Marginalization of black women from slavery to contemporary time: Exploration of self-identity and self-assertion
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The African Americans had been tortured and subjugated since the time of slave trade when they were brought to America. Women of African American community had to face more subjugation than the male one. They were the minor and inferior group who experienced triple marginalization during the time of slavery and even after the abolition of slavery. Civil rights movement, Women movement, Black movement etc could not change their position in the society. Eventually, they did not consider black women’s effort and experience in the account under the oppression of racism and sexism. They were not only marginalized by the white man but also white women and black man in the society. There were always a concept of gender hierarchy and competition between white women and black women that created polarization in their relationship. It created an unavoidable and unacceptable environment for black women in the society and forced them to challenge the conventional feminist ideology. Black feminism and Womanism were the two different ideologies and theories established by the African American women to explore their individuality and create a significant mark in the white and male dominated patriarchal society. The aim of this paper is to explore the struggle and oppression of black women in the American society because of being ‘black’ and ‘woman’ through the lens of Black feminism and Womanism. The paper will demonstrate the fact how they have achieved their self identity and established self-assertion under the domination of racism and sexism. To demonstrate their situation and prove the content I have used three novels Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacob, Beloved and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. These novels help the paper to depict the reality of slavery and the post slavery condition of black women. The paper also describes how black women overcome the effect of slavery in their daily and social life even in 20th century. Academic journals, books, articles are also used in this paper to make the data stronger.