Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beginning with the introductory readings for this week's presentation, one point in particular from each movement's platforms struck me. The Young Lords stated in their fourth point that, internationally, "we each recognize our people, but our fights are the same against oppression and we will defeat it together". I found this especially interesting and thought-provoking because with each social movement, they often isolate themselves and become caught up in all their problems and forget that others around them might have similar experiences that could help them.

In the Black Panther platform, I found the fifth point quite interesting and relevant to today as well. It states that "We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else". As I mentioned before, in most social movements, it can be easy to become swept up in only your problems, but education and learning about your history and also the history of other movements and initiatives can really help clarify what has already been fought for and where you stand today in your fight.

This importance of education hit me hard on Monday night when Ms. Cruz did her presentation. I hardly knew anything about the Young Lords movement and only a little bit more about the Black Panthers, but nothing related to women in either of these groups. Hearing her discuss these people, acknowledging how radical they seemed to some, reminded me of the feminist movement today. Those who don't understand it think we are radical and believe that women should be superior to men however, if all understood our main goal they may think differently.

Women becoming superior to men and the idea that helping them would degrade men's role in society is an idea that came up on Monday night and was reiterated in our follow-up readings. In the 'Position Paper on Women', the author illustrates Puerto Rican societal norms bluntly, describing "la corteja" and the importance of the "'merchandise'" of a virgin bride. This set the stage for understanding where the women within these two movements were coming from. In the 'Position on Women's Liberation', the differences between the various women's liberation parties are laid out. The right wing included women who believed "men are evil and can't be changed". The "center position" included the "liberals, reformers, who merely demand 'more rights for women'". Finally, the left-wing and the best of these women, are revolutionaries who understand who the real enemy is". The interview with the Panthers went in to more detail about their opinion on how women's oppression could be eliminated. The Panther Women state, "to say we want full share and full responsibility is kind of difficult and kind of touchy because of our society ... we have to be very sure that the roles are evenly divided ... some brothers still have this fear of women dominating the whole political scene". As is true today, the feminist movement cannot simply demand women and men to have equal roles in all situations--this is simply unrealistic. Instead, we need to ease our way out of the habit of relying on men and help them understand we simply want respect.

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