i took pictures of a bunch of boston things with a disposable camera over the past week and i was going to send the pictures to sonia w/notes on the back b/c she still has a few weeks in canada and i know she misses boston a lot and i miss HER a lot but there was a problem with the camera and only like seven pictures came out :( :( :( i hope she doesn’t go on my blog and see this
i’m just gonna get another camera and redo it i guess!
i hate having mutual friends with my father on facebook b/c he comments on their posts every once in a while and i have to be reminded that he exists
because he was such a fundamentally and wholly good person, i’m sure we’re going to see a lot of mainstream and conservative sources appropriating mandela’s feel-good quotes to show their deference to him in the next few days. and we owe it to mandela’s legacy to not let them get away with that.
never forget that apartheid ended in the fucking nineteen NINETIES and never forget that the people who opposed the ANC’s anti-apartheid mission and who threw him in prison and tried to kill him are still alive and still powerful. never forget that the ANC was closely allied with communist groups in south africa and namibia. never forget that without funding and resources from the CIA and american businesses apartheid would’ve ended much, much sooner. never forget that the ANC was considered a terrorist group by the US until two thousand fucking EIGHT. never forget that the ANC actually WAS a terrorist group at some points in history and that mandela himself condoned the use of violence in response to the severe oppression his people underwent.
do justice to the legacy of your idols by remembering them for who they were, not making them safe for mass consumption
Within women’s and gender studies, the language of intersectionality is often appropriated to mean putting together already existing theoretical frameworks, or including the experiences of those “left out” of white feminist projects, in a way that evades theoretical consideration of race altogether. Thus, grappling with intersectionality is often mistakenly reduced to a call to include the experiences of women of color. Sidestepping the challenge to feminism inherent in the theoretical and political project of intersectionality, this framework of inclusion fails to confront racism for a number of reasons.
First, to include women of color into women’s and gender studies leaves the core concepts of the field intact and suggests that the lives of women of color are just another area of study that can be analyzed in the same way that white women’s experiences have been. Rather than take seriously the theories of race and gender and the feminist politics that emerge when the experiences of women of color are centered, inclusion simply invites women of color into a project that has already been defined in relation to the experiences of white women (Alarcón 1991; A. Smith 2004). Instead of taking intersectionality as a call to fundamentally transform (or abandon) frameworks that cannot grapple with racial difference, inclusion frequently preserves those frameworks as they are by simply adding to them.
Second, inclusion often fails to take into account the relationality of different women’s experiences and instead repositions white women’s experiences as the norm from which experiences of women of color differ. As Elsa Barkley Brown notes, the point is not just that women of color and white women have different experiences but rather that racism is a structure of power in which ‘white women live the lives they do in large part because women of color live the ones they do (E. Brown 1992, 298).
Finally, including the experiences of women of color does not require the development of theoretical approaches that demonstrate how race is gendered and gender is raced beyond the scale of individual experiences. What emerges from inclusion is a focus on accounting for different identities rather than on critically interrogating the mechanisms of power by which particular identities are produced as such.
like being very clear, when i asked Patricia Hill Collins about the co-opting of her terms and the use of white feminisms use of intersectionality as a feminist theory she had CHOICE words
her talk was titled ”With My Mind Set on Freedom: Black Feminism, Intersectionality and Social Justice” and it was wonderful. She discussed current events such as Trayvon Martin, the Obama Presidency, the ways social media has grown as a tool of activism among youth and the importance of intergenerational relationships and lessons.
i was lucky enough to co-facilitate a graduate workshop with her and two other grad students. i think the body of the talk and the workshop will be separate posts.
But at the end of the talk, their was a question and answer section. I had decided to ask her a similar question I asked Kimberle Crenshaw. How do you feel about the ways white feminists have taken your work on intersectionality as a feminist way to be more inclusive while erasing the creations as part of a Black feminist tradition and without a dedication to Black women’s lives in any way?
She gave an anecdote. She asked if the House of Blues was still in Cambridge or Boston. We said yes. Recently I was at a Bootsy Collins show there, maybe a year ago. So yes, it was there. I was so suprised when I arrived. And she elaborated on why with her anecdote.
She said what has become of her work on intersectionality and Crenshaw’s as well is what has been done to Blues, Jazz and Rock. When I went to the Bootsy Collins show I was actually appalled at how WHITE the audience was. these are NOT true Bootsy fans or lovers. but once whiteness gets their grasp on something they love that Black people have created, they have to make it more and more inaccessible to Black people while also whitening it to be no longer noticeable as a Black creation.
what i love about her response is that she didn’t use the word appropriation once. she simply said, over the years, Blues and Jazz has become almost unrecognizable. white men who wanted that feel, that experience, went on to imitate the sounds and creations without actually having the background experience. structurally, some of these things end up similar. however, the heart and soul of the creation is gone and the creators have been erased. when Black fans can’t go see Bootsy Collins at the House of Blues because of the cost or white men are continually praised as the creators and best artists in Blues, Jazz and Rock n Roll, the complete erasure and appropriation of that creation has taken place.
this is what White Feminism has done to intersectionality. White Feminism has no commitment to Black women. to our lives, our narratives, our concerns or our histories. Patricia Hill Collins had and has a complete and total commitment to Black women. her work is based on a long standing oral and academic tradition of remembering and honoring those who came before her. who helped to shape these ideas. and most importantly, they center the Black womans experience in all of it.
intersectionality is meant as a bottom up approach, not a top down approach. those with power cannot be “intersectional”. you are also not living intersectional experiences. intersectionality was always about exposing the ways Black women are caught up in multiple systems of oppression, namely race, gender and class, but often many more. it is meant to help Black women understand their experiences in a white supremacist patriarchal culture like the U.S. or much of Western nations that have applied this model onto most cultures from the outside. most importantly, it is meant to help Black women see the ways their experiences are connected to one another and not a product of self-deficiency but structural real systems that have cultural and economic benefits for ruling/dominant classes.
understanding Black women live intersectional experiences gives us insight into the ways race, gender and class, heterosexism and more all work together in ways that restrict Black womens access to resources. and access to resources is what is really one of the most important things needed in Black women’s lives. which white feminism is not committed to in any way. when Black women learn more about classism, sexism, racism, heterosexism and more (such as transmisogyny, islamophobia, convicted felon status, etc) and how they work, we learn more about how we can define ourselves without those systems imposing our identities onto us. we can also learn more about how to combat and navigate these systems.
ultimately, Patricia Hill Collins work is very revolutionary and radical for Black women. it is not about how to full-scale change the world or to tear the system down. it is about exposing historical oppression and cultural beliefs, our position as Black American women living in a nation birthed from slavery and genocide, to allow Black women tools to define themselves, to see a long term history of scholarly and community work, to understand more about one another and ourselves, to push against these systems and to push more Black women to make their own discoveries that will make living as a Black woman in these societies easier, more manageable and more accessible. while she does not address or make specific policy suggestions, she is working to empower and educate Black women about ourselves and our ancestors and how WE CAN DO THESE THINGS.
when you’re white saying your an intersectional feminist, you are wrong. you are the white boy singing sad songs to a blues twang claiming to be a Blues artist. you are the miley who wears black womens bodies and perceived sexualities as fun identities to put on and off, without living within those experiences always and forever. it is erasure, it is warping, it is the continual narrative of whiteness as a dominant force, in opposing the creators and destroying the creators while then attempting to re-create those creations with whiteness firmly installed inside of it. which is false, warped, fake and without heart and soul. it is a lifeless imitation. and mostly, it isn’t REAL.