new wave feminism

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A quasi-academic look at Feminism, politics & race relations through the lens of a 20-something year old Nigerian American who was born & raised up in the (still) segregated south but has relocated to the "liberal" yet historic & traditional north.
This blog is my space for an interdisciplinary examination of race, gender, class, sexuality - all things intersectional & multi-dimensional.
Feminism the way I see it...

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Posts tagged "black feminism"

The link has a video to the open letter, the syllabus is below:

Cooper, Anna Julia. A Voice From the South.

Hunter, Tera.  To ‘Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War.

Lorde, Audre. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.

Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision.

Shange, Ntozke. For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf.

Theoharis, Jeanne. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.

“Dear Michelle Cottle, are you serious? You and your handful of ‘feminist sources’ claim that First Lady Obama is not a feminist because she says her most important job is being mom-in-chief to her two daughters…Given how simplistic your piece is, let me make this very simple: you are wrong. You misunderstand the place that Michelle Obama occupies as the first African American First Lady.

You seem to think she’s trying to steer clear of the angry black woman stereotype. When she calls herself ‘mom-in-chief,’ she’s rejecting a different stereotype: the role of Mammy. She is saying that her daughters — her vulnerable, brilliant, beautiful black daughters — are the most important thing to her. The First Lady is saying, ‘You, Miss Anne, are going to have to clean your own house because I will be caring for my own’ and instead of agreeing that the public sphere is necessarily more important than Sasha and Malia, she has buried Mammy and has embraced being a mom on her own terms. So you can call that your feminist nightmare, but for a lot of us, it is our black motherhood dream.

Also, on a strategic note, Ms. Cottle. Before we enter the 2016 election cycle and the feminists come around asking black women for our support for your candidate, you might want to read up a little on black women and our feminism. I’m happy to send you a syllabus.”

Black women have been taught to be selfless and strong since childhood. We are reared to love our mothers, obey our fathers, care for our siblings, and be subservient to our men. Whether we want to or not, we are instilled with all the traits of dedicated caretakers, making us, as Zora Neale Hurston once said, “the mules of the world.” Such selflessness has taken a toll on black women, forcing us to compromise our sanity and overall wellness to appease others.
For Harriet Blog | Do Black Women Give Too Much? (
Rape is on the increase, reported and unreported, and rape is not aggressive sexuality, it is sexualized aggression. As Kalamu ya Salaam, a Black male writer points out, “As long as male domination exists, rape will exist. Only women revolting and men made conscious of their responsibility to fight sexism can collectively stop rape.”

Its all pretty telling, but particularly sections 2, 6 & 8

From the article:

According to my mother, black women’s bodies were often battlegrounds for opponents of civil rights. She specified that while all demonstrators were in danger of being attacked, women were often specifically targeted. She explained that the thugs (civilians and so-called law enforcement officers) who battered her and her female counterparts often exacerbated their attacks to threaten black women’s dignity, and to spark the patriarchal ire of male protesters.

She implied that these white men used violence against black women as a tool to buttress their notions of racial and gender superiority, to flaunt control, and to disrupt the movement’s progress through harassment and intimidation. Moreover, she insisted that routine acts of aggression were seldom met with accountability, which led to a cavalier perpetuation of this form of terror.

Through my mother’s accounts and the stories my father shared about his cousinJoan Little, who bravely defended herself and slayed a white jailer who tried to rape her, I learned about the prevalence of violence against black women leading up to and during the civil rights movement.

While my mother’s experiences and Little’s obviously differ due to the fact that my mother was not sexually assaulted, the common threads are that they both were victims of police cruelty and unchecked systemic violence fueled by a virulently racist and sexist culture.

Through family stories and Danielle L. McGuire’s groundbreaking textAt the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, I strengthened my knowledge about the significance of bearing witness and documenting stories about violence against African American women.  

McGuire’s book details how the “ritualistic rape and intimidation” of black women including Recy TaylorBetty Jean Owens, and Joan Little helped spark the civil rights movement by mobilizing black communities, giving much-needed context to how African American anti-rape activists and organizers such as Rosa Parks and Ida B. Wells inspired their communities to stand up for black women’s bodily integrity.  

Also, if you read The Ethics of Living Jim Crow (i may post about this separately) Richard Wright discusses the fact that in Jim Crow, black women were so ruitinely disrespected, assaulted and degraded that if a white man was degrading a black women, everybody better learn their place real quick and join in or co-sign that shit. Everybody acts like all that stuff is in the past, but then we act surprised when - to this day - WOC are treated the way they are and depicted certain ways in the media. Or they wanna pretend that our constructed hyper-sexualization is *actually* pathological. Our country lived in a SYSTEM where this wasn’t just the norm - it was a brutally enforced expectation. There is no off switch to socialization.

This class was captivating and interesting. It definitely challenged my opinions and point of views (sic). However, being a Caucasian I felt very uncomfortable and discriminated against. I have never been racist of any kind as I was raised to respect all races. But, I felt that the instructor made several racist remarks regarding whites, “white privilege” and many derogatory things against the white class. The reason this bothered me was because it seemed pointless and not relevant … I felt like she was making fun of whites, and this made me feel attacked and this hindered my desire to read and come to … I hope Chang realizes how much a turn off her teaching is for an open minded and liberal student.

One student wrote the following in an evaluation for Chang’s class on grassroots and transnational feminist movements.

Excerpt from: Where’s the Violence? The Promise and Perils of Teaching Women of Color Studies

(via choongcommunist)

I remember being told to my face by this guy I knew that if I took a class the following semester that I would DEFINITELY get a batter grade than him cause the professor was apparently extremely racist against white people. I wound up taking the class, he wasn’t racist - was just upfront about white racism and power structures because he was a professor of THE HISTORY OF JAZZ & AFRICAN AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC. To erase racism from these courses would have been insane but it was enough to anger certain privileged white students who felt disrespected by a black man telling them about racism & his experiences with a racist music industry. 

(via choongcommunist-deactivated2012)

Melissa Harris-Perry: Why Black Hair Matters


I’m Feminist Enough, vol. 1 - Shannon Washington

Using video and still imagery, the I’m Feminist Enough …project seeks to visualize the fresh face of feminism and demonstrate to our young sisters (and brothers) the value of feminist thought in our daily lives in a manner that is simple, sexy, modern and easy.

Featuring: Lyani Powers, Hillary Crosley, Leilani Montes, Venus Okeke, Clover Hope and Shantrelle Lewis. Shot in New York City, 2011.

(via fashionistazapatista)

I don’t understand the resistance within feminism for some feminists to accept critiques on feminism. Telling feminists of color that white feminists “just can’t help it” or “just don’t understand” WOC enough to write about feminism from anything other than a straight, middle class, cis white perspective is completely ignoring the long documented work feminists of color have done to explain how institutional racism within the movement hurts them and the movement overall. But people stop listening as soon as they realize they’re hearing a critique and go “what? no, not MY favorite feminist author! You need to cut her some slack!”

welcome to missing the point, USA - when you’re a person of privilege listening as someone explains that they are tired of feminism being frame & constructed as something not actually inclusive to a HUGE segment of actual feminists - if your first response is to cut them off “i see what you’re saying BUT its still a good book” or “they’re only talking about their experience” what you are doing AT THAT MOMENT is continuing to erase and silence WOC from the overall discourse. I’m tried of being made to feel like an “angry black woman” because me sharing my experience and my views of feminism makes some white women feel bad for liking a book that I find problematic. Just sit back and listen to how we need to change our overall ways of thinking instead of holding on to this idea that “there is nothing wrong with this book/theory/idea/author because it relates to MY experience.” I’m glad you are privileged enough to never have to think about these things, but if you’re actually concerned about progress you will stop making excuses and suggesting that we should just accept the way the dominant discourse is framed.

I never thought I’d have to explain this so much at this point in my life… and then I met privileged college feminists/activists 

Melissa Harris-Perry on the Colbert Report talking about her new book & how stereotypes affect black women in America.

Watch this and understand why I love this woman

When I reflect on Black women and images, the first thing that enters my mind is the portrayal of them through media images as self-hating, angry, miserable, and vindictive. All of those characterizations are fictitious and derive from Western America’s foundation of White supremacy, as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has so clearly demonstrated and proven.
Dr. Ava Muhammad, attorney and Nation of Islam student minister

Kim Wayans: "I didn’t think we’d still be having this same conversation so many years later …The 90s were so bright and promising for people of color in Hollywood, and I for one thought it would only get better with the chance for me and other black actresses to portray any number of characters and in all types of stories.’’

Debbie Allen: “I remember in the 80s when my sister Phylicia (Rashad) was on the The Cosby Show and I was on Fame, girl, you couldn’t tell me that it wasn’t a brand new day for black women and the way we were portrayed in film and television… No one could have told me we’d go in the complete reverse in the decades to come.’’

Angela Bassett:  “I’m a black actress, honey—what can I tell you but I have no idea what’s next for me.”

Donald Bogle, film historian and professor at New York University: “It’s sad to say that the roles for African-American women haven’t strayed very far from what was comfortable for white or mainstream audiences to see years ago …Roles that show black women as maids, nannies, or sidekicks for the mainstream world continue to reduce black women to support systems and to only being there to service the needs of others. It’s a disturbing trend to see keep repeating itself year after year.’

Glad this came across my dashboard…

After our recent readings about race and feminism, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce black feminist sociologist Patricia Hill Collins, author of Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. The chapter, “Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination,” discusses the connection between race, class, and gender, which, she says, are the “three systems of oppression that most heavily affect African-American women.” With this belief, she argues: “By portraying African-American women as self-defined, self-reliant individuals confronting race, gender, and class oppression, Afrocentric feminist thought speaks to the importance knowledge plays in empowering oppressed people.” After reading this, I immediately thought of my favorite singer, Billie Holiday. In her songs, although many examine love and patriarchal relationships, she expresses an underlying sense of consciousness about her identity as a Black woman in the elite/white/male dominated society of the 1930/40’s.

Now I’m not saying that they all convey the same message but there is a somewhat subliminal theme that I see and it’s always about self-hate. Self-hate? Now, I went straight to Google to make sure my definition of self-hate was correct, a personal dislike of oneself. So now my question is, why is it that everything a female of African descent does is immediately tied to self-hate? She has a perm? Self-hate. She wears colored contacts? Self-hate. She wears fake nails? Self-hate. Why is that when it comes to females of African descent, and especially within the natural hair community, if you’re not portraying the stereotypical vision of what an African or African-American is, you hate yourself and you’re trying to become white? This is why I averted away from a lot of natural hair blogs because for some reason if an African/black girl has pin-straight extensions or she’s wearing contacts, she’s trying to be white. Says who?! Now, I don’t know if I’m going crazy but I’m pretty sure that females who are Spanish, Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, black, brown, white, yellow, pink or brown get extensions, wear fake nails, wear contacts/circle lenses and straighten their hair too. So, why, please can somebody please explain to me why is that if someone of my complexion does it, she “disowns her heritage” or “she’s a sellout that’s trying to become another ethnicity”? I don’t get it. I just don’t. I am allowed to wear blue, green, hazel or gray circle lenses because I like them and I like how they make me look. It doesn’t mean that I’m rejecting my Nigerian background or I want to be Asian. What? Does this even make sense? Yes I’m natural but that doesn’t mean I’m against wearing weaves or wigs or I destroy relaxers while chanting songs by Erykah Badu. Yes I like the hair I was born with. Yes I think extensions are fine, as long as they blend. No I don’t preach to girls who get relaxers. Do I think we need them? No. But today’s day in age, it’s a personal choice.

Black Girls and Blond Hair? Media-Induced Self Hate?

This reminds me of an article I read on a natural hair blog (because i’m currently transitioning) that was like “dear women with perms, not everyone with natural hair looks down on women with perms.” But In the comments there just HAD to be an article was like “but I still feel sorry for girls stuck on that creamy crack.” -_-‘

I definitely think there is a lot more work we can do to make sure that the (much needed) messages empowerment of empowerment for natural hair and black beauty in general does not have to come at the expense of TEARING other women with who man different choices DOWN.

I’m all for education and teaching people where dominant messages come from.. but… I dunno, I just have a problem with sending people the message that their choices make them “not black enough” in anyones eyes - people have to struggle with those things everyday…

Thoughts? Experiences?