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11.1: Introduction

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    • Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick & Kay Fischer

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    Ethnic Studies on Resistance and Solidarity

    A major element in the discipline of Ethnic Studies is understanding but also participating in liberation struggles, particularly those resisting white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and patriarchy, or any intersecting powers that have suppressed communities of color. In fact, the genesis of Ethnic Studies as an academic discipline came out of student struggle and solidarity across racial and ethnic groups, as reviewed in Chapter 2. In this chapter, the authors will first introduce frameworks of resistance, such as Indigenous sovereignty and the impact of digital and artistic activism. We will also review key influential US-based liberatory movements and organizations, such as the Black Panthers and American Indian Movement, including the role of solidarity in these organizations. In the section on labor movements, we focus on domestic workers’ and agricultural workers’ struggles to understand how capitalism, white supremacy, colonialism, and patriarchy function as interlocking systems of oppression. Then we examine the fight for justice for so-called “comfort women” as a transnational movement with a prominent base in the U.S. Finally, we wrap up with a section that highlights more contemporary movements with a focus on environmental justice, racial justice, and gender justice. This section also analyzes how movement work has transitioned in the 21st century and how our communities adapt to continue addressing important issues that affect our lives today.

    What is incredibly inspiring about the history of struggle in the United States is that contrary to popular view, people of color have a legacy of being defiant and have fought for our freedom from the beginning. We believe it is of absolute necessity to understand our history of resistance and solidarity within an Ethnic Studies framing so that students are able to identify the ways people of color have often been at the center of these struggles. Overall, we hope that students will be able to understand our rich history of resistance and be inspired to apply our collective power to demand change and organize for a more equitable, anti-racist, and liberatory future for our communities.

    This page titled 11.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick & Kay Fischer (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .