Although there have been great strides in feminist human rights efforts in developing methods to prevent domestic violence and other forms of "private" violence against women, feminists still have far to go. For instance, feminists have only recently begun to acknowledge that physical, social, and economic violence against women, especially poor women of color, is perpetuated in part by top-down globalization. This Article demonstrates how Critical Race Feminist analysis, a set of approaches to legal scholarship rooted in feminist and anti-racist critical traditions, reconceptualizes the human rights problems facing Black women who migrate between the United States and Jamaica. Like most migrants from the Caribbean, working-class Jamaican American women migrate in an attempt to escape the poverty, violence, and economic pressures faced at home. Economic incentives in the U.S. also serve to entice the low-wage immigrant women to migrate. These women have become the private solution to the public problem of fundamental race, class, and gender inequities in the U.S. Critical Race Feminist analysis acknowledges the separation between public and private spheres and between political and socioeconomic rights. Deeply entrenched in solidarity with other anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-classist efforts for social justice and human dignity, Critical Race Feminist approach requires prospective strategies to be pragmatic, as well as theoretical, and multi-level, as well as targeted at single centers of oppression. It requires a difficult process of building coalitions among women and men who sometimes resist seeing their common interests.


Originally published in Maine Law Review, v.50 no.2 (1998), pp.309-326.


racism, sexism, able-ism, nativism, transnational, Beijing World Conference on Women, violence against women, globalization, Jamaica, Jamaican American women, Caribbean, immigrants, critical race theory, critical race feminism, poor, discrimination against women, working-class, transmigrant, International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Protocol, Fauziya Kassindja, Abner Louima, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW

Subject Categories

Feminism, Human rights, Discrimination, Black women, Jamaican American women


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Human Rights Law | Women


University of Maine School of Law

Publication Date


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Rights Holder

Hope Lewis

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