Racism And African American Women Essay

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In today’s society, racism is viewed as a controversial and hot topic. In both institutions and in everyday situations, this concept can be found and is often used to justify an action, thought, or a perception. In his article, Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva offers several definitions of racism; he quotes Dr. Richard Schaeffer’s succinct definition, which states racism as “‘...a doctrine of racial supremacy, that one race is superior’" (1997:465). Racism affects the African-American community very strongly, as this race has a history of being treated as racially inferior to other racial groups. Within this community, African-American women are often considered doubly disadvantaged in various situations because of their minority positions of both being a woman and being African-American. Through an analysis of the popular African-American sitcom, A Different World, one can see how racism, particularly the concept of controlling images, shapes the reality of African-American women. In an analysis of controlling images of African-American women, it is vital to consider the black feminist thought movement. Dr. Rupe Simms explains that this theory “…consists of a body of knowledge based on the life experience of Black women that interprets their reality, defines their unique standpoint, and facilitates their emancipation from the hegemonic forces of sexism, racism, and classism” (2001:879). These life experiences are often defined by economic, political, and ideological oppression.
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