In America and across the world, we were angry and horrified by the killing of Floyd. His senseless murder laid out for every one to see the grave inequality and violence toward African Americans by American police. The peaceful protests are vital and should usher in meaningful reform.
The following is an essay I wrote for my favorite professor James Goodman at Harvard College. It reflects the beginning of my journey writing about human rights.
The history of the relationship between feminism and the struggle against racism has been one of paradoxes—of cooperation and diametric opposition, of growing together and splitting apart, of hopeful beginnings and bitter endings. In the mid-nineteenth century, many women enlisted as volunteers in the abolitionist movement because they saw parallels between the oppression of slaves and their own plight as women. Through their involvement in the crusade, they garnered their consciousness as an oppressed group and began a campaign for women’s rights. Blacks and women supported the cause of both groups throughout the Civil War. During the campaign to pass and ratify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, however, some women’s rights leaders not only withdrew their endorsement of the freedman’s cause but sabotaged it and its recent gains. In order to bolster their stagnate movement, suffragists played on the racist fears of Americans and argued that their vote was a crucially needed to counter the freedman’s newly-won vote. Thus, the cooperative effort of white women and blacks to end their respective oppressions crumbled into a competitive fight in which white women used racism to gain their feminist ends.