How did the civil rights movement's goals influence 1970s identity politics?

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The goals of both the civil rights movement and the identity politics of the 1970s included equal opportunity and inclusion. African Americans pushed back against stereotypes that they were less intelligent and more childlike than whites. The fought, too, to use the same facilities as whites. The identity politics of the 1970s, such as in the women's and gay rights movements, also fought for equal rights through challenging negative stereotypes and insisting on inclusion and visibility.

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The civil rights movement advocated for black people to have the same rights and opportunities as white people. This meant challenging entrenched stereotypes about black people that limited their possibilities. The civil rights movement struggled to convince white people to see black people as more than subordinates only good enough for certain roles in life, such as maids, cooks, janitors, shoeshine boys, and garbage men. The movement wanted white people to perceive black people as lawyers, doctors, accountants, and managers. They pushed back against stereotypes of black people as less intelligent and more childlike than whites.

The civil rights movement also challenged keeping black people invisible by keeping them relegated to certain spaces. They wanted black people to be able to eat at the same restaurants, drink from the same water fountains, and live in the same neighborhoods as white people: in other words, to be visible to and included in the wider culture.

Identity movements picked up these themes. The women's movement struggled to challenge stereotypes about what a woman's role should be, working to help women break out of being channeled into motherhood, housekeeping, and low-paying support jobs. Women struggled to be seen as equally intelligent and adult as men. They also fought for bodily space: not so much to be visible but to be seen as more than sex objects—to be seen as beings with minds and souls as well as bodies. They also fought to create a space to own their own bodies so they would not be subjected to rape, violence, and unwanted pregnancy.

Gay, lesbian, Native American, and other identity movements also fought stereotyping and struggled for control of their bodies and space. All of these groups, modeling themselves on the civil rights movement, fought shame over who they were, refusing to be embarrassed about their bodies, coming out of their closets, and openly asserting their differences as a source of strength.

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