By Kimberlé Crenshaw
Ms. Crenshaw is an expert on civil rights and black feminist legal theory. She assisted Anita Hill’s legal team.
Twenty-seven years after Anita Hill testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her, and as Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, we still have not learned our mistakes from that mess in 1991.
Most people recognized that it looked bad, a black woman fending for herself in front of a group of white men. Yet we can’t acknowledge the central tragedy of 1991 — the false tension between feminist and antiracist movements.
We are still ignoring the unique vulnerability of black women.
I watched Anita Hill testify as a member of her support team. I worried that she would be trapped between an antiracist movement that foregrounded black men, and a feminism that could not fully address how race shaped society’s perception of black victims….