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65 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1467 (1991-1992)
Race, Gender, and Sexual Harassment

handle is hein.journals/scal65 and id is 1485 raw text is: RACE, GENDER, AND SEXUAL
I would like to thank Anita Hill and express my deep respect to her
for having the courage to shatter the silence on sexual harassment. I am
certain that I speak for millions of women in saying that I have been
inspired and renewed by her strength and integrity.
I have looked forward to addressing you tonight on a critical issue at
this very important juncture in our political history. Sexual harassment
has captured our attention over the last several weeks and has of course
galvanized women in a way that scarcely could have been imagined only
a few short months ago. The issue I want to address tonight, however, is
at once narrower and broader than sexual harassment. Focusing on the
intersections of race and gender, I want to highlight the racial dimen-
sions of sexual harassment of African-American women.
Over the last month women have consistently used the concept of
silence to talk about why harassment has been buried for so long and
why women are now beginning to shatter that silence. We have also
talked about how women who have experienced sexual harassment are
situated between a rock and a hard place. We understand now that our
choices as women are limited to silently tolerating sexual harassment and
other abuses or confronting the further degradation and psychic assault
that we are sure to receive if we speak out and resist.
I would like to build upon both those metaphors as a means to
uncover the particular ways in which Black women are silenced between
the rocks and the hard places of racism and sexism. One way of begin-
ning to think about this space is suggested by the concept of intersection-
ality. African-American women by virtue of our race and gender are
* Based upon a speech at the Forum for Women State Legislators held in San Diego,
California on November 15, 1991 and sponsored by the Rutgers University Center for the American
Woman and Politics.
** Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia University. The ideas in this piece
are further developed in Sexuality and Intersectional Politics: When Race and Gender Stop Making
Sense, in RACE-ING JUSTICE, EN-GENDERING CHANGE (Toni Morrison 1992).


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