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Feminist Writer Talks About Racial Prejudice

By Christopher Mitchell

Questions of racial bias have become one of the foremost stumbling blocks for the modern women's movement, a prominent feminist writer told a group of about 30 people last night in the keynote address of this year's Women's Expo.

If feminism is to be successful, it must address the needs of women of all races, said Aurora Levins Morales. Morales argued that the current feminist movement often focuses on issues such as abortion which are not of equal concern to all women.

"Women of every culture in a wide variety of ways have challenged sexism all along," Morales said.

In order to combat racial bias, people of different races need to work together to overcome harmful stereotypes which perpetuate the problem on both overt and psychological levels, Morales said.

Current attitudes toward race are based largely on differences in wealth and power. Morales said, adding that these attitudes are often reinforced by ignorance and misinformation about racial differences.

Source of Racist Thought

"Nobody is genetically destined to be either oppressor or oppressed," Morales said, arguing that learned attitudes are the source of racist thought.

Consequently, people can only overcome racial bias by discussing the problem with those who have experienced it Morales said, encouraging audience members to share their thoughts with one another.

Morales added that individuals need to take responsibility for learning about the problems and histories of other races.

"We need to take charge to eliminate racism within ourselves," Morales said.

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