Early on in her lifetime, Elaine experienced her first dose of racism. Having been schooled in a predominately white school and having received ballet and piano lessons, Elaine had been able to enter a world not usually given to black people. She had learned to "speak white, act white [and] could do white things", and at the same time, she learned to become a gang girl in her home in North Philly. Living in both worlds she realized that it was the white people who received the better education, who had the money and could live in luxury, while the black adults were given low class jobs and the children battled the gangs of the ghettoes. She noticed that it was the white people that held the power in this world and the key to success while the blacks were the doormats for these white people. This difference between the black world and white world tormented her childhood. She dreamed of being white while every day she saw that her skin color would always crush that dream.

She eventually realized that she could never be accepted as white, and took the path to help her fellow black people. She joined many activist groups, which all shared the goal of serving the black people, the biggest one at the time being the, Black Panther Party. This BPP became the "political vehicle and voice" of the black people. The group started programs such as the "Free Breakfast Program, Free Health Clinic, and Liberation School for grade-schoolers". Elaine fought racism as a member and leader of the Black Panther Party, which became so powerful that J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI considered it, "one of the greatest threats [to] America."

During her leadership of the BPP, Brown installed many women in leadership positions in the party, a move that wasperceived as threatening by fellow male members. As a result, discontented factions ultimately forced Brown out. After fleeing from fellow BPP members to France, Elaine turned away from the paths of political organizations and began lecturing at many colleges. In these lectures she voices her dream of a society that is not segregated by race and gender. In these lectures she fights the 'New Age Racism' (also the title of her new book.) Along with these lectures, Elaine has started support groups fighting injustice, for instance MAJJ (Mother's Advocating for Juvenile Justice), which battles unfair prosecuting of crimes by black youth such as in the case of Little B. Little B is a black teenager who stood trial for murder as an adult and harshly condemned by the American public. Through her many speeches on Little B, she claims that black Americans are more likely to be judged guilty of a crime than white Americans. She says that many blacks cannot afford to take advantage of standardized testing and many other opportunities due to their low income. Elaine continues her struggles.