Unseen: A Perspective on How Black Women are Left Out of America’s Social and Political Movements

April 2021

The year 2020 saw a monumental call for change in America. Who was at the heart of it all? Black women. They have been praised for their contributions to politics and have advocated fervently for social change, yet they will likely see little to none of the rewards of that change. This perspective analyzes two spaces: Politics (through the Democratic Party) and social justice movements (Feminism and the Black Lives Matter movements). Literature has shown that Black women are statistically more likely to identify as feminists, participate in elections, and advocate for policy to better the community rather than the individual. To properly understand why Black women’s integral roles in these organizations go unnoticed, it is imperative to draw attention to the lack of intersectionality present in social activism and politics and the misogynoir that harms Black women and girls in our communities. Also, the idea of media representations of Black women reflecting how America interacts with Black women as members and leaders of these communities must be explored. Often Black women are reduced to tropes, tropes that intend to diminish Black women’s power in the public sphere and make them nothing more than caricatures. As technology advances and digital activism comes to the forefront, there become even more ways to be vocal and create social change. America must call for an intersectional view of activism and require those who run these organizations and groups to consider if they address the unique issues of Black women, a demographic that supports, advocates, and at times, creates their ideologies and frameworks.