I enjoyed reading the Collins book and in particular was impressed with how Collins purposefully wrote the book in the first person. I believe writing it in the first person made the book more powerful, and showed that scholarly writing can be both objective and subjective.
One of the concepts that spoke to me was the repression and suppression of black women. The first way black women have been exploited was through slave labor. This exploitation continues today by means of black women still living in the inner city. Another way black women have been repressed is through the desegregation of the southern schools which allowed for black women to be treated as equals. The result of this has been large number of black female drop outs.
The white American culture still wants to cling to images of black women from the slave era, whether it is the “mammy” image or the “jezebel” image. This stereotype is perpetuated by government agencies and the media.
The book was full of so much information that I would like to read it again more leisurely so that I can soak up all of it.
I am not quite sure if I understand what you mean by, "Another way black women have been repressed is through the desegregation of the southern schools which allowed for black women to be treated as equals. The result of this has been large number of black female drop outs." It is my understanding that the treatment of US African American women (particularly in the South) was far from equal treatment as compared to their white counterparts. The treatment of US African American woman in our history has been far from equal. Black women have been 'slighted' and made to feel unequal even within the feminist movement and the civil rights movement. Hill speaks about, "Blk feminist activist Pauli Murray (1970) found that from its founding in 1916 to 1970, the Journal of Negro History published only five articles devoted exclusively to Black women." She also goes further to site that "Civil rights activist Septima Clark describes similar experiences: "I found all over the South that whatever the man said had to be right. They had the whole say. The woman couldn't say a thing." (C.Brown 1986, 79)
With the desegregation of the southern schools, black women were made to feel even more unequal and this institutionalized racism was justified and upheld with judicial laws. Black women teachers lost thier jobs and many were forced to turn towards 'day work' that would keep them in subordinate, subserviant and oppressive employment positions to thier white female counterparts.
The large number of black women in the inner-city (in my opinon) is supported by the self-hate ideologies that Hill speaks about in her descriptions of the oppressed people. Long ago, probably before the time of slavery, but definately supported through it, black women were made to feel like second-class citizens and used as property for both the white male and female. It is with this sub-human ideology that has festered and lived for hundreds of years, that the black female continues to struggle and as part of that struggle, lives in the inner-city ghetto.
I am reading a book named "the bluest eyes" and shocked about "the self-hate ideologies" effected black female's self definition and self-efficacy. I guess that balck female learns better in segregated school is they feel comfortable without pressure from different identities. Am I right?
In my opinion, I do think that African-American children would learn a little more effectively in an educational environment that was not deficient in any way, but predominantly black. The problem has always been that minority students have always received sub-standards in comparison to their white counterparts
I hope that you can say more about the images of Black women (ie: mammy and Jezebel) as it relates to the large number of Black female drop outs. It seems that based on Hill's discussion on pg. 5 " from the mammies, jezebels, and breeder women of slavery to the smiling Aunt Jemimas on pancake mix boxes, ubiquitous Black prostitues, and ever-present welfare mothers of contemporary popular culture, negative stereotypes applied to African-American women have been fundamental to Black women's oppression." That oppression is internalized and seems to fit into the ideology of identifying with the oppressor as expressed on page 25 (Hill). Could that internalization play a larger role in the number of female drop outs?
I was also impressed at the way that Collins purposely used the words I and we in her book. It made it more personal and believeable. It didn't seem like she was an outsider looking in. She is a part of the story and experiences. I thought it was also impressive that she created a new epistemological framework to ground her work. She carefully crafted many statements to demonstrate that she is articulate and well versed in the eurocentric frameworks and methodologies. She then was able to show why she needed an alternative epistemology for her research. How do you think that the dominate culture will respond to her work in years to come?
I too appreciated and respected the book being written in first person, it not only allowed for more in depth information but painted the picture from an individual that actually has experienced and is experiencing such, today! However it too could have been an issue if the writer was not a scholar, as the book could have served as more of an authobiography instead of providing, engaging, and presenting the Black Feminist Thought Theory.
I believe that the explotiation that continues is not only representative by "black women still living in the inner city" as many women of all hues, backgrounds, and more have decided to reside in the inner city. Not to mention the Black Women live all over - not limited to particular areas for exploiation or mistreatment. To further add to the discussion, its all on how we look at the term of "inner city" and if "inner city" is inferior or bad. Just like the word "urban" there are several contexts and assumptions associated with the word. The explotiation continues as the mindsets have not changed, and/or the beliefs and assumptions past on without experiencing or engaging in advanced knowledge.
Based on the readings, and information shared, what next steps would you or have you considered for incorporation to your research in Urban Educational Leadership and/or in decreasing or eliminating the explotiation of Women, more specificially, Black Women?As with the Eurocentic masculinist white women are penalized by their gender but priviledged by their race, to which impedes growth for all.
In contrast, I believe there are more African American women earning advances degrees more than ever before (and have been for some time, in oppose to black men) and this provides support and an increased range of Black Feminist scholarship expansion throughout society. Fewer dropouts ...more scholarship/advanced knowledge and growth!
I am encouraged to do my best and serve as a positive model for advancement, growth, and encouragement to Black Women. I believe also by bettering myself will lead to advancement for others, as I too will strive to "lift as I climb!"
Black Women Alone
As a black woman who chose to be alone after a sixteen year failed marriage, I was intrigued with the concepts Hill-Collins (PHC) (2000) spoke about concerning the reasons many black women choose to be alone. PHC (2000) suggests that black women want these relationships, however, due to the lack of black men and the stigma associated with dating outside one’s race for black women, especially with white males, have basically left the African American(AA) female only one alternative: aloneness. Furthermore, another concept pertaining to the rejection of the black female for the white female sends another message of hurt, pain, and abandonment which reinforces the AA woman's desire to want to stay by herself.
However, I feel that PHC (2000) misses a very important reason why many black women are alone. Our educational system is designed to not educate our black male child and this is one of the reasons that result in many black men looking for and participating in other means to survive. These survival skills, many times, are not legal and many of our men end up within the penal system. Furthermore, it appears that black men are given more jail time for infractions pertaining to the law than any other group of individuals.
I do understand the feeling PHC (2000) describes as far as AA women not dating outside of their own races, especially with, Caucasian males. Since I have understood slavery and the atrocities that occurred with the African and African American female, I myself harbor feelings dealing with the episodes of rape that I have read about. Coupled with the domination of this culture and the feelings of racism, sexism, ageism, and genderism that still permeates throughout this society, it has been hard for me not to still feel as the “other” and look at dating a Caucasian male as form of consensualized rape. Many would disagree with this opinion, however, this feeling comes from knowing that my great grandmother was raped against her will many times which bred my grandmother. Therefore, the lightness of my skin-color. Therefore, this situation is not far removed from my generation.
However, this is how I personally feel. I do not breed this feeling within my children and I believe in free choice for everyone. This is a difficult subject for many to talk about; white and black; male and female. I feel that the difficulty stems from our inability to negotiate social equality within our society. As long as there are those who feel that they are being dominated by another group of people it will be hard for everyone to be comfortable about interracial dating.
Being that I am devoting my research to African American females in executive positions, which PHC (2000) elude to as being one of the sectors of AA women who choose to stay alone, I could use this as a question to determine, if they are alone, is it by choice, do they think this had any affect on their career choices, and whether they feel they have substituted their careers for their love lives. It would be interesting to see how many high executive leveled administrators are or want to be alone and maybe get some feedback as to why they feel they are alone or want to be alone.
Hill Collins, P. (2000). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the poltics of empowerment. (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
You have outlined some ideas that I definately echo. I also believe that many African-American women who have graduate degrees find themselves alone due to the unequaled educational attainment of the African-American male counterparts. What I mean is, if more African-American women are going for and acheiving thier Masters and Doctorate degrees yet there are fewer African-American men with graduate degrees.
I have found that I often don't tell many African-American men what my eduational goals are for fear that they will have a pre-conceived notion about me even before they have gotten to know me. Many people, not just African-American males, have a certain stereotype that they beleive people with graduate degrees have and sometimes it is difficult to even get past the 'dating game' once they engage those stereotypes.
The problem is not with the African-American women with the graduate degrees but the African-American male without one. I have no intention of mistreating my African-American men, but sometimes it is far easier to be by oneself than to deal with the rejection based on stereotypical ideologies. Sometimes, the aloneness is not due to the fault of the female.
I guess my question is where does the problem truly stem from, especially considering black men rejecting/oppressing black women? I wonder if this has a correlation to the oppression of the black male. Perhaps the black male internalizes the ideologies/stereotypes of the oppressor towards the oppress and afflict that on the only group that he can influence, which is the black woman.
I have often wondered why it is more common for white women to date African American men, than it is for African American women to date white men. Do you think there is more pressure on African American women to date African American men, than there is for white women to date white men?
Vickie Mc Mullen
What I found interesting in Dr. Collins book when she discussed that subject of women being alone is that I think the perspective of women under 40 and over 40 would be different. I believe that when you reach a certain point in your life and you make the decision that you are going to live your life not based on who is in your life, but what you can give to the world, you stop worrying about it, because you have filled your life with the things that really matter. It will be interesting for to see if any of these women share that perspective.
I think that not only black females feel alone. Caucasian females, Asia females have the same feelings. In China, a woman who is over thirty and has Ph.D degree is hard to find a man to date. I heard a complaint from a female white principal for the hardship to survive in male dominated world. We should admit that ingrained ideology that females are thought to be not too powerful even though the feminism movement can't change the fact. Female's social status changes a lot but they are still thought to be subordinate.
In our Women in Educational Leadership class Janet's daughter Ebony shared her personal experiences, which paralleled Janet's thread. As a educated women, my heart went out to her, as she shared that she just expected to do it alone.
I look at my own dating experiences and realized that there were plenty of women available to date. I then tried to imagine what it must be like to feel as Janet or Ebony shared. It saddened me.
I also agree that our system is not offering role models, education, or encouragement to black males. Blacks in general suffer more poverty when compared to other races. Economic strain has been implicated in a number of failed relationships. Black women are again at a disadvantage.
Also I can understand Janet's resistance to relationships with white men. The system has and still does benefit white males, and I can see her notions of that relationship. As a white person it is easy to say, why can't we just see each other as people, because that is my everyday experience. People treat me as an individual, or I just do not realize that my gender, sexual orientation, race, and class give me the privilege to be seen as an individual.
Either way, I am sad at the state of affairs.
I agree with you that black males are not equipped with the educational tools needed to survive and this is a leading cause in the subjigation and imprisonment of more black males and females the any other ethnicity. I also think that many young black males do not have positive male role models to guide them on how to respect women, especially their mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. As you said most of this is institutionalized from slavery, but we have to help each other break out of that mentality to raise the expectations of our young people who are coming up.
Vickie Mc Mullen
In reading Black Feminist Theory, Dr. Collins provides a thorough historical overview of the history of the African American Women's experience in this country. I was especially pleased to read the early writings of African American writers and to see their early identification of the oppression that has been faced by women of color since their annexation to this country. But I don't think that I became more entrenched in the book until she introduced the concept of Rearticulation (Collins, 2000). Dr. Collins defines Rearticulation as Black women allowing themselves to "rearticulate their experiences (Collins, 2000, p 32). It means looking at our experiences and deciding how we are going to use them to come up with a new meaning for our lives. The chapters in the book under with the leading Self, the Power of Self-Definition; Self-Valuation and respect , Self-Reliance and Independence and Self-Change and Personal Empowerment resignated strongly with me, and reflects the words of someone, who had come to understand that when you make certain that the self is where it needs to be, you then have the capacity to move to reach out to others. As a women of color I don't see the oppression that women of color face in this society changing. What must change is how we choose to deal with it, and how we collectively support each other so that we can move forward in our desire to improve ourselves, making us better able to reach out to empower others. Dr. Collins ends the book as she begins it, with a quote from Maria Stewart. "We have spent more than enough for nonsense, to do what building we should want (Richardson, 1987).
This book discusses numerous theories regarding Black Feminist Thought. Collins (2000) also explains the significance of working within an alternative framework to promote black feminist thoughts. She defines and works within the framework of Black Feminist Epistemology. The theory that I believe is one of the cornerstones of this movement is the Standpoint Theory. This theory utilizes shared experiences and challenges of black women as a way to inform political action. Collins (2000) points out that the black female must allow their voices to be heard throughout society. She speaks of using writings, songs and political venues as ways to articulate the black woman's experience. Collins (2000) also speaks of the importance of self-definition. This definition starts with the black woman's voice being heard from her standpoint and experiences.
The Black Feminist Epistemology framework lends itself to a rich qualitative research study in an urban setting. Havng the ability to capture the life experiences, emotions and struggle of black women or students would provide new insights for social, political and economical arenas. I would be able to use this type of framework in a school with students. Conducting group talks and allowing students to express themselves or 'tell their story' would be a first step in this direction.What are they saying? Where are their voices? This type of research would provide me with a framework which would allow me to answer these questions from their Standpoint.
I appreciate that you brought up the topic of black feminist epistemology being presented in the text, just using hindsight, an excerpt of this text would have been good to use in our fall quarter theory course.
I thought the usage of writing, songs, and political venues provided support for a solid framework she established throughout the text which included the importance of self-definition
Black Feminist Thought by P.H. Collins explores black feminism from various perspectives that include historical context and social oppression. Throughout the text, Hill incorporates dynamic factors that contribute to the African American woman’s oppression in the United States. She references literary authors such as Alice Walker and excerpts of poems recited and developed by Sojourner Truth to provide foundation for the storytelling aspect of the text.
While the goal of this reflection process includes a directed emphasis of a scholarly approach, I must reveal that as a father of a young girl, one of the many thoughts presented in the text that generated deep thought and internal discussion was the focus of Mammies, Matriarchs, and the other Controlling Images. To take the proactive approach as a parent, I discuss the importance of perception and how one carries themselves. This concept is also intertwined in the critical social theory which it attempts to address African American struggles against interesting oppressions (Collins, 2000).
The framework of critical social theory presented in the text relates to topics that I would like to research involving the empowerment of students with disabilities in an urban setting. One of the arguments that I aspire to establish within my research is that the students that are involved in the study exhibit characteristics of being oppressed.
I agree that critical social theory is permeated throughout this book which addresses African American struggles against interesting oppressions. But I still doubt the oppressions will substantially be changed without waking up every black female's mind
Will, I think that is interesting that you mention the "controlling images". If you recall from the Zimmerman (1995) article that we read in the Self-Concept & Achievement class, a person's self-efficacy (one's confidence in the ability to perform a specific task) is affected by the successes or failures (or portrayal thereof) of those who are considered to be models in the person's life. As I digest this thought, I think about the images of women I grew up with. On one side of the family, my great-grandmother did not complete grammar school, but she and my great-grandfather were successful business owners who worked hard so that their eleven children could be properly educated. As a result of their determination, my grandmother went to college and later received her Master's degree. As a young child, I remember sometimes quietly sitting in a graduate class with my coloring book while my mother worked on her Master's. On the other side of the family, my grandmother who only received a 6th grade education worked hard to teach us to be spiritually connected and family oriented. As the mother of 14 children, she instilled the value of education in all her children. As a result, the first college professor I ever met is my father's oldest sister. I realize now that my experience is rare, not just as a black female, but a female in general to have such positive female role models. I grew up around women who had varying levels of education, but in their own way each of them taught me about different types of knowledge. I learned so much just from me being in their very presence. Whether it was while learning to prepare meals, working in the garden, going on shopping trips, or chatting at a wedding or a baby showere, I learned from their experiences as BLACK wives, mothers, students, sisters, aunts, teachers, counselors, domestic workers, business owners, etc. Little did I know, I was learning to understand Black Feminist Thought and my self-confidence as a woman was shaped by the images of women around me. Because of the women in my life, I knew that I could do and be anything.
So now I wonder about the "controlling images" of black women presented in the media. Jezebels, Aunt Jeminas,and mammies may not be a popular as they were years ago, but those images have been replaced with the popularity of the video vixen and the fame of the exotic dancer. The women in the videos appear to be "loved" and "adored" as men shower them with money and attention. The women are attractive and they seem to be having fun. On the other hand, a high-ranking female government official such as Condoleeza Rice appears uptight, husbandless, and childless. As a young impressionable girl, who seems to have it better? As a young impressionable boy, which female appeals to you more? How can we counter these "controlling images" that are damaging to males and females alike? Furthermore, how do the images that look like me affect how I feel about me and my ability levels as a black female? In other words, how do these controlling images affect the self-efficacy of black females?
The young black males in my class want to attract the vixens, but so do the white males. I believe the images have changed by are still controlling and while black women suffer, so do all women. The media tells our cultural story and lays bare the stereotypes we hold. It continues to emphasize the dominance of the white male, the submission and objectification of the white women, the criminality of the black male and the sexualized black female. Even worse, my students are more educated my the media than what I do in class. They spend more time listening to music or watching TV or movies, than reading or writing. Not that texts portray different stories. As Will and Kelly noted, it is important for enlightened, liberated people to help free the children's minds and plant the seeds of defiance. I believe these images and structures will be changed one person, one soul, one heart, and one mind at a time.
Thanks for sharing a snapshot of your experiences growing up. It's one thing to read the information in the text and take ample time to digest it but as a learner (life and the half long) it is good to gather different experiences to obtain a grasp of the concept being presented.
As far as the controlling issues effecting the self-efficacy of a black female or a black male from that matter, it is a topic that needs to start with a discussion which analyzes what is portrayed as the prototype in the media "video vixen" or "Ms. Rice" and is there a happy medium.
Black Feminist Thought explores the world and thoughts of Black feminist intellectuals and the African American women outside academe.
The book is attempting to “make coalitions” with people who are different from black females. It is radical because Collins wants to deal with race, sex, class, and sexual identity all at one time (Hill Collins, 2000).
Critical theory permeates this book when Hill describes black female’s life and thoughts. For example, she mentions black females are suffering different oppressions such as sex, race, and class. Black females are never be treated by the male, white, and upper-class dominated America. They have being struggled against breaking the “inequity” down since they were slaved 300 years ago. If they want to change their status, the point is they must ally and raise their voice to get the society’s attention.
Hill analyzes that race, class, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity intertwine from historical, social, and psychological perspectives. She suggests those factors mutually construct each other and empowerment of black females will change the world radically.
Black women’s experiences are shaped by the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. White, heterosexual, upper class men have suppressed the voice and contribution of black women. Empowerment comes when black when create their own realities and use their voices to share their stories, which are directed at deconstructing and transforming injustice social structures. The black woman’s liberation is tied to the larger fight to justice, and as black feminism teams with other fighters it can share insights. But not every black woman’s experience is the same, and therefore black feminist thought seeks to find common themes within the black female experience. Thought must be connected to lived experience in the current context, and stories of the past are often reexamined in light of current realities as well. Black feminism must be flexible enough to change with times; it is situated in an ongoing dialogue between action and thought. Changes in thinking accompany changes in action, that transforms experiences and in turn change consciousness.
Thoughts / Feelings
The black female suffers from multiple, intersecting realities that have limited her potential; but she has endured. I am impressed with the black woman’s ability to utilize her resources and thrive. Black women’s resistance and ability to adapt to and overcome negative stereotypes, sexual maltreatment, lack of economic resources, and hard work is noble. I believe the Black female should be held up and honored as a heroine, as she works to define herself and take back a culture, which labels her a deviant other.
Implications for future research
I must continue to study the perspectives of others, I want to see more clearly the embedded assumptions, which have been invisible. Deconstructing social structures, questioning norms, and listening to other’s personal experiences will move me in this direction. Through this process I also want to reflect on my own thoughts and actions, understanding how new ideas can change consciousness.
I am the outside oppressor who has contributed to the oppression through inaction. But my defiant action is to educate myself and redefine my own conceptions upon reflection of the experience of the other. I have started to examine how my intersecting realities offer advantage, as well as how I can use this power to empower others. Though I also wonder how to balance my presence as advantaged inside the discussion so not to occupy spaces that should be held by another. Where is the balance when an advantaged person wants to lead and advocate for change, but also understands that his presence in the system can exclude another, or contribute to oppression?
Your question is the question that has been asked by countless of other Caucasians who have stood by greats like Fredrick Douglas, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King and the countless of others who fight for the rights of those who are oppressed.
The solution is not clear and the answers are hard to obtain, however, the one thread that I have found to be true for each and every one who get involved in a grassroot or national movement is this...Never Give Up and Never Stop Striving for our Goal(s)! The consensus seems to say that what we dream to see will not happen in our lifetime, however, it has to start somewhere, with some people, who are dedicated to "true" democracy and giving people their voice.
I applaud your tenacity and your willingness to see the "other" side of the story. As an activist from my youth, I have seen movement and I have experienced stagnation. Seems that stagnation has been around for quite some time and it is time to put the fire back into the belly of the civil rights movement so that people can begin to have dreams again. I feel that being oppressed take us away from being able to dream...see and establish goals for ourselves since we are so busy trying to wonder how we are going to pay for a gallon of gas to get to work, to get a pay check, so that I can be broke all over gain next week and start this madness all over again. No dreaming in that statement; none at all!
Please keep fighting for the day when we all can truly be FREE!
I agree with that new ideas can change consiousness. But sometimes we are limited to some perspectives due to no enough experiences and knowledge. That is why we need to discuss and enlarge our vision on a topic.
Collin's book raises our attention to "hero" black femlame, but who knows their real feelings behind this image? I doubt that if they have choice, they are not willing to be so strong.
Mick, Freire (2000) writes that only the oppressed can free themselves from oppression, but the oppressed must first realize that they are oppressed. With this in mind, you can not free the oppressed, but it is your duty as a social justice advocate and a power holder to help the oppressed realize their oppression and equip them with the tools necessary to fight the system which oppresses them.Your very presence in this program and your commitment to all the students you serve shows that you are on the right track.
Collins demonstrates the exploitation of African-American women’s labor, by explaining that, “US Black women may have migrated out of domestic service in private homes, but as their overrepresentation as nursing home assistants, day-care aides, dry-cleaning workers, and fast-food employees suggest, African-American women engaged in low-paid service work is far from a thing of the past,” (pg. 46) shows a dimension of economic oppression. Another dimension of oppression is the political dimension, which is seen even present day at the voting booth through the unequal treatment Black women receive. Third is the ideological dimension of oppression. US Black women are linked to qualities created by stereotypes from slavery and current views from the media and/or the dominant culture. This type of oppression leads to the inability of US Black women of being able to define themselves which in turn suppresses their thoughts.
I am moved most by the ideological dimension of oppression, which relates to the images and stereotypes linked to the US Black woman. All too often these stereotypes of US Black women are used “not to reflect or represent a reality but to function as a disguise, or mystification, of objective social relations” (pg. 68). Once US Black women are seen as the “other” the racism, sexism and poverty seem normal. This makes dominating the Black women politically and economically easier of a task. I often feel that as the “other” I am put up against the white woman in an either or situation. With the silencing of US Black women intellectual thought for so many years, it seemed as if white was good and right in considering womanhood and black was not.
It is important to me to continue to break down the stereotypes set by those in schools, media and government. At a very unsure time, especially the first year of college, it is imperative that young US Black women learn that they too are scholars and a part of the intellectual voice of feminist thought.
Every since I took my first women's studies class as an undegraduate, I became familiar with the ideology of feminism and the core of thoughts that were included such as equality, respect and ecnomic advancement. Then I was introduced to these same feminist thoughts from the perspective of minority women, especially black women and found that there are more ideals involved such as racial justice and educational opportunity. With that being said, I was quite interested in what Dr. Patricia Hill-Collins was discussing in her book Black Feminist Thought.
The idea that I found most intersting is the discussion of black motherhood and how that bond goes beyond biological mothers and into the entire neighborhood. The question that can be raised from this section is why does black motherhood go beyond biological mothers. One point of reference is slavery and the effect that it had on black families where fathers were traded from their families leaving the women to care for the children. As the son of a widowed black woman, I know what it is like for her to be dependent on a suport group of people to help her raise to educated black young men. Finally, I believe that as mother's day approaches we should be mindful that the women from generations past sacrificed themslves as reminders of how to survive in this world.
Mother's day is an excellent time to remember those women who have fought against oppression and have enduring the face of discrimination. And so I reflect on how to handle this holiday with a mother who buys into the gender role stereotypes and promotes them through her religious beliefs, and I am not sure if she is able to or open to change.
I can certainly understand why we had two weeks to read this book. I found it very informative. I've also collected many more authors to read once time permits!
I found Collins themes surrounding self-definition and self-valuation most useful. I found much of myself and my African-American female friends in the readings. Collins talks about how stereotypes represent externally-defined, controlling images of Afro-American women that are central to the dehumanization of Black women. It was difficult to be reminded that the Black male has also contributed so much to the oppression of Black women. Stereotypes, and those that control them, are a means utilized to control oppressed groups. She demonstrates that to change negative stereotypes with positive, more progressive ones, takes generations to foster and visualize.
Black feminist have outlined the difference between their struggle and the feminist movement, but most importantly, black women need to record our history and share with others to change and modify our self-definition. Alice Walker's novel, The Color Purple and Ntozake Shange's choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, give proof that the struggle of black women is different and our definition of self has a long history of being affected by both black and white men.
Reading this book has certainly given me a long list of authors that I need to read but specifically with the intenion of broadening my own self-definition so that I can also work with others to expand theirs.
I found Black Feminist Thought to be interesting as well as beneficial to my "thought" processes especially within my scholarly journey toward a doctoral degree and throughout my life. The information gained from reading this book has provided additional knowledge, has assisted/expanded my thinking, as well as helped confirm and take stances, both professionally and personally with regards to matters of race, gender, and more!
Several concepts and theories were highlighted throughout the book including: Black Feminist Thought theory and Eurocentric masculmist thought, and the areas associated and/or supported by such theories.
I am inspired by Dr. Collins Framework of the Black Feminist thought demonstrating Black Women emerging as power "agents of knowledge" and that knowledge plays in empowering (and always has)oppressed people!
I am further inspired by the foundations of Black Feminist thought involving the work of not only the conscious mind and change - politicially and economically, for the overall goal of Social Justice and change!
Rejection of the ideology of domination by the dominant group in order to conserve Afrocentric conceptualizations of the community are a must for African Americans, especially females. We must remember, celebrate, and share our history.
In order to understand where you going, you first have to know where you came from. Black women have survived the inhumanity of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the indignity of being separated from their families on slave auction blocks. They endured abuse and rape by slave masters and overcame the injustice of being bred and worked like animals. During segregation and after desegregation, they suffered -twice- 1) for being black and 2) for being female in a culture that esteemed neither. Not to mention the possibility of being a “triple threat” - 3) young!
Being agents of change as an African American female scholar, I can assist and create new insights/perceptions, as well as, lead change and evidentially remove stereotypes.
Black Feminist Thought focuses on the situation and experiences of African-American women in the United States. However, it relevant not only for black women but for others who are in subordinate positions as a result of their race, class, or gender where they face "interlocking systems of oppression." Collins explains black females sex, race, sexuality, and class intersecting oppressions from the standpoint of black women. She contends ending multiple systems of oppression and social changes through dialogue, which is the essential of critical social theory.
"Interlocking systems of oppression" impressed me most. Black females has been suffering race, class, and gender oppression. They have been dominated and subordinated to white, superior class, and men. As a black, poor, and female women, their experience is unbelievable tragic. Facing the intersecting oppression, black female choose to keep silent which is viewed as "super-mother".
The interlocking nature of oppressions is "structured on multiple levels" and any individual may be "both a member of multiple dominant groups and a member of multiple subordinate groups". That is to say, it is possible for people to be both oppressed and oppressor. For instance, black men can be involved in both oppressor and oppressed, as well as middle class white women. But for black women, they are always oppressed due to race, class, and gender.