform female consciousness. The reasons why women must break attachment from sexism is because it leads to women feeling threatened by one another for no cause, feeling as sex objects to men, devaluing of parenting work and inflating jobs and careers, women hating and only having two behavior patterns: dominant or submissive. Women are considered to be submissive while the men are dominant in every society. Women have also faced sexism in the work force when it comes to management.

Considering A Top Management Position
In the workforce, men and women are in similar positions when considering a promotion at work or working in a high placement, but men are given more opportunities than women. Women are less likely then men to obtain top management jobs, meaning they are paid less and have less formal authority. Because of this, women were never really given the chance to obtain high positions in their fields. the reasons behind this were because they did not have high educational attainment, job preferences, or an accumulated work experience. Women were working too hard, both at the office and at home if they were mothers as well. It seemed that women must balance work and family at the same time, so many of them had to work fewer hours and stay at home to take care of their children. This did not affect men because they did not have to care for their children, rather they went to work and worked hard enough to obtain promotions, leading to top management positions.

Who’s Lives Are Affected the Most?
One’s race allows for discrimination to exist in a white dominant society where white women are superior over women of color. Racism is considered to be societal and institutional and it depends on one’s race. It may affect everyone’s lives, but it is only white women who can truly “afford” to remain oblivious from its effects. Since white women do not face much racism, it is still a barrier to solidarity between all women. solidarity allows women to have relationships with one another, but white women are superior to black women, who are seen as subordinates due to a white dominated society. This eventually leads to racist discrimination, exploitation and oppression of multi-ethnic women by white women and made it impossible for both groups to feel they shared common interests. Women on all levels know the feeling of this oppression, so they must use this knowledge to identify, understand and feel with the oppressed as a way out of the morass of racism and guilt.

The Help
There is a movie, The Help, which helps explain how white women treated their black women maids and vise versa. Hilly, a white woman, claimed she wanted to pass a bill that requires every white home to have a separate bathroom for the colored help. She notified the surgeon general of Mississippi to see if he’ll endorse the idea. This white woman wanted to legalize discriminatory practices and reinforce racist opinions towards the help. On the other hand, there was a white woman who enjoyed the company of the help and did not treated them as lesser than herself, her name is Skeeter. She conducted interviews with the colored help and Hilly mentioned they loved her like, like she is her own family. It shows that going up against Hilly makes Skeeter an outcast in the white community, but earns her acceptance in the black community, demonstrating solidarity between Skeeter and the help. The solidarity Skeeter and the help shared allowed them to step up against their white woman superior, for example, Minny baking a pie, adding her poop in it and feeding it to the Miss Hilly. She was able to face her superior and told her to “Eat my shit!”, literally, and went back home.

White and Rich Versus Black and Poor
The white race has always been considered superior over any other race, but the black race has been affected the most than any other, and black women, overall, have faced far worse. Racism plays a huge role in how social class is determined in Stockett’s Jackson, Mississippi. Black women did not have access to educational, occupational and economic opportunities. White women would stay home and have gatherings with the other white women while their husbands would go and work. Black women, on the other hand, became maids for these white families and would care for their children, practically raising them, and these women were also battered by their men once they got home, barely making a living for their family, living in a small house. The white community members employ violence and coercion at times in order to keep superiority over people of color, even if some of these white women did not agree with such violence. These white women were considered superior over the Help because they lived a glamorous life where they did not have to work to make a living, due to their husbands working on a daily, but these black maids had to take so much discrimination, keeping their mouths shut, because they had a family to take care of at a home barely big enough to house them all. Since they did not have a formal education, they could not obtain a better job with better pay, so they had to take a lot of oppression from the white race, especially white women.

Overall, Sisterhood is only attainable when sexism, racism and classism is abolished from society in order to unite and bond with one another. Men do not think this is approachable because women cannot and should not bond with each other because women oppress and discriminate one another with no cause to bring it forth. This is why all women should fight to obtain this solidarity and show their positive relationships with one another in order to no longer depend on men and their authority, rather have their own authority and finally have a strong Sisterhood.

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