Wednesday, April 15, 2015

      I was very intrigued by Ms. Cruz's presentation on the Black Panther and the Young Lords movements. One reason for that being the fact that I have never, in my education, had a curriculum focus on either of these movements. Personally, being a Latina, I couldn't believe that I had never even heard of the Young Lords. I can see how people, looking back, may have just thought that these revolutionary groups were violent and angry black and brown people. They weren't; I agree for what they stood for, they wanted change and they wanted change now. When comparing the rules for each group, they were extremely similar and included rules such as, no member could take part in illegal activity, which is important to note. The Civil Rights Movement at the time, wasn't causing the radical changes they believed needed to be in place.
       As with anything at the time, it took time for women's voices to evolve and for them to have their place within the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. Similar to most of our other talks, women were seen as the reproducers, the care-givers, objectified and abused. It's sad to say, but today, many people see and treat women in this manner. (But that is another huge issue to be discussed.) In the follow-up reading on women's liberation within the Black Panthers, the woman speaks on how they needed to put their foot down and stand up for their proper roles. She felt as though women had to make changes within the group to then make changes in society. She touched on how women had to pick up guns just like the men. Many people think this promotes violence but it's really the meaning behind it. Women in the Black Panther movement were demanding respect and got it. She ended her interview with saying that women are they other half of the movement, a revolution can not take place with just the work of men, and this is so true! What would today's world be without the role of a woman?
       I loved learning that women began to be viewed just as powerful and confident as men within the groups. Most of the time, this happened because many men were being sent to jail and so women had to step up. The images presented, although staged, were great representation for women which wouldn't really be seen at that time; Images of women holding guns, walking confidently and having an aura of intimidation.
       As the follow-up article on women's liberation among the Young Lords Party, stated, "Women have historically been at the bottom of the ladder" and I completely agree. It lists how women were oppressed for the color of their skin, secondly oppressed for being women and finally, oppressed by their own husbands, and I am glad the Young Lord's Party acknowledged this. They stated that men are considered, strong, aggressive, hard and cold, while women were weak, timid, soft-spoken and loving. I think we can all agree that in this aspect, society has changed by only a tiny bit. This is still an issue today. It's upsetting that we aren't taught these groups in our curriculum and it's important that this changes because white history is not our only history and as many of us can see, history is repeating itself.

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