A Brief Book Review: Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis

CW: mentions of sexual assault

What is great about this book is what most other pieces of leftist literature seem to lack: it is not pretentious. The language is approachable, the sentences don’t go on and on, and it covers advanced topics and ideas while not seeming overly complicated to get through. Make no mistake, this book does not have simple ideas, rather this book finds a way to convey complex topics in ways more attainable and broken down than I’ve encountered before. 

Davis is also that perfect bridge between two entities who’s stories didn’t include each other for far too long: communist theory and black (specifically female and femme) liberation. Like I said in my piece on the Communist Manifesto, black stories, stories by those that are marginalized by the bourgeois and capitalist system, their stories are oftentimes ignored in this sphere of communist stories, theory, and literature. Finally the obvious link is made and we can read about the intersectionality, the way both movements are inevitably tied, the revolutionary tales of the fight to defeat an unjust system of oppression. 

This book is also great because so often feminist theory is completely clouded in “white- feminism”. It has gotten to the point where I oftentimes avoid the theory and conversations surrounding feminism itself because I am so dissatisfied with the “white-feminist” culture that has flooded feminsit theory. Davis obviously tells feminism as it should be, as it has historically been, and how it truthfully is. Davis tells the true tale of feminism, a movement that white women excluded women of color from too selfishly and systemically put themselves first. If you’re interested in feminism, don’t read about it from any other woman but a woman of color. 

The chapter I actually enjoyed the most was surprisingly Chapter 11: “Rape, Racism and the Myth of the Black Rapist”. One of my favorite lines of the whole book was in this section:

“It seems, in fact, that man of the capitalist class and their middle-class partners are immune to prosecution because they commit their sexual assaults with the same unchallenged authority that legitimizes their daily assaults on the labor and dignity of the working people”

(199-200).

I thought that this really summarized the main narrative of the book. We witness the systems that enable oppressors to reign control in almost every conflict in society. That dynamic of the proletariat systematically being held down is especially and more ample in the lives of black womxn. 

On your journey to liberation through education, the journey that I have found myself on, read this book first. I am not saying this is necessarily an introduction, or a more simple text, but it does so obviously remain remarkable in its ability to convey the complex into a digestible bite.

Published by ellakotsen

student at Bryn Mawr College

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