Final Questions

Our focus on African American feminism this semester has been amazing. But learning about something in the classroom sometimes isn’t enough. Our professor tasked us with responding to the following questions:

What do we do with the knowledge we have gained?

How do we affect change in the lives of the people around us?

So we have learned all these wonderful and new concepts…

So what? Now what?

They’re a lot to put on a person. It’s difficult to condense everything that we’ve learned this semester down to a “so what?” response. I think we as students recognized the importance of taking this class – which answers the “so what.” We study Black feminism and other feminism because doing so is important. Because doing so prevents our identities as Black women, women of color and women of other marginalized populations from being erased. it becomes entirely too easy to buy into this “we’re all human and that’s all that matters” rhetoric – rhetoric that necessarily erases the ways in which we differentiate self from other. People too easily assume that such categorization is inherently bad when it isn’t. Its what people do with those categories, what people do to privilege one category over another that is problematic. 

So how do I respond to what I’ve learned so far this year? By ensuring that no one successfully erases my identity as a Black woman. Both of those elements matter. We may all be human, but the fact that I am Black and a woman makes my experiences different than yours. Being human doesn’t meant that we are all treated the same. People NEED to understand that. Doing so makes it easier to understand why something like Black feminism even exists. 

So I guess that’s my goal for now – getting people to understand that race matters. Sex and gender matter. And ignoring those facets of a person’s identity doesn’t make the oppressions associated with those identities magically disappear. 

We’ll see where I am in a few months. 

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~ by Kristen on April 30, 2013.

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