You're listening to Comedy Central now. Obviously, coronavirus, the biggest story this year has been Black Lives Matter movement, fighting for equality and justice, and the reason so many of your favorite statues are suddenly unemployed. But as much as everyone has been talking about BLM, there's one aspect that doesn't get talked about enough.
The role of black women in the movement's national attention focused on police brutality of and police killings of black men is not extended to black women. Often black women, black trans women are left out of the conversation.
While the names most associated with the Black Lives Matter movement are male, black women and girls are regularly victim to police brutality.
In the US, black women's experiences of police brutality tend to receive far less media and political attention. Dealing with this double layer of discrimination, black women have often been at the heart of key civil rights movements, for example, the Black Lives Matter movement founded by three women back in 2013.
Yeah, think about it.
There's this giant historic movement sweeping the country and 99 percent of us have never even heard of the women who founded it, which is pretty egregious. I mean, we all know who founded KFC, and that's not even a movement for racial equality. I mean, that's just a movement for destroying your bowels. And look, I'll be honest, I didn't know black women started the Black Lives Matter movement, partly because on Vecchi told me it was her daughter.
It was really convincing. She had a resume and everything. But the unfortunate truth is overlooking the role of black women in leading movements of social justice isn't anything new, as we'll find out in another installment of If You Don't Know Now you know. Although black women have been the pioneers of so many movements that have changed the world, the erasure of black women from the story of these movements is something we've seen many times throughout American history.
Starting all the way back with the women's suffrage movement, African-American women in particular played a significant and sometimes overlooked role in the suffrage movement.
There were African American women fighting for suffrage from the beginning. You know, Sojourner Truth, in the time of the Civil War, I had to be Wells Barnett and Mary Church Terrell.
They built a movement that would grow to half a million, but they would never find acceptance among mainstream suffragists.
At that time, suffrage leaders were actively wooing Southern white members to appease the southerners.
White suffragists found it expedient to abandon their black sisters.
They minimized the presence of black women. In that struggle, Elizabeth Cady Stanton seized control of suffrage, history and this multivolume book that still dominates the histories and essentially wrote black women out of that.
That's right. Black suffragettes were literally written out of the history books by white women in the movement. And just look at their faces. It's like they had already seen the future and they were like. I'm not going to get credit for any of this, Emma, because the truth is certain white feminist heroes were super problematic. I mean, people remember them like they were early versions of Wonder Woman, when in reality they were more like the mom from Get Out.
Now, you may not be surprised that these nineteen twenties, Karens were eager to accept black women's work, but give them none of the credit. But what may surprise you is that black men in the civil rights movement were also happy to do a similar thing.
Most women who worked in the movement who were the backbone of the civil rights movement were not really known.
Media attention would always be drawn to the men of the movement as they're doing work, the Martin Luther King's and others, but would not necessarily go to women like Ella Baker, who was a long time activist who helped to nurture and birth the student movement.
Diane Nash was the lead strategist behind the sit ins in Nashville and the Freedom Riders. She played a critical role in organizing the Selma marches.
Dorothy Height was the godmother of the civil rights movement, but because she was a woman, she was often off to the side, behind the podium, behind the scenes.
She was a guiding force at the table. When the Big Six planned the historic march on Washington in 1963, the lone woman at a table full of men.
Yet despite all her efforts, Height could not convince them that a woman should be allowed to speak at the podium the day of the march.
Come on, man, this is so messed up. Black women were the lifeblood of the civil rights movement and still they got cockblock by the dudes. I mean, the reverend's got half a dozen microphones right there. You can't break one of those off of my girl, Dorothy. She was a critical part of the group. It's like if the Avengers were fighting Santos, but they made iron men cheer from the stands. And this just shows you that black women don't just have to deal with racism from the world, but oftentimes they have to deal with the sexism within their own communities.
And the world at large is actually a term for it in war, which means misogyny against black women. And it also sounds like the title of a really fancy French movie.
I would love to promote you, but unfortunately I cannot, because you are a black woman are so great now that I look so.
Throughout history, black women have had their contributions to groundbreaking movements minimized or erased, whether it's women's suffrage or civil rights. And the list goes on and on and on.
The role of black women in starting in founding the women's movement and feminism all together is still not in the history books.
Many don't know this, but the me too movement was started by a black woman to run a BRK 12 years ago to support victims and survivors of sexual violence.
In the modern day calls for justice and equality, there's an echo of another social movement for LGBTQ plus rights, a movement sparked and sustained by black trans women.
We never would have had a stonewall if it wasn't for a black trans woman saying. And that's due to police brutality and police misconduct.
They fought back against the police that night, in particular Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, as well as Miss Major in twenty fifteen when they did the Stonewall movie. Although we all knew that these black transgender women started that that that riot that evening, they whitewashed it and they started it and replaced them with white queer characters as the leaders of that damn, they pulled a reverse.
Hamilton on the Stonewall movie. You know, we need to do we need to add those women into the movie with CGI. Yeah, George Lucas has the technology and he owes us reparations for Jar Jar Binks. You know, when you think about it, the gay rights movement was basically like old school slang. On Twitter, you thought it came from white gay men, but they actually got it from a black woman. So the next time you march with Black Lives Matter or you exercise your right to vote or your dance moves go viral on tick tock, don't forget that black women were a major part of making that happen.
And if you don't know now you know. The Daily Show with Criminal Ears Edition once The Daily Show weeknights at 11:00, 10:00 Central on Comedy Central and the Comedy Central Watch full episodes and videos at The Daily Show Dotcom. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Daily Show on YouTube for exclusive content and more. This has been a Comedy Central podcast now.