Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Book Review

Excerpt from Book Review :

Collins cites participation in the abolitionist movement, anti-lynching campaigns of the early 20th century, and recent civil rights work in the South, where Black women have not only worked on behalf of themselves but for all African-Americans (Collins, p. 218). The overarching theme, however is the belief that teaching people how to be self-reliant fosters empowerment. Collins cites Angela Davis (1989), who wrote that activism was designed to empower everyone: "We must climb in such a way as to guarantee that all our sisters, regardless of social class, and indeed all of our brothers climb with us" (Collins, p. 219).

Collins writes "epistemology points to the ways in which power relations shape who is believed and why" (Collins, p. 251). She charges that many Black women are not viewed as credible witnesses for their own experiences (Collins, p. 254) and that the ideas of a relatively select few are safe and respected from the majority perspective. Collins argues that much Black feminist thought is borne, understandably, from lived experience and hopes that collective thought can serve "as one specific social location for examining points of connection" (Collins, p. 270). The goal of understanding these points of connection is to foster the paradigm shift necessary to change the balance of power, tilted unfavorably according to race, class and gender, and to change the underlying knowledge base that supports the shift.

In writing the book, Collins continually made the distinction between "feminist thought" and "Black feminist thought." It was important to her to create a new context, rather than view Black feminism through an established white, western one. She wanted to make her work accessible to Black women and accomplished this through multiple interviews and primary source historical documents. Collins wanted to give voice to her own thoughts and in doing so gave voice to Black women past and present. Eschle (2001) argues that Collins' work is essential reading, not just for Black women, but for everyone as a "profound reminder of the political responsibility of those who produce privileged knowledge about the world" (p. 486).

References

Collins, P.H. (2000). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness & the Politics of Empowerment.

Eschle, C. (2001). Book review: Black Feminist Thought. International Feminist Journal of Politics 3 (3), 484-486.

Inniss, L.B. (1991). Book review: Black Feminist Thought. Social Science Quarterly (University

of Texas Press) 72 (3), 625-626.

University…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Collins, P.H. (2000). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness & the Politics of Empowerment.

Eschle, C. (2001). Book review: Black Feminist Thought. International Feminist Journal of Politics 3 (3), 484-486.

Inniss, L.B. (1991). Book review: Black Feminist Thought. Social Science Quarterly (University

of Texas Press) 72 (3), 625-626.

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