Delights desires and dilemmas essays on women and the media
While I find a fierce sense of hope in the power of repetition, my hopefulness feels tender up against the grim reality that past calls for equality voiced by Black women have yet to genuinely resonate with the hearts of most. Nevertheless, I am optimistic in believing if I step into the space that resistant cries have created, maybe, just maybe, something about my resistant voice in this moment will be heard, taken in, and taken seriously.
To embody the prideful tenacity that Black womanhood brings forth, I will do the very things that Black women are discursively disciplined not to do. I will rant without a hint of regret, and I will do so with my head held high believing that I am worth standing up for in a world that crudely tells me otherwise!
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Essay
Black bodies, White gazes: The continuing significance of race. Lanham , MD : Rowman and Littlefield. To soothe my nerves and strengthen my voice, I turn to Shange's Shange , N. Embracing the cultural practice of call and response across generations, the articulation of BFA that follows is offered to bear witness to her appeal.
I began imagining the promise of BFA in the field of communication while reading the works of Black feminist writers and activists. The writings that I remember the most are the ones that seemed to read me as I read. The authors who wrote them created space for women who look like me to be remembered, considered, and fought for.
Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else by Maeve Higgins
These women took to the page with a sense of fury that left permanent impressions on my heart. As I read, I could feel their fed-up rage bolstered by a depth of frustration and loss that I have only let myself know in secret. Remembering each moment of exposure to Black feminist thought, the first time I read bell hooks's Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism , I got chills as she insisted that the world take notice of the historical and contemporary maltreatment of Black women.
She beckoned me into her pages by marking the ironic lip service directed at Black women from within the women's liberation and civil rights movements. Using words as her pedagogical arsenal, she forewarned me of the wars at the complex crossroads of race, gender, and class. Relieved by her intersectional mindfulness, I accepted the tension that I have always felt as a biracial Black woman as bona fide, as opposed to dismissing it as an oversensitive figment of my imagination.
Similarly, Angela Davis's Davis , A. As she heightened her refusal of ideological domination with each damning page, I felt inspired by her desire to mark our oppressors and their purposeful orchestration of Black female suffering as shameful. She reminds us of the historical underpinnings of contemporary Black female invisibility and brings forth the increased vulnerability and incessant labor of poor Black women.
Her words changed me as she recounted the indignities of slavery and segregation, and the struggles for equal rights to make certain that those who suffered beyond our contemporary imagination are not forgotten. Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment , 2nd ed. Collins brought my pen to life in a way that I had never known before. As I turned each page, I scribbled in the margins to record all the ways that I knew her words to be true.
Her intellect tickled my heart; I laughed, trembled, and cried—sometimes all at once. Having first found Black feminist thought beyond the field of communication, I eventually turned toward our field hoping to find more of what I had been missing. Soyini Madison, and Tracey Owens Patton. Goals for emancipatory communication research on Black women.
Reading this line over and over again, I felt my face get hot as a slideshow of memories crossed my mind.
The Oreo. The Zebra. The Mutt. Writing for my life: Community-cognizant scholarship on African American women and communication. International Journal of Intercultural Relations , 24 , — Scared but prepared, I felt ready to begin articulating myself and my work as intersectional; I began to understand that I could position my body as a bridge on my own terms. Reminding me of the significance of self-definition and self-determination, Lorde Lorde , A. Poet as teacher—Human as poet—Teacher as human. Byrd , J. Guy-Sheftall Eds. Having been barred from bringing my angry essence for so long, since angry emotions are outlawed for Black women who wish to be welcomed, I yearned for a medium through which my voice could be heard.
Still academically immature, I craved more insight into the lives of Black women generated by communication scholars. I wanted to know how they theorized and what they felt. I was warmed and warned by the transparency of Davis Davis , O. Black feminist thought and cultural contracts: Understanding the intersection and negotiation of racial, gendered, and professional identities in the academy.
Coming Back Soon
New Directions for Teaching and Learning , , 55 — Then a cherished mentor introduced me to Joni Jones and D. Soyini Madison, both of whom enriched my perspective on how to understand Black feminism as an embodied practice that had been, could be, and needed to continue to be written into our field. Miss Bertha's rhythmic voice, at the intersections of race, gender, class, and age, taught me to listen through my anger for stories of faith and progress. After Madison Madison , D. I imagined myself peering purposefully inward to question how I understand who I am, our world, and how I move through our world.
Slowly grasping how to do so, I listened closely when Lorde Lorde , A.
Given the vulnerable enormity of doing such work from a Black feminist standpoint, in response to the queries of why? Why try, why write, why speak, why stay, why struggle? Also, mirroring Houston Houston , M. I do so in pursuit of being and becoming a Black woman intellectual Collins, Collins , P. Instead, all U. Inspired by Collins Collins , P. Jointly, they built a platform from which Black academic women can autoethnographically narrate the pride and pain of Black womanhood.
Their foundational commitments to self-determination, intersectionality, and strategic essentialism Boylorn, Boylorn , R. As seen on TV: An autoethnographic reflection on race and reality television. Critical Studies in Media Communication , 25 4 , — Davis, Davis , A. Davis, Davis , O.
Finding the productive energy of my anger between their lines, it became fair, real, and speakable. In this article, it is their labor that I wish to honor and extend through the articulation of BFA as a theoretical and methodological means to resist the hegemonic imposition of domination.
For examples, see Berry and Mizelle Berry , T. From oppression to grace: Women of color and their dilemmas in the academy. Sterling , VA : Stylus. Spirit, space, and survival: African American women in White academe. Interpretive ethnography: Ethnographic practices for the 21st century. Thousand Oaks , CA : Sage. Autoethnography: Making the personal political.
Ann C. Hall (Ed.): Delights, Desires, and Dilemmas. Essays on Women and the Media
Lincoln Eds. Absence for whom? An autoethnography of White subjectivity. Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies , 1 1 , 36 — Affirming Collins's Collins , P.
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This list of Black feminist activists is by no means complete. For compilations of Black feminist works, see Bambara Collins , P. All the women are White, all the Blacks are men, but some of us are brave: Black women's studies. Black women in White America: A documentary history. View all notes of BFA renders Black women more visible in the realm of autoethnography, which in the academy is more often associated with and published by White women Calafell, Calafell , B.
Double jeopardy: To be Black and female. Morgan Ed. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color.
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