This week’s prompt is designed to getting us thinking intersectionally. In the United States two of the major civil rights movements have been the feminist movement and the movement for black civil rights. Feminist movements have fought for the rights of women: suffrage, fair pay, bodily autonomy, an end to domestic abuse, and more. Black civil rights movements have fought for the rights of black folks: suffrage (again), an end to state-sanctioned violence, the right to move about the country freely, and more.
The way we talk about these movements highlights a key issue: they generally leave out the specific needs of black women. The concept of intersectionality is the name used to explain this problem. It highlights the fact that we can’t think of the problems that black women face as simply gender-plus-race. Rather, we have to understand that black women are left out of feminist movements (which are primarily run by and for white women) and they are left out of black civil rights movements (which are primarily run by and for black men).
So for this week I wanted to read about black civil rights and radicalism from the perspective of a black women. Their voices are often the most marginalized of all even though they have a vital perspective to add.
This is actually an area I am familiar with, so I have some recommendations for you all! All of these books are in some way related to struggles for civil rights.
If you prefer non-fiction:
- If you’re a feminist interested in reproductive justice and birth control I recommend Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts.
- If you’re interested in the role of media and history in shaping our culture I recommend Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins.
- If you’re interested in sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation I recommend Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism by Patricia Hill Collins.
- If you like thinking about love, family, and partnerships I recommend All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks.
If you prefer fiction:
- If you enjoy explorations of dystopia and religion I recommend Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler.
- If you like science fiction with some horror elements I recommend Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler.
- If you like classic novels exploring family and race I recommend Of One Blood by Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins.
- If you like novels with a Victorian-era feel, steampunk, and utopia I recommend Everfair by Nisi Shawl.
These are just a few of the books I’ve read that I’ve really, really enjoyed. What are your favorite books by black women authors?
For this prompt I’m going to be reading another book that’s been on my to-read shelf for a long, long time: Women, Race, and Class by Angela Y. Davis. I’m actually a little embarrassed to admit I haven’t read this already, but oh well! There’s no time like the present.
What will you be reading this week?