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Black Feminism: “Learning from the Outsider Within

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Rebecca Washington

on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of Black Feminism: “Learning from the Outsider Within

Black Feminism: “Learning from the Outsider Within" 3 Key Points The Meaning of Self-Definition & Self-Valuation The Interlocking Nature of Oppression Questions Thank You The Importance of Afro-American Women's Culture. ~The Meaning of Self-Definition & Self-Valuation
~The Interlocking Nature of Oppression
~The Importance of Afro-American Women's Culture. Self-Definition - challenging the political knowledge-validation process that has resulted in externally, stereotypical images of Afro- American womanhood. Black feminists aim to redefine the importance of Black women's culture.
This places a greater emphasis on the role of historically specific political economies in explaining the endurance of certain cultural themes. Based on the representation of the servant/slave relationship with the master, would this happen with roles reversed?

Why do you think the white woman is seen as dog, and not some other animal, such as a cat? Is there another animal that could be representative?

Do you think today's Black culture is a positive representation of the race?

Who/What are some examples of strong Black female role models in today's culture? Why? Rebecca Washington Self-Valuation - stresses the replacement of externally derived images with authentic Black female images. Stereotypes represent externally created controlling images that dehumanize the Black woman. "The black woman is the white man's mule and the white woman is his dog." "He ain't gon' treat neither one like he was dealing with a person."
~Nancy White Black female stereotypes are distorted renderings of the most threatening aspects of Black female behavior towards white patriarchy. Aggressive Black women are threatening because they do not fit white patriarchal societies idea of femininity. This is the same in strong Afro-American mothers; it upsets the white man's view of power in the family. Rejecting the label as other, helps resist the dehumanization that is needed by the systems of domination.

If Black women reject their assigned status, it creates a barrier between human and beast. They challenge the non-reflection that dehumanization creates. Black feminist theory pays great attention to the relationships created by race, gender, & class oppression. Black women may seem to be absent from organized feminist movements in general, but in actuality, they have a higher commitment to interlocking oppression, even though they are excluded from arenas that these movements take place. By studying more than just their own oppressions, Black feminists realize the links created by the various types of oppression.

Black feminists aim to develop new theories on the interaction between the multiple systems. Dualist Thinking Things are categorized by their differences.
eg. Black/White, Male/Female.

These relationships are unstable. Each relationship has a dominant figure and an "other". "We take our stand on the solidarity of humanity, the oneness of life, and the unnaturalness and injustice of all special favoritisms." "The colored woman feels that woman's cause is one and universal; and that...not till race, color, sex, & condition are seen as accidents, & not the substance of life."
~Anna Julia Cooper Culture is not static, but constantly changing. Culture suggests that the values by which Black woman address themselves, are present in concrete material expression. eg. Church, family, music, art, politicsThese themes are experienced differently by Black women of different classes, ages, and regions. The actions that the oppressed take against their oppressors are far more complex than previous social theory.Black women may conform to their oppression while simultaniously rejecting their roles at the bottom. If Black women use all resources available to them, (motherhood, church, creativity) to self-define and self-valuate and encourage others to reject objectification, their behaviors themselves, become a form of activism.
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