PHIL 242 - “Defining Black Feminist Thought”
- Collins agrees with Bartky, etc. that the perspective of an oppressed group should play an
important role in that group’s politics....
- ...but also thinks there is a problem with treating (alleged) biological categories, like race and
sex, as prerequisites for having a political position.
- Her goals are
- (i) is to accommodate both views,
- (ii) to explain how black feminism can integrate both individual lived experiences and
TWO PROBLEMS WITH ‘BLACKNESS’AS A‘BIOLOGICAL CATEGORY’
- The biology doesn’t hold up....
- ...and even if it did, genetics cannot define one’s experiences and political outlook.
NON-BIOLOGICAL FEATURES OF BLACK WOMEN’S STANDPOINT
- Aset of values and concerns... ...and a history of struggle...
- ...shared (though in varied ways) by women who think of themselves as ‘Black’, and are
thought of that way by others...
- ...and displayed in their history, literature, and daily lives.
THEMES FOUND IN THIS TRADITION
- Interlocking nature of race gender, and class oppression
- Replacing denigrated images of Black womanhood wit self-defined images
- Belief in Black women’s activism
- Sensitivity to sexual politics
RELATIONSHIP TO DOMINANT STANDPOINT
- “Being black encompasses both experiencing white domination and individual and group
valuation of an independent, long-standingAfrocentric consciousness.”
- So part of the African-American women’s experience is living in a culture where other,
dominant standpoints are internalized in two ways:
- (1) Learned and internalized, since they’re dominant. (Compare Gilligan on women’s
- (2) Learned about through fighting against them.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEORYAND PRACTICE
- Collins agrees with Hartsock that what you do determines how you see the world...
- ...but also stresses that how you see the world—and how you think about it theoretically—