(CNSNews.com) - In a speech Sunday at the March for Racial Justice rally on the National Mall, feminist Gloria Steinem said “gender was invented” to control women and reproduction and that “race was invented … to justify colonialism and slavery.”
“So all the women in the world are in some degree of trouble, because it’s all about controlling reproduction. It’s the why of it. Did you ever wonder why? Yeah I mean, the first step in every hierarchy is patriarchy in order to control reproduction,” Steinem said.
“So, and racism, caste in India, class. It all makes it much worse, because to maintain those divisions, you have to control women even more. So these things have always been intertwined. It is just not possible to disentangle these deep caste systems. It is absolutely impossible. They can only be uprooted together,” she said.
“So let’s just remember folks, okay that gender was invented in order to control reproduction, and we’re now disinventing it, right? That race was invented in fact in order to justify colonialism and slavery, and we have not done a good job in this country of uprooting the racism that justified slavery. We got rid of slavery, but not this,” Steinem added.
She also said that we “should learn from Germany and the Holocaust lessons that every child in German schools learns.”
Steinem also held native Americans up as an example, saying that they didn’t have the words “he” and “she” in their language.
“It was the people who lived here for you know 99 percent, the native Americans, the indian country still didn’t have he and she in their language. The idea of society was a circle, not a hierarchy, not a pyramid. It’s relatively recent that all this has happened, and I find it helpful - I don’t know about you - to understand that it wasn’t always that way,” she said.
Steinem also said that black women are dying disproportionately because of the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, and placed the blame on President Donald Trump for “punishing” women in Africa.
She talked about the bracelets she was wearing - one for Rosie Jimenez, who died in 1977 because of complications from an illegal abortion - and another for lack of funding for abortions overseas.
“They’re like POW bracelets, right? And one is for Rosie Jimenez who was the first woman to die because of the Hyde Amendment, because of no funded abortions at 1977. She was 27 years old, and this one is the lack of funding for Medicaid for abortions in other countries,” Steinem said, as she explained showing the bracelets to a man on the train while visiting the nation’s capital.
“So I showed these to him, and I said, who is dying are not white women. Yes, some white women are dying, but disproportionately, Rosie Jimenez was not a white woman, and it’s the women in the countries in Africa who are being punished by this policy that Trump, who is not the president. He lost by 10 million votes. Let’s just remember - 3 for Hillary and 7 for other people. … I have yet to call him the president,” she said.
“And to the spirits of Rosie Jimenez and all those in Africa who have left us because of the policies, the killing policies of this country, I just have one note of news, which is that the Republican Governor of Illinois just overturned the entire Hyde Amendment so that abortions are now available to everybody, not just to women who can afford them,” Steinem said.
“And this is big, because this is the state where Jesse Helms came from, so Trump is so bad that even some Republicans are woke,” she added.
Steinem closed by saying what she believes to be true about emotions, saying that “laughter is the only free emotion,” because “you can compel fear, obviously, but you can also compel love if people are kept dependent for long enough.”
“But you can’t compel laughter. It happens when two things come together and suddenly make a third. It happens when you understand something. It’s when you learn something, so I give that to you as a measure,” she said.
Then she warned: “Do not hang out any place where they won’t let you laugh, including churches and temples.”
The March for Racial Justice is described on its website as “is a multi-community movement led by a coalition united in our demands for racial equity and justice. We march because as long as U.S. laws, policies, and practices remain steeped in white supremacy, we will never see our basic human rights and civil rights fully realized.”
“It is our duty to dismantle this system of racist laws, policies, and practices that dehumanize people of color. Our mission is to harness the national unrest and help focus it into a national mobilization of people committed to working in local and nationwide efforts to undo racism until justice is won for us all,” the website added.