Creation of "White"
This page is about reflection. You’ll find a list of some of the key people and organizations relevant to this section. You’ll also find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking. Take some time to answer the questions, look these people up and learn more about their stories.
Before the War of American Independence, the legal status of free — primarily white — women typically depended on whether or not they were married.
Centuries of religious, philosophical and political Western European thought taught that women were inferior to men and not intelligent enough to vote. These beliefs kept white women from being able to vote in early America. Colonialism and slavery kept Indigenous and Black women out of the political and social system completely.
Explore how “white” was created, and consider how it was used as a tool to limit voting rights and political access.
The history of voting rights in the United States is directly connected to the origin of “whiteness”. Today, the term “white” is widely accepted, but it wasn’t until the late 18th century that it even existed as a categorization of people.
Although “whiteness” is key to understanding the history of voting rights in the U.S., we have to remember that race is not a fixed truth. The concept of race was created specifically to justify the superiority of some people over others: superiority in the law, at the ballot box, and throughout society.