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Nov
26

Domestic Goddess – Part 1 – Racism is Always Bad….

In the mid-late 1970’s, I worked as part of a woman’s collective that was called “Woman to Woman Bookcenter” on lower Colfax Ave, in Denver Colorado. Ours was a multi racial multi class group. We ran a woman’s referral hotline. We called ourselves “feminists”.
In late 1980, just after the reagan lanslide, the various services that our collective’s rolodex offered/referred to the needy, were “unfunded” by the reagonites, who’s sole purpose was to begin the dismantling of the middle class. The first step in this class warfare was to flood the streets with mental patients released from hospitals, thereby putting all the social burden of that on the mom/pop stores in the area, who almost immediately began to go out of business.
We saw our first glimpse of the future when an older woman, well known to all on colfax avenue’s skid row, was taken down by two uniformed police officers, one of whom held her head to the pavement with his black boot. I ran outside to yell… “officer, what are you doing?” I had never seen the likes of it. “did she pull her fork on him?“, I wondered. “get back in your shop!” he yelled. But I, indignant and suburban crossed the street anyway and said, “I want your badge number! I am reporting you!
My sister Geraldine, and two big black lesbian women who worked there before me and sis joined in on the fight against “Patriarchy” (our commitment came from seeing what the mormon church in Utah did to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment) grabbed me by the arms and told me to get back in the shop and to shut up. This was my very first vision of what was coming to America.
I was then sheltered and schooled by black, latina and native american women who have long since been removed.
Back in the mid seventies, jewish and black and latino and native women used to hash out the old racism charges back and forth and it involved some blood too. By the time we found agreement, everyone white and middle class had left the collective and started to join together to build a gay and lesbian community center instead.
They were more comfortable joining ranks with white gay men than with black women who were almost obsessed with leveling charges of racism.
Sister and I stayed and were two of the four white women who chose “international feminism” over class/race. One of the books in our library said this same thing had happened before, back when feminists were trying to force suffrage, and turned the radical black women out of that group too, thereby weakening the entire anti-slavery movement. For her troubles, Susan B. Anthony was given her own silver dollar posthumously.
Sis and I flung back our charges of anti-semitism, yelled about zionism, cried and argued, admitted our racism, let go of it, and cried and argued some more.
We all, brown black and jewish, having agreed that feminism “Womanism” was the thing that mattered most, after years of inner and outer struggle, closed down the bookstore and shipped all of the books to palestine israel egypt and india, where we hoped they would be read and studied, now that no careerist feminists wanted them to live in denver anymore. The books at the new gay and lesbian center were all about sex and “gayety”. No politics, no socialism, no feminist analysis. Those having been removed, the turn to republican money worship was encouraged amongst gays.
Racism is what killed the woman’s movement…racism is always, always bad for white women and for gays too!!! Michael Richards’ implosion is going to happen to more and more folks.

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