Successful community organizing requires that social workers recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their client populations. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Community Organizing in a Diverse Society by Felix Rivera and John Erlich describes the opportunities and challenges of organizing the African-American, Puerto Rican, and women of color populations, respectively. Each approach brings insight into the internal and macro socio-political forces affecting each group.
The feminist perspective is addressed in each of these three chapters. Wynetta Devore's essay on the African-American community points out the lack of media and research attention given to black females. With the exception of teenage pregnancy issues, black females are neglected in terms of their lack of role models, their prospects for upward mobility, and their propensity for being victims of violence, particularly in domestic settings.
In the Puerto Rican community, the concept of male sexism is still strong. The cultural values related to machismo have led to the oppression of adult women because males are given more privilege and superiority in society. The poverty and discrimination that exists in the Puerto Rican community due to outside forces has contributed to an atmosphere where men feel demasculated due to their inability to provide for their families. Domestic violence sometimes results from such pressures.
Guiterrez and Lewis discuss the need to bridge the gap between the feminist movement and women of color. The authors are frank in their criticism of feminists for historically refusing to acknowledge the role of racism in the oppression of women. In general, women of color possess a lower status in society, lower earnings, lower level of education, and diminished sense of power when compared to their white counterparts: "Women of color are more likely than are white women to suffer from conditions of poor or no housing, insufficient food...