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Right.And if we'renot we're going to talk about the black woman in today's society. Our guests areDorothy Pitman who is one of the founders of the community controlledmovement. She's now involved in developing an alternative to welfare and forcedWhat programs. Also with us is Julia.She's in the US a vocalist and a student of psychology.
Do you find that to be black and to be a woman is sometimes laboringunder a double handicap. Yesthat's absolutely true I was almost afraid that you were going to ask me the questionthat was answered by Shirley Chisholm saying that she findsit more of a problem to be a black woman in government than a womanor whichever way she felt it. Certainlyblack women on the bottom of both racism and sexism and that is aproblem.But it's a problem for the liberation of all people.And if we don't and the problem for liberation for any people we wantin that for black women but we can't do it without in that for all people which haveyou found to be the most the worst of these two problems racism or sexism.Well I have to say racism first because that is what I
was first introduced to racism. You knowI grew up in Georgia and you know how it is there and everywhere islike that. But I think racism is the worst.Do you find this lawyer for him as Kennedy says that you're basically fighting the same enemy thatit is namely and I quote the white supremacist male in both cases.I don't know how do you know that I don't. I think that white womenhave a long way to go. I understand that we have a problem that's much of thesame because we both deal with sexism but most timesblack women have to deal with white women's racism and classism and we have to.I mean I think that we have to talk about racism classism and sexism because one of the things Ithink that white women have understood is racismat least is understood.
We don't all know what to do about it.But classism it's low almost like the whole movement is saying hey let mehold on to a little of something that I have you know I'm getting rid ofof the sexism part and I'm dealing with the racism but you know OK Ineed my classes right so doing the analysis.I think that we have a lot to deal with.For once though the doors are open for us to deal with it. We or able totalk to each other but I don't believe this is do or can happen until it's understood thatclassism has to go out with all of with sexism. Well regarding thesethree situations where where do you feel the most progress has been accomplished to date.While for me our progress and all of that becauseI think I am an individual I know and thatI've freed myself from all of this you know I have dealtwith the racism and I've go with being a woman.
And you know that sort of thing.And freed myself from that. And also with glasses and Dorothy your memberthe last one right. I'm a nurse andfor some reason you know the director of nurses was out to get me really.She was white good looking woman. And how did this manifest itself. Whyhas it happened. Well I don't know what was on her mind you knowbut really I was where I was supposed to be at that time. Butshe banned me from the hospital and took my case on what grounds.Well I did know what her grounds were until we had a meeting until I called the HumanRights Commissioner who she thought was a human rights commissioner.But I have a divvy my sister Dorothy and we had a meeting with the director andthe administrator that then that it was no really she had nogrounds just she thought that she was you know she
was the director of nurses After all you know when I'm with a mere black nurse.But presumably you both won and you got your job back. Yes I had.I got a lot of apology from her and a letter to myregistry that she then made an error and I got paid for the three days that I wasoff and I got my case back. I mean it was abig clear case of what was could be call classismbecause both their your and this person has had a veryoutstanding personalities and.I think that I had something to do with her being in southern and unable to changethat. The white woman she had a CEPT it beingin New York and being around a number of different kinds of people but shehadn't a step to the possibility of someone and whatshe considered a less a position in dealing with her as an equal.
And I think that when she realized thatthat Julia's attitude is that paper qualifications isnot doesn't it doesn't bother her. Right. But it doesn't stopher. If if a directorship you know if someone else has a directorshipshe has her responsibility to her job and herself and she dealt with it on that level.And it turned out to be it could have been both classism andracism.But I think it was more classism that she could relate to that it was all three maybe.Yeah well considering that black women are probably one of the most oppressedsegments of society and therefore very active in their struggle for liberation. Why are manyblack women not particularly enthusiastic about the women's liberation movement it seems that a parity.Well it there it isn't true in a way because the women's movement started withblack women.As a matter of fact as long as I can remember I've been having rap sessions.
I sing on them.I mean all of us I mean we thought we were.You have to remember our parents and other people other women sitting on theporch in the SOLs right are in the evening talkingand what were they talking about they were talking about their problems and how were they dealing withthe sexism that was in their black homes.Right and they were black men in those homes so manytimes you would pick up things like black men are copyingthe attitudes of white men.And although the sophistication might not have been there that we understoodthat manhood was supposed to be the white male elite andonly the white male lead.That's what society says that you know race is what they were taught so that I mean we got toa basic understanding of where we were at that we have a very good background for thatbeing in the South and being in those rap sessions and when the movement progressedwomen were and Snick and poor and all of the organizations the human rights
movements that was called the civil rights movements of womenfound themselves unable to sit in the group with menand develop political strategy. I'm like is this is this it. You know who wants tocook grits for the revolution.We realize that that man was sayingin the bedroom you know what do you think of this.But when you get in the group with other men it's that upfront thing and you're notsupposed to talk.And the then the women started dealing with that attitude of men.And then because there were white women involved in that movement two white women began tosee their their inferior position and that they had been put on apedestal and the pedestal is a prison for white women. And they were thefirst Chatto Tatar You know the every group that has been brought into thiscountry has been brought in on the basis of white women's imprisonment by white men
and given the titles of of those white women.You know so that I think that once we realize that and oncemostly once white women realize that they were not free you know thatthe movement took place because there was more free time and also white women have notbeen attacked by Monahan. As black people have been attacked by moneyit started really as well as I can remember with heritand that was a long time ago. There arecertain factions of the black community who are rather anti the women'smovement all that I'm just. Yeah but there's one grossly they feel about it. It's okthere is a mostly in my travels around speaking and universitiesalways get the black woman who's educated in a whiteenvironment who some somewhat in beingin that environment have to believe Monohan or is imposed on
enough to believe and I get the questions.You know don't you think that we should be spending our time in the blackmovement rather than the women's movement. How can you separate that. I mean if we'removing for liberation we have to be moving for liberation of a totalperson. You can't liberate half a race you can't liberate half of people. And we area nation of people.And you feel that a closer identification with the women's movement might prove divisive to yourown struggle for come.No I don't. I think that a lot of women are programmed to believe in that but Ibelieve that the kitchen is no better than any other place that if it'snot good enough for my husband is not good enough for me. I can't contributeanything that I don't that isn't good. You know if I can'tmove myself out I can't ever hope to move my husband out like one of the things thatblack men have to get over. And black women need to get over it so that they can help like men toget over it is. The attitude or the idea here
that men or is supposed to be the total wage earnersin the family are supposed to take care of the total family otherwise they're not men. Thereisn't a white man in this country who takes care of his total family that hasn't had the money handed down to himand worked for by my people or someone else. You see so andwhite women work for the 3 percent of the women in America workingyou see. And it certainly isn't black women who have those jobs sothat if black men get away from that and that theirmanhood doesn't depend on the subjugation of anyone else black women will feel less threatenedbecause we have a lot to be threatened about. I mean you know because black mensometimes see themselves dealing with the freedom that theyvisualize of the white woman and the black woman may get threatened by ohwow he digs freedom so he's going over there. So we have a
little a lot of things to cope with and we have to do it how I want to ask her.How could you measure. Oh men and women are not in the movement. Do youhave to be in the organization can't you do it at home.I did I started a long time ago before there was a women's lib. Of course well that's wherethe conscious write lies because really you know the organization is justgetting together and saying what you've done and what you've doneand maybe I can learn something from you.I think that because everybody. Have to find their ownway and their own way of being liberated.How do you feel about the Equal Rights Amendment if this were to be ratified do you think it would help you asblack women go against you.I don't need you mean that bill. Yes that's saying that thatis very progressive. I don't mean that nobody needs itbecause as I said before you free yourself you liberate yourself.You know I think the movement and the like I said the getting together is like people
go to church together you know but you have to do it yourself.It's understandable that it's needed.It should happen you know because a lot of people are unable to seethemselves moving for their own freedom. And I think that thatwe need to express all of those bring into play all of those thingsthat will support women and freeing themselves.And I think that it should happen. Well it's just should be recognized by thecountry that it's needed and that women or so leftout and it's needed for them to gain some kind of strength andconsciousness but we have a bill of rights to what good is it doing.We had the Confederate money is no good anymore. That's a piece of paper.In other words you can't legislate against what's in people's hearts right or you can'tlegislate what I say and normally I mean that I feel that at this timethat the whole of America is becoming. Absolutely. If
if you look at the pattern and. And what's happening now.And look at what and read about what happened in Hitler's Germany. Right.It's not so four off. It's we as a nation have losta lot of what could be humanity and I think that thatif you look at lawyers and consider thetwo basic laws of nature the human law and we don'treally need the paper and you know you can't even believe anyway that someone who wrote theConstitution could ever dream of having met you or more Ior do you and it just wasn't possible for a particular guy or these group of menunderstand what our needs would be.So how do how does a nation how is a nation expected to relate tothat. We can only relate to it as a piece of history and developstrategies for the kinds of change that we need now.
So your point let's talk about the black family again there is a a missileperhaps it's not a myth I'd like you to tell me that the black family is a matriarchalfamily.So I don't think that it's a myth and I think that within that there arelots of myths I think that that considering what thesituation was for black men.That would have to be expected that that was operativecondition and if black women were if people were going to survive a Black people were gonnasurvive. You're right right that you don't have to that whoeverby any means necessary you pull yourself out of that situation. Andeven though it's used today to sort of say to a black man and thisis again what I'm talking about Monaghan right to say to black men hey look youbetter put her in the kitchen you better put her back and shut her up it's time for you to come out and speaknow you know. And and what we have to get across to two men and women
black men and women especially is that if black women strengthbrought us out of the out of all this wayyou know brothers we're we're all for a week that where we can relate to each otherwhere we can tell each other and really began to understand each other.We've come this for then nobody should ever suggest.And no black man I'm on earth should ever believe that we couldn't go togetherto Total Freedom.And it doesn't mean someone walking behind the other person but walking together with that ablack woman's place is never really been considered to be in the home has it. Did you find that there'sless sexual stereotyping and I'm black women's woman has always first been in the home.Right.Every black woman has ever gone out to work has always carried with her theworries of her children of her husband whether or not he's going to be feelingwell did he get a job today what ever it was. How are my children fairing now.
And so we really never left home and also when we'd gotten back home from working we've done our ownhouses. We took care of it within the home and went out of the home.But where as a black woman might be doing it as part of her family responsibility for economicnecessity a white woman might consider that this is a step towards in the brushas I think like whatever you need to liberateyourself.You see if you feel that way. So you feel that you've been kept in thehome and to liberate yourself you have to get out to work. Then youdo that you know whatever you need to do.You know you didn't you were how you know you know places in the home. And mine wason the job and in the home. I mean it was you know I knew that that white womenwere saying that I have a feeling that they were saying that theywanted to.They wanted the freedom to have a choice about whether they were going to be in the home because whitewomen I ever went to were in the homes. Black women have been in white women's
homes right. And all of that has been done accordingto. I mean it was an exploitation of that sister who's been in the home.Right. Are where the husband never offered enough money to payfor the for what that black sister was doing. Where I thinkthat if white women have been in the home with that black sister they would have bothrecognize the common bonds between them and you know and moreof a movement would have happened quicker.As far as employment is concerned where where do you feel you're mosta variance or perhaps in competition with white women is it the white middle class women.I don't feel incompetent to avoid when I'm talking really about us.You know as far as a pay discrepancy only means I pay. Itstill isn't competition because nobody has set us up. For thatyet. I think that that white women obviously make more money. They get a
job as a blocker women but that's there. It's not really based onit's based on the whole of the system how it works. White men are making more money thanblack men. You know white women in some jobs aremaking more money than black men and most jobs black men are making more money than white women and whitewomen are making more money than black women so black women are always on the bottom of that whole thing and I thinkthat one of the things that could happen if the movement women'smovement take a position. On how they relate towomen period. Non-white women and also how they're going to relate to all of theout groups that includes nonwhite men. Andthose men who see that movement is their movement to to liberate themselvesso that what we're leaving out is how we all are going to deal with the white male elite you know.And if we if white women see themselves going into jobs where they are going to betrained by a black woman or a black man who has been doing that job for
15 years and if they take a salary above that person who's trainingthem then they really aren't dealing with the movement. And they really aren't dealing with itwith breaking down that system of exploitation. And so that and it'shappening here and we're talking about not substituting white womenin our oppression are not substituting black men and our oppressionbut everybody understanding what we're doing to each other because we have the system and it'sonly going to change as we change ourselves.I had a job with an encyclopædia company. I think Igot five promotions in one less than a year. I became a district managercan we call him names.I think that a no no. They know who they are.But anyway I was you know to me if I'm going to have a job I have to likeit. That is not a job. And I don't want to stay in the same place same at the same level. If there'sroom you know there are other places to go. So my next goal was a
regional manager.There was no black Regional Manager man or woman in the areaand I had so they gave me so many hurdles.You know you have to do this and you do that then there's something else you know.So when I found out what their game was I quit.But there is a black regional manager now and I help therebecause I knew what she had to do. Why so I I helped her she's ablack regional manager now.She lives in New York. But right now she's And California for the company. And Ithink they're paying or something like that. One hundred twenty five a day they arepaying her that to go to California.I helped her because I didn't let her find out like I did as long as she hasit. You know I I'm sort of quiet but I'm deepfor a very run of the show business is that right. Well we've been a show biz was a long time
how do you find a situation show business now me right now. Yeswell right I think it really is sort of correct. I do it because Ilike it I'm not trying to make a career out of anything we just love to sing all ofus you know.One when I started and came to New York I thought it was horrible and I had toget out of it in order to learn the politics because and especially for me.Any female It was horrible. I mean the kinds of Mar trips youwould have to take us up through to get anywhere.The whole thing spread with anything or anything as it is with everything you classismracism and you have to get to a point like zoos do what you enjoy and youdon't.And also it helps you to understand that you have talents but you came here withand that you can build on all of them and we don't have to be hooked into oneskill because of an educational system that doesn't understand education.How do you feel about the representation of black women in the media.
Oh is that it will that that's really almost Lori Steinem and I work togetherfor a couple of years speaking around the country and.One of the reasons that you don't see a lot of black women you know and as do you saidI mean it's not new but one of the reason is because the media is terriblyracist and I trace you know that you just don't see the lack of women and yes you know youhave of course you just said that the black woman is on the right and men areblack men are not getting the kind of of things that they should be getting.Obviously I mean like you would never see I meanfive years ago you bite out of seeing a black man in the studio worklike this on camera right. And that you are today you do see oneone OK you may in five you see a woman. If wekeep pushing back she'll be a wind that will have to be a white one first so that thepatterns are there and nobody is too upset
about.About Nobody is too upset about it.Which frightens me. Also I think that black men have to be concerned aboutit because you know why are you upset about it but you don't know and you know that's the mediaagain. OK you know we have to become upset enough to began controllingsome of the media that's that's what I'm talking about.We have to find a way to deal with where it where people areoppressed over a long period of time that the self-image is very oftendamaged do you find the female black female self-image as being more damaged perhapsand I have never seen anything happen to the black females image.I am always a beautiful black woman.I mean I'm still strong. I mean if you talk about black women I thinkthat you I think of the earth. When I think of ablack woman when I think of myself I think of of the earth because I know what
I have lived in it and the seals that have been plowed and thecotton that's been picked That's been my mother my whole life has been builton earth and I think that there's nothing that can shake that.I mean there's nothing ever that will tremble like womanhood.Let's go straight on this and if we find one going a little shaky we proper upand we have to do that for women.So the black woman has sometimes been accused of robbing the blackman of his identity.She didn't know it was waiting there. Let's look OK. That's agood one. I don't mean by that anyway have I rather than what what is meant I'm not goinganywhere that I'm aware having or so have also falleninto some of that understanding you know that that ifwe are robbing them of their manhood and.Our quote from Bobby Seale you know manhood has never depended on the subjugation of
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Black Women
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WNED (Buffalo, New York)
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This episode features a conversation with Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Julia Van Metre. Hughes is a feminist, African American activist, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, and child welfare advocate. Van Metre is a nurse and student of psychology. The women discuss racism and sexism that black women face every day.
Woman is a talk show featuring in-depth conversations exploring issues affecting the lives of women.
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Director: George, Will
Guest: Hughes, Dorothy Pitman
Guest: Dorothy, Julia Van Metre
Host: Dean, Samantha
Producer: Elkin, Sandra
Producing Organization: WNED
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: WNED 04270 (WNED-TV)
Format: DVCPRO
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:28:50
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Chicago: “Woman; 025; Black Women,” 1973-03-29, WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 20, 2019,
MLA: “Woman; 025; Black Women.” 1973-03-29. WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 20, 2019. <>.
APA: Woman; 025; Black Women. Boston, MA: WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from