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Click here to browse the Art History Archive. Consciousness and the Struggle for a Self-Defined Standpoint African-American women as a group may have experiences that provide us with a unique angle of vision. But expressing a collective, self-defined Black feminist consciousness is problematic precisely because dominant groups have a vested interest in suppressing such thought.
Nelson realizes that those who control the schools, media, and other cultural institutions of society prevail in establishing their viewpoint as superior to others. Elderly domestic worker Rosa Wakefield assesses how the standpoints of the powerful and those who serve them diverge: Wakefield has a self-defined perspective growing from her experiences that enables her to reject the standpoint of more powerful groups.
And yet ideas like hers are typically suppressed by dominant groups. Groups unequal in power are correspondingly unequal in their ability to make their standpoint known to themselves and others.
Individual African-American women have long displayed varying types of consciousness regarding our shared angle of vision. By aggregating and articulating these individual expressions of consciousness, a collective, focused group consciousness becomes possible.
As Audre Lorde points out, "it is axiomatic that if we do not define ourselves for ourselves, we will be defined by others-for their use and to our detriment" One fundamental feature of this struggle for a self-defined stand point involves tapping sources of everyday, unarticulated consciousness that have traditionally been denigrated in white, male-controlled institutions.
For Black women, the struggle involves embracing a consciousness that is simultaneously Afrocentric and feminist.
What does this mean? Research in African-American Studies suggests that an Afrocentric worldview exists which is distinct from and in many ways opposed to a Eurocentric worldview Okanlawon ; Asante ; Myers Standard scholarly social constructions of blackness and race define these concepts as being either reflections of quantifiable, biological differences among humans or residual categories that emerged in response to institutionalized racism Lyman ; Bash ; Gould ; Omi and Winant In contrast, even though it often relies on biological notions of the "race," Afrocentric scholarship suggests that "blackness" and Afrocentricity reflect long standing belief systems among African peoples Diop ; Richards ; Asante In other words, being Black encompasses both experiencing white domination and individual and group valuation of an independent, long-standing Afrocentric consciousness.
African-American women draw on this Afrocentric worldview to cope with racial oppression. In societies that denigrate African ideas and peoples, the process of valuing an Afrocentric worldview is the result of self-conscious struggle.
Similar concerns can be raised about the issue of what constitutes feminist ideas Eisenstein ; Jaggar Becoming a feminist is routinely described by women and men as a process of transformation, of struggling to develop new interpretations of familiar realities.
While race and gender are both socially constructed categories, constructions of gender rest on clearer biological criteria than do constructions of race. Classifying African-Americans into specious racial categories is considerably more difficult than noting the clear biological differences distinguishing females from males Patterson But though united by biological sex, women do not form the same type of group as do African-Americans, Jews, native Americans, Vietnamese, or other groups with distinct histories, geographic origins, cultures, and social institutions.
The absence of an identifiable tradition uniting women does not mean that women are characterized more by differences than by similarities. Women do share common experiences, but the experiences are not generally the same type as those affecting racial and ethnic groups King Thus while expressions of race and gender are both socially constructed, they are not constructed in the same way.
The struggle for an Afrocentric feminist consciousness requires embracing both an Afrocentric worldview and a feminist sensibility and using both to forge a self-defined standpoint.
Annie Adams, a Southern Black woman, describes how she became involved in civil rights activities: Same thing about the toilets. I had to clean the toilets for the inspection room and then, when I got ready to go to the bathroom, I had to go all the way to the bottom of the stairs to the cellar.
In this case Ms. Adams found the standpoint of the "boss man" inadequate, developed one of her own, and acted on it. Her actions illustrate the connections among concrete experiences with oppression, developing a self-defined standpoint concerning those experiences, and the acts of resistance that can follow.
This interdependence of thought and action suggests that changes in thinking may be accompanied by changed actions and that altered experiences may in turn stimulate a changed consciousness. The significance of this connection is succinctly expressed by Patrice L.
The struggle for a self-defined Afrocentric feminist consciousness occurs through a merger of thought and action. Such approaches generate deep divisions among theorists and activists which are more often fabricated than real. Very different kinds of "thought" and "theories" emerge when abstract thought is joined with concrete action.
Denied positions as scholars and writers which allow us to emphasize purely theoretical concerns, the work of most Black women intellectuals is influenced by the merger of action and theory. The activities of nineteenth-century Black women intellectuals such as Anna J. Wells, and Mary Church Terrell exemplify this tradition of merging intellectual work and activism.
Contemporary Black women intellectuals continue to draw on this tradition of using everyday actions and experiences in our theoretical work.Tanya D’Souza, Supreme Court of Victoria, and Laura Griffin, Nicole Shackleton, and Danielle Watt, all of La Trobe Law School, have published Harming Women with Words: The Failure of Australian Law to Prohibit Gendered Hate Speech at 41 UNSW Law Journal ().
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One of the first major issues tackled by these feminists was the power to optimize hypergamy initiate divorces.. Perhaps these Jewish ladies were . Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America [Linda L. Layne] on grupobittia.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
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Nearly all of us root for fairness, not for our own sex. – Nicholas Kristof. May 31, · But that's crazy to me. Fiction is supposed to highlight real world issues.
Rape is a real world issue. Sexism is something women actually confront in their jobs, at home.