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Keywords:

  • Race;
  • gender;
  • identification;
  • black politics;
  • feminists

Gender has been thought to be less salient than race among black women. Data from two national surveys of black Americans, conducted in 1984 and 1996, show that black women identify as strongly on the basis of their gender as their race, and that these gender and racial identities are mutually reinforcing. Nevertheless, among black women, their identification with their race more powerfully affected their political attitudes than did their identification on the basis of gender, except in instances where the interests of blacks directly conflict with the interests of women. These empirically based findings speak to the issue of why the attitudes of black women toward contemporary gender issues can sharply diverge from those of white women.