The Complications of Respectability

This month, the I Am Free Agent blog will focus on the concept of Respectability Politics and the impact of Respectability Politics on black women in America. Respectability politics are about regulating life to the standards of the most privileged people in white America. The Politics of Respectability regulate sexual practices, family planning, cleanliness and order, education level, and public decorum. No group can avoid the scrutiny. The Politics of Respectability make life restrictive for women, regardless of race, but they make life doubly difficult for women of color. And, they make life triply, perhaps even quadruply difficult for women if they are, say, disabled or have non-normative sexual preferences.

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