Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Social Consciousness: Gender and Race

BOND: Well, as was true in law school, is it gender or is it race or is it ever both?

JONES: It's both and I was asked, someone asked me once, "Elaine, which is it -- gender discrimination? Race discrimination?" and I said, "You know, I can't pull myself apart." I pull myself – I'm an African American woman, that's what I am. When people see me though in the world, the world we live in they see race first. That's the reality. They see race first. Then they see me as a black, which is race, then woman follows. They don't say "woman black" – it's "black woman." And so I'm very clear on that and I have always been clear on it. Now I'm very active with women's groups, white women's organizations, and I serve on the board. You know, we work together, but my rule is -- I tell them, I say, "Look, don't ask me to support anyone, I don't care if she's female, but if she's female and her head is not right on the issue of race, I can't. Nothing I can do. Don't ask me to support that simply because she's female." You know. And so people who work with me understand that.