Relating ‘Women of Color’ to Gender Bias in Today’s Classrooms

Relating ‘Women of Color’ to Gender Bias in Today’s Classrooms
The term ‘women of color’ basically refers to 1970s, the epoch when the struggle for racial equality within the US was not fully won and the position of women remained still deprived. In fact, this term still remains relevant even nowadays since different spheres of human life are affected by gender biases and what is more important this problem exists even in the sphere of education and affects dramatically practically every classroom. This is why it is extremely important to trace gender biases related to ‘women of color’ in order not simply to better understand the essence of the problem but also to find possible solutions of the currently existing problem.
It is not a secret that originally the term ‘women of color’ was associated with non-white women of the US, including not only African American women, but also Asian American, Native American, Hispanic American, i.e. women representing different racial and ethnic groups. At the same time, such a categorization of non-white women into ‘women of color’ symbolized the unity of women representing discriminated ethnic and racial minorities in their struggle for their civil rights and equal opportunities compared to the rest of the American society of that epoch.
At the same time, it is necessary to clearly realize that this was not simply a part of racial movement against racial discrimination but it was also a feminist movement for the rights and opportunities of non-white women living in America and having American citizenship. In this respect, it is worthy to note that women of color represent a variety of ethnic groups which are really different from white community. It should be pointed out that the development of feminist movement in the US led by white women did not make all women really equal since women of color were really different from white women, their needs, preferences, interests, values, etc. could be and were different. This is why the development of women of color concept and movement also symbolized the struggle of feminists representing different non-white races in their striving for better life, equal rights and higher opportunities.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that women of color have been active since 1970s their position in American society still remains quite arguable and deprived. Probably, it is most obvious in the sphere of education since the dominance of traditional biases typical for conservative part of American society are still significant and play an important role in the contemporary classrooms which are still white and male dominated.
In such a situation, it is necessary to analyze what actually prevents women of color from the possibility to really feel equal to other members of American society and do not feel deprived. On analyzing this problem, it is getting to be obvious that the root of the problem of the discriminated position of women of color may be found in basic forms of gender bias that are currently present in the curriculum.
First of all, it is necessary to underlined that historically women of color remained in the shadow and their role in American history and their place in American society were traditionally underestimated. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed dramatically for better even now and this is why it is possible to speak about such a form of gender bias as the invisibility of women of color which are not sufficiently presented in textbooks and learning materials and what is more there is not enough information about them and their contribution in the development of the US.
Secondly, gender bias affects even human language and nowadays it is still possible to speak about linguistic bias which results in the wide use of language affected by masculine oriented words, such as caveman, forefather, etc. In such a way, language is getting to be gender overshadowed in which traditional masculine terms dominate in the language that is quite discriminating for women of color, as well as for women at large. This is a particularly serious problem in classrooms deprived of newest textbooks and materials.
Naturally, it is also necessary to remember about stereotypes that still dominates in society and which to a certain extent defines the attitude to women and, consequently shapes certain beliefs and wrong public image of women of color. As a result, often the role and behavior of girls is strictly regulated by such stereotypes which as a rule imply that they should be passive and dependent and there is practically no room for women in color self-realization and alternative directions where they could apply their knowledge, skills and abilities, such as science, or sport.
Furthermore, it should be pointed out that often classrooms as well as educational process are imbalanced and affected by male dominance. Practically, it means that textbooks are basically focused on male achievements to the extent that males turn to be practically the main contributors to the development of the mankind (another example of linguistic bias). For instance, there is little visual representation of women in color as well as women at large, while there are amply of portraits and images of male scientists in textbooks.
Another serious gender bias relating to women’s in color position in the contemporary classrooms is unreality which basically results in the interpretation of some arguable facts in such a way that they would not really raise the problem but remained practically untouched and soon forgotten. As a result, such arguable points are simply omitted than really discussed as serious problems.
Also, there remains the problem of fragmentation in the contemporary classrooms when the position and contribution of women in color in the development of the US and American society remains not fully covered and fragmentized. Consequently, students cannot fully realize the problem and analyze it objectively but are basically acquainted with its one-sided variant, for instance, the development of feminism which is traditionally presented from female perspective without discussions of its profound effect on society at large, including males.
Finally, there is a cosmetic bias which illusionary represents the role of women and their contribution in the development of science for instance but in actuality, there is little consistent information about their scientific work and its effects on science. In other words, this bias leads to the use of women in order to create an illusory impression of the equality of male and female, including women of color, but in actuality the latter are rather used to create a positive image of a textbook, for instance, than to really get students acquainted with their works and contribution.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that regardless all positive changes that have occurred in American society the problem of numerous gender bias related to the position of women of color in American society and American history is still relevant and what is more important the gender bias persists in classrooms. Consequently, the situation in the society would hardly be changed until the situation in classrooms remained unchanged.

1. Collins, P. H. 2000. Black Feminist Thought. New York and London: Routledge.
2. Tatum, B. 1993. Racial identity development and relational theory: The case of Black women in White communities. Wellesley, MA: Stone Center for Research on Women.

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