Collective ideas about womanhood are inseparable from discourses about race and ethnicity. The bodies of racialized women have been used to shape conceptions about the exotic ‘Other’, images of erotic fantasies, and even political discourses. At the same time, women are participants—not just symbols or tools—in the (re)shaping of meanings of racialized identities.

b&w photo of a woman holding a bouquet of roses, with tears of happiness on her face

“First Black Queen, Kristina Kaye Smith reacting after being chosen as the 1984 Rose Queen in Pasadena, Calif.,” 1982. Los Angeles Times, UCLA Digital Collections.⁠