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The Young LordsA Radical History$
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Johanna Fernández

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653440

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653440.001.0001

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The Politics of Race and Gender

The Politics of Race and Gender

(p.233) Chapter Eight The Politics of Race and Gender
The Young Lords

Johanna Fernández

University of North Carolina Press

Influenced by Che Guevara’s writings on revolution and self-transformation, the Young Lords launched the “revolution within the revolution”— a deliberate struggle to name and challenge manifestations of power dynamics, racism, sexism, and homophobia in their ranks. The trademark slogan of second wave feminism, “the personal is political,” articulated the challenge. Among the Lords, an increase in female membership propelled a fierce struggle against male chauvinism that well-positioned women to have their voices heard, leadership respected, and demands met. To that end, the group edited its program and platform; drafted rules against sexism; Denise Oliver was appointed to its formal leadership; and formed men’s caucus and women’s caucus to discuss gender oppression internally. Influenced by Franz Fanon, the Lords also challenged anti-black racism in the psyche of the oppressed, including widely used language that devalues curly hair, dark complexion, African facial features and the tendency among Puerto Ricans and Latinos to deny their ethnicity and blackness and distance themselves from black Americans. The Young Lords prioritized Afro-Latino leadership, including that of Felipe Luciano; theorized race ideology in Latin America; and made public a conversation about race that had been confined to hushed whispers among Puerto Ricans and Latinos.

Keywords:   Gender Oppression, The Personal is Political, Ernesto Che Guevara, Denise Oliver, Felipe Luciano, Second Wave Feminism, Machismo, Afro-Latino, Anti-Black Racism, Race Ideology

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