Black Feminism

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Black Feminism

Black feminism started around 1797 with a woman called Sojourner Truth. She highlighted two issues that created the basis of black feminism. She stated that African American women were just like women of the other races. In addition, she stated that the experiences of African American women differed from those of the pampered, middle-class white women. It incorporates a new perspective to feminism by airing black women’s experiences. Black feminism also included womanism. Alice Walker and other womanists brought to light the fact that African American women suffered more oppression than white women. They challenged the feminism led by middle-class white women, arguing that they ignored class and race-based oppression (Ford 24).

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In Patricia Hill Collins’ definition of black feminism, she states that black feminists include people who theorize an ordinary black woman’s ideas and experiences that provide uniqueness in the view of the society, community, and self. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, the core issue of feminism revolved around the black feminism issues. It involved an understanding of feminism and female experiences to create solidarity and power. This had to be done with the accommodation of different experiences of women resulting from ethnicity, race, sexuality, oppression history, and socioeconomic levels. The principle distinctive aspect of black feminism is its fight for the incorporation of individualized issues in feminism. It also criticized the manner in which the other types of feminism, especially those led by middle-class white women, carried out their activities (Ford 25).

Characters of Black Feminism

Sojourner Truth

She lived between 1797 and 1883. She introduced the idea of black feminism in that the experiences of African American women were different from and the same as white women’s experiences. She became a black women’s rights activist and an abolitionist. She said that the experiences of African American women had different experiences from those of the middle-class white women.

Audre Lorde

She lived between 1934 and 1992. She used her poetry talent to confront and address injustices resulting from sexism, homophobia, and racism. She fought marginalization of black women and lesbians. Her incorporation of issues in her poems empowered readers to react to prejudice in their lives. Her published works and activism express the importance of the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed. They also discuss the importance of organizing coalitions across different genders, races, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, and classes.

Alice Walker

She was born in 1944. She is one of the best-known and respected writers in the USA. She used her own experiences as well as those of other people to express black-white relations and politics in her novel Meridian. In her famous essay, In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens, Walker coined the term “womanist” referring to the realization of the fact that feminism did not incorporate black women’s perspectives.

Patricia Hill Collins

She was born on May 1, 1948. In 1990, she published a book titled Black Feminist Thought, which discussed the oppression faced by women as a result of their race. In addition, it also depicted their unique histories about the systems of power intersections. She has also written other books supporting black feminism including Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology among others.

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Black feminists are critical of the mainstream feminism because they believe that it has alienated their problems. In the 1960s, black women who participated in feminist movements faced racism. In many cases, black women faced exclusion as they did not receive invitations into conference panels that were not specifically about black women. In addition, black women were not proportionately or equally represented on the faculty of Women’s Studies Departments. There were no classes devoted to the study of the history of black women. Most of the movement’s writings considered white and middle-class women’s issues as the “women issues”, ignoring black women’s experiences resulting from different races. Black women felt that white women should accept their racism. For instance, Adrienne Rich said that the white feminists who preceded them fought for the rights of black women, insisting that they had a sound anti-racist tradition. For instance, Bell Hooks wrote a book Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. The book expressed the importance of ending the degradation and exploitation of black women. She expressed that it was an important step in the alleviation of the white women supremacy. This resulted in the formation of several liberation movements of black women, resulting in full-fledge black feminism (Ford 46).

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