Raced and gendered (and classed)

On the 27th, in Charles M. Blow’s op-ed column in the NYT, “At Sandra Bland’s Funeral, Celebration and Defiance”:

Bland didn’t demur and knuckle under. Some have criticized her for her stance during the traffic stop, suggesting that if she had behaved differently, with more respect for the officer, she might have avoided arrest.

Maybe. But, it must always be remembered that the parameters of “respectable behavior” are both raced and gendered. The needle moves to differing positions for different people. That is, I believe, one of the reasons that this minor traffic stop so quickly escalated.

How dare a woman not present as a damsel? How dare a black person not bow in obsequiousness?

I was of course familiar with gendered, but the parallel raced was new to me, though it seems to have considerable currency among politically aware social critics. And, yes, there’s also the parallel classed.

Only gendered is in NOAD2, and then in a fairly narrow sense:

adjective  of, specific to, or biased toward the male or female sex: gendered occupations.

More generally, something like: ‘structured according to gender/sex’. This wider sense made it into OED3 (Dec. 2005):

divided or differentiated according to gender (considered either culturally or biologically)

with the first cite

1945: Amer. Jrnl. Psychol. 58 331   Society is gendered far beyond the gendering of the individual man or woman.

OED3 doesn’t have raced in the appropriate sense, but it does have classed ‘arranged by class; organized into classes’, with a first cite in 1756, but used at first with respect to library catalogues. But eventually:

1966   J. Steinbeck Amer. & Americans 131   Because they usually emerged from the upper levels of a sharply classed society they disdained our clumsy attempts at equality and democracy.

1995   J. C. Callahan Reproduction, Ethics, & Law 8   According to the Marxist feminist, when the classed society is abandoned,..women will no longer be oppressed.

Back to Blow and his pairing of gendered and raced. Quite a few people have maintained thatrace is gendered and gender is raced. One quotation, from the blog of “the rogue feminist”:

Finally, including the experiences of women of color does not require the development of theoretical approaches that demonstrate how race is gendered and gender is raced beyond the scale of individual experiences.

(The argument is that it’s not enough to merely include the experiences of women of color alongside the experiences of white women.)

Finally, wrapping classed into the package — from a political blog by Nate Hawthorne on 11/30/06:

The history of class positions as hierarchical positions in the distribution of surplus labor is a raced and gendered history. (This can be reformulated two more ways – the history of race is gendered and classed, the history of gender is raced and classed.)

One Response to “Raced and gendered (and classed)”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Nancy Whittier on Facebook:

    Among sociologists, the more common term was “racialized” until quite recently. In a non-parallel, the term “transgendered” is now out of preferred usage in favor of “transgender.”!

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