|Fighting for Radical Feminism in the
Patriarchy is a system of oppression that is rooted in the supremacy
of men. It’s like a liquid that changes shape, can be colorless but is
always toxic. In 2019, those who wear the ever- developing feminist
lens have an advantage of being able to identify the manifestations
and create a force field to limit its impact. This is not enough.
Women of color, and especially Black women, are leaning in,
stepping up and growing into various leadership roles in our racial
justice movement and beyond. I bear witness to their brilliance and
to their resistance. I’ve seen their writings, their organizing, their
passion to fight the stereotypes, practices, laws and policies that
restrict or stop their professional and political growth.
Yet they are mocked and criticized for their principled stands, for
their work to lift humanity. Their reputations and bodies endure
regular attacks by those consciously and unwittingly upholding
racism and patriarchy. The goal is to break their feminist spirit,
muddy their characters and destroy their achievements. The
message is you must bow down to capitalist oppression — or face
The passion and skills of these phenomenal women take them into
community organizations, places of worship and of course, the
electoral arena — which brings me to the Four. Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez. Ayanna Pressley. Rashida Tiaib. Lihan Omar. If our
communities and movement don’t protect them, we will be forced to
watch the very public beat-down of these sistahs who racist
commentator Laura Ingraham coined the “four horsewomen of the
Ocasio-Cortez aka AOC is the youngest women ever elected to
Congress. Pressley is Massachusetts’ first Black congresswoman.
Tiaib and Omar are the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
There’s a lot of firsts in there but that’s not why these young
women are viewed as dangerous.
The issues they’re pushing are being called radical. Maybe they are.
These issues certainly aren’t new. They’ve been written about and
fought for over the years by people like me and you.
A Green New Deal to build new infrastructure using an
environmental frame wasn’t the brainchild of AOC. Neither is calling
out Zionism and supporting the self-determination of the Palestinian
people. Ditto for the demand to abolish ICE. The same for the
mandate for free and accessible education and health care for all.
I think what makes the Four the target of conservative rage is that
they stay on script, even when chastised by their own party. They
do their homework and stay connected to radical circles of thought
and action to continue informing their proposals. Our movements
have not had a force relentlessly pushing this kind of agenda inside
the Democratic Party, let along in the shallowed halls of Congress.
This is a refreshing departure from business as usual in the Old
The Four are being attacked for being unprepared, reckless, anti-
Semitic, anti-male and on and on. Sure, they’ll have some missteps.
They’re learning. I hoping they find strength and refuge in one
another and other allies on the Hill. And in folks like us.
Those of us who are pushing a radical agenda need to ensure a safe
environment for the bodacious AOC, Pressley, Omar, Tiaib and
other allies to do their thing in the House and Senate. By showing our
unapologetic support for them publicly, we help to protect and
advance the brilliance of the women we know and love around us.
This generation of empowered women is the women Maya Angelou
had in mind when she penned, Still I Rise. We must protect them if
we want to see them soar.
by Jamala Rogers