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Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor

AAST 100

Claudia Jones believes that African American women are the most persecuted group in the United States. Being an African American is hard, but being an African American woman presents an additional set of challenges. Throughout Jones’ excerpt she describes the oppression and neglect that African American women face. During this time period after World War II it was especially hard for negro women to get jobs because of the depression. Therefore, negro women had to take whatever jobs available. Jones describes how negro women are exploited as domestic workers yet they are able to remain the backbone of their families. Also, Jones discusses white chauvinist attitudes. In the context of this article chauvinism means any white person regardless of gender being oppressive towards black women for the sake of loyalty toward white people. This is understandable because negro women were excluded economically, politically, and socially. Throughout all the struggles negro women faced they would be very meaningful to the party because of their breadwinner and militant characteristics.

Black women were economically, socially, and politically excluded from the Marxist analysis because of chauvinist attitudes from progressive whites which doubted their capabilities. It is valuable to attend to the struggles of black women because, in spite of these obstacles, they were able to position themselves as the backbone of their families as well as encourage political awareness and change.

The struggles of the African American woman worker should be attended to because their well being directly impacts the negro family. For example, the negro woman is the backbone of the African American family because she is generally the head of the house and the breadwinner. Therefore, the well-being of the negro family is dependent upon negro women. As a result, negro women are placed at an economic disadvantage because they are forced to take whatever jobs to provide for their families. Compared to white women, negro women make less than half of their earnings. Jones argues,”They are the last to be hired and the first to be fired.”(Jones 459) The reason why African American women are underpaid is because many of them are employed in domestic service. In the field of domestic service it is easy for African American women to be taken advantage of. Jones states, “over a million African American women are placed in domestic and personal service.”(Jones 455) Jones also states that “918,000 of these women workers are employed by private families.”(Jones 455) Private family labor is labor within a home that are not governmentally regulated. With private family labor it is easy to be taken advantage of because minimum wage laws are not implemented properly. During this time period there was the domestic workers union which granted basic rights to workers. However, negro women were denied access to the domestic workers union. Jones proclaims, “Only about one in ten of all Negro women workers are covered by present minimum wage legislation, although about one fourth of all such workers are to be found in states having minimum wage laws.”(Jones 456) The effect of this was negro women being exploited to work for low wages.

As a result of women being domestic servants white women had chauvinist attitudes towards black female servants. These chauvinist attitudes affected negro women in all aspects of their lives. Chauvinist attitudes perpetuated madam-maid relationships between white and black women.(Jones 457) White female progressives were very patronizing towards black women which made it seem like they were more superior. It was common for domestic black servants to be called girl by white women. Other ways in which chauvinism was practiced by white women is that they believed that black women were incapable of communicating properly and recognizing their exploitation. Jones States”the duty of the white employer is to “inform” the negro women of their exploitation.”(Jones 457) This portrays how black women were perceived as children from the standpoint of white women. Also, progressive white women did not respect negro women’s fight for equality even though it was beneficial for all women including themselves. Progressives and Communists continued to oppress black women by denying them access to the Domestic Workers Union. Negro women were not allowed organized leadership positions as a result of chauvinism. For example Jones states, “a Negro domestic worker who wanted to join the Party was told by her employer, a communist, that she was “too backward and “wasn’t ready” to join the party.”(Jones 455) Since the members of the Party are saying negro women aren\’t ready to join the party they are basically implying that they are immature. Another example is” a leading Negro trade unions, the treasurer of her Party section, would be told by a white progressive woman after every function:Let me have the money; something may happen to you.” White women not wanting negro women to handle money exemplifies how negro women were considered irresponsible and were not trusted in important positions. Even at social affairs negro women were neglected by the white women, white men, and negro men because they were unable to participate. Also, they were looked down upon socially in terms of the white ruling class because they believed that a woman\’s appearance was better if they were light skinned. These attitudes and actions discouraged negro women from participating in the party and other progressive organizations.

Negro women should be attended to because they can be very beneficial to the party. Negro women could be beneficial because, as stated earlier, they are the backbone of the negro family. Despite negro women facing all forms of oppression they were able to pull their families together. Therefore, they could possibly add some stability and structure to the party. Also, negro women would be a crucial component in increasing political awareness because of their militant backgrounds. For example, the main components in the packinghouse workers strike and the tobacco workers strike were two negro women Moranda Smith and Velma Hopkins. This resulted in many people recognizing their struggles and more jobs for negro women. As a result they portray the struggles of African American people. The strike also led to increased political awareness because they elected the first black person in the South after Reconstruction. One of the beliefs of the party is that the same forces that exploit negro women exploit black people, women, and workers. Therefore it is important to address the forces that oppress negro women. Jones believes that by attending to black women’s specific needs it would allow them to assume leadership in the national liberation movement. Their participation would be a powerful force in liberating the white and black working class and creating a Socialist America.

Claudia Jones’ essay about the neglect of women is important in African American history because it helped to acknowledge women and their unique role they play in society. Also, it inspired many black radicals and feminists during this time period and still many people today. Black women were economically, socially, and politically excluded from the Marxist analysis because of chauvinist attitudes from progressive whites which doubted their capabilities. It is valuable to attend to the struggles of black women because, in spite of these obstacles, they were able to position themselves as the backbone of their families as well as encourage political awareness and change.Eric Taylor

AAST 100

Claudia Jones believes that African American women are the most persecuted group in the United States. Being an African American is hard, but being an African American woman presents an additional set of challenges. Throughout Jones’ excerpt she describes the oppression and neglect that African American women face. During this time period after World War II it was especially hard for negro women to get jobs because of the depression. Therefore, negro women had to take whatever jobs available. Jones describes how negro women are exploited as domestic workers yet they are able to remain the backbone of their families. Also, Jones discusses white chauvinist attitudes. In the context of this article chauvinism means any white person regardless of gender being oppressive towards black women for the sake of loyalty toward white people. This is understandable because negro women were excluded economically, politically, and socially. Throughout all the struggles negro women faced they would be very meaningful to the party because of their breadwinner and militant characteristics.

Black women were economically, socially, and politically excluded from the Marxist analysis because of chauvinist attitudes from progressive whites which doubted their capabilities. It is valuable to attend to the struggles of black women because, in spite of these obstacles, they were able to position themselves as the backbone of their families as well as encourage political awareness and change.

The struggles of the African American woman worker should be attended to because their well being directly impacts the negro family. For example, the negro woman is the backbone of the African American family because she is generally the head of the house and the breadwinner. Therefore, the well-being of the negro family is dependent upon negro women. As a result, negro women are placed at an economic disadvantage because they are forced to take whatever jobs to provide for their families. Compared to white women, negro women make less than half of their earnings. Jones argues,”They are the last to be hired and the first to be fired.”(Jones 459) The reason why African American women are underpaid is because many of them are employed in domestic service. In the field of domestic service it is easy for African American women to be taken advantage of. Jones states, “over a million African American women are placed in domestic and personal service.”(Jones 455) Jones also states that “918,000 of these women workers are employed by private families.”(Jones 455) Private family labor is labor within a home that are not governmentally regulated. With private family labor it is easy to be taken advantage of because minimum wage laws are not implemented properly. During this time period there was the domestic workers union which granted basic rights to workers. However, negro women were denied access to the domestic workers union. Jones proclaims, “Only about one in ten of all Negro women workers are covered by present minimum wage legislation, although about one fourth of all such workers are to be found in states having minimum wage laws.”(Jones 456) The effect of this was negro women being exploited to work for low wages.

As a result of women being domestic servants white women had chauvinist attitudes towards black female servants. These chauvinist attitudes affected negro women in all aspects of their lives. Chauvinist attitudes perpetuated madam-maid relationships between white and black women.(Jones 457) White female progressives were very patronizing towards black women which made it seem like they were more superior. It was common for domestic black servants to be called girl by white women. Other ways in which chauvinism was practiced by white women is that they believed that black women were incapable of communicating properly and recognizing their exploitation. Jones States”the duty of the white employer is to “inform” the negro women of their exploitation.”(Jones 457) This portrays how black women were perceived as children from the standpoint of white women. Also, progressive white women did not respect negro women’s fight for equality even though it was beneficial for all women including themselves. Progressives and Communists continued to oppress black women by denying them access to the Domestic Workers Union. Negro women were not allowed organized leadership positions as a result of chauvinism. For example Jones states, “a Negro domestic worker who wanted to join the Party was told by her employer, a communist, that she was “too backward and “wasn’t ready” to join the party.”(Jones 455) Since the members of the Party are saying negro women aren\’t ready to join the party they are basically implying that they are immature. Another example is” a leading Negro trade unions, the treasurer of her Party section, would be told by a white progressive woman after every function:Let me have the money; something may happen to you.” White women not wanting negro women to handle money exemplifies how negro women were considered irresponsible and were not trusted in important positions. Even at social affairs negro women were neglected by the white women, white men, and negro men because they were unable to participate. Also, they were looked down upon socially in terms of the white ruling class because they believed that a woman\’s appearance was better if they were light skinned. These attitudes and actions discouraged negro women from participating in the party and other progressive organizations.

Negro women should be attended to because they can be very beneficial to the party. Negro women could be beneficial because, as stated earlier, they are the backbone of the negro family. Despite negro women facing all forms of oppression they were able to pull their families together. Therefore, they could possibly add some stability and structure to the party. Also, negro women would be a crucial component in increasing political awareness because of their militant backgrounds. For example, the main components in the packinghouse workers strike and the tobacco workers strike were two negro women Moranda Smith and Velma Hopkins. This resulted in many people recognizing their struggles and more jobs for negro women. As a result they portray the struggles of African American people. The strike also led to increased political awareness because they elected the first black person in the South after Reconstruction. One of the beliefs of the party is that the same forces that exploit negro women exploit black people, women, and workers. Therefore it is important to address the forces that oppress negro women. Jones believes that by attending to black women’s specific needs it would allow them to assume leadership in the national liberation movement. Their participation would be a powerful force in liberating the white and black working class and creating a Socialist America.

Claudia Jones’ essay about the neglect of women is important in African American history because it helped to acknowledge women and their unique role they play in society. Also, it inspired many black radicals and feminists during this time period and still many people today. Black women were economically, socially, and politically excluded from the Marxist analysis because of chauvinist attitudes from progressive whites which doubted their capabilities. It is valuable to attend to the struggles of black women because, in spite of these obstacles, they were able to position themselves as the backbone of their families as well as encourage political awareness and change.