Why Do We Still Need Black Feminism?
The other day, someone asked me why we still need Black Feminism, and a few clichés that question Black Feminism sprung to mind.
“Now that intersectionality is mainstream, isn’t Black Feminism just another divisive ideology that excludes white women from the conversation?”
“There are tonnes of successful black women in the public eye like Beyoncé or Oprah, so you don’t need Black Feminism anymore!”
A major problem with feminism is that it has historically excluded black women from the conversation and ignored the multiple levels of oppression that these women face. Black Feminism recognises the multidimensional aspect of oppression, arguing that sexism, racism, and class oppression are related through intersectionality.
Black Feminism isn’t fighting against feminism. It’s not a force created to drive a wedge between black and white feminists. And it doesn’t undermine the past achievements of feminism. Black Feminism is simply a branch that falls under the feminist tree and recognizes that women who don’t come under the middle-class straight white woman umbrella need a space too. We need black feminism. We need queer feminism. We need intersectional feminism.
To get a better picture, check out this pizza-related analogy that clearly explains intersectionality:
We still need Black Feminism because:
Black Women in the US earn less than white women, despite working more hours.
African-American women are 7 times more likely to be incarcerated over their lifetime than white women.
Black women disproportionately experience violence at home, at school, on the job, and in their neighbourhoods.
Black women continue to suffer from institutional racism and sexism, affecting every aspect of their lives, from health to access to jobs.
We need Black feminism to combat police violence and brutality, because Black Lives Matter.
We need Black feminism to subvert the misrepresentations of black women in society, and create new depictions of black womanhood.
We need Black feminism because Black Women around the world deserve to have their voices heard too.
Article by VERVE Operative & Blogger Chanju Mwanza.