Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Race and Gender Consciousness

BOND: Well, let me shift gears here a little bit. How does race consciousness affect your work? Are you a leader who advances issues of race or issues of society or both?

BERRY: I think both. I’m race conscious because of my own experiences, background, and there’s no way not to be race conscious. I am gender conscious because I am female in a society in which females have been ascribed in certain ways and I have to be conscious of that. I’m conscious of injustice done to anyone even if it’s not somebody who I share with racially or in terms of gender because it’s injustice and so I’m concerned about race. I used to say that all the time when I was at the Civil Rights Commission. We did a lot of work on race but I would tell the commissioners, you know, we’re not a race commission, you know, we have to be concerned about gender, we have to be concerned about people who are older Americans. We’ve got to be concerned about — and we’re not a black commission. We’re concerned about all these issues of justice and so I am race conscious but I’m also concerned about justice and society in general.