Select Page
Fall 2019

#BlackGirlMagic

"#BlackGirlMagic... Is that a class on Beyoncé?" my sister asked with a laugh. Technically, no. But it was a good guess. It is about what Beyoncé partly represents: Black Feminism.

A Statement on Black Feminisms

Below are some of the ways my current understanding of Black Feminist theory has impacted me. For further information on #BlackGirlMagic and the original course designed by Carmen Kynard:

Black Feminism's Influence on My Work

Black Feminist Theory and Pedagogy is a diverse field that defies simple, summative statements. So in hopes of avoiding reductionist claims, I must note I speak only of my limited experience and reading with materials surveyed this one semester.

Theory

Black Feminist Theory and Pedagogy has shown me the need for a critical awareness of power dynamics, educational assumptions about “right” methods/language, and marginalized people groups. Intersectionality provided tools for me to better understand the variety of dynamics at play in American society, but presents the potential for devolution into tribalism. I value unity in diversity, so I have adopted the tenets of intersectionality and critical race theory that further our understanding of human commonalities. Specifically, this includes recognizing both unique challenges to different positionalities and unique opportunities to help one another overcome these obstacles.

Practice as a scholar

One of the recurring themes in our readings was a lack of recognition for black women’s contributions to academia. In my work as a scholar, I want to make a conscious effort to read sources from viewpoints outside of my own race, gender, and point of view. While I have long appreciated African American literature like Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, this course revealed I am less versed in African American rhetorical scholarship.

Practice as a teacher

Black Feminism has shown me the vast amount of perspectives I do not know and experiences I have not lived. I want to conduct my classroom with awareness, humility, and honesty in light of this. Assignments that encourage growth and creative expression, assessment criteria valuing processes and products outside of academia’s traditional word-texts (i.e. writing essays), and a classroom culture that challenges presuppositions while respecting students are a few ways I see black feminist pedagogy working itself out in my teaching.

Personal

I believe true education forms character (though skills are important too). My views on race relations and racial reconciliation in America have grown in nuance after listening to the thoughts and beliefs of Black Feminist scholars. I want to continue conversations about systemic inequalities and seek ways to create distributive and procedural justice through my personal conduct and the organizations I support.

Connections to narrative research

Much of the research we read relied on ethnography, interviews, personal experiences, and other narrative-based methodologies. Umise ‘eke Tinsley’s Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism, Tricia Rose’s “Public Tales Wag the Dog: Telling Stories about Structural Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era,” and April Baker-Bell’s “For Loretta: A Black Woman Literacy Scholar’s Journey to Prioritizing Self-Preservation and Black Feminist–Womanist Storytelling” each incorporated narrative as evidence and argued (implicitly and/or explicitly) for the validity of narrative’s place in academic discourse.

Response One

Intersectionality

In the first of three responses anchored in a hand-colored work, I reflect on my experience with intersectionality.

Response Two

Zora and Me

One unit centered YA literature by/on black women and Urban Literature. Here I discuss connections between Zora and Me and various elements of course material previously discussed.

Response Three

Pushout

In this final response, I have paired an infographic compiling data on the pushout of women of color from the educational system with a reflection on the viability of changing a system from within, as I aspire to do after becoming a professor.

Brittney Cooper Summarizes Black Feminism

We are not goddesses or matriarchs or edifices of divine forgiveness; we are not fiery fingers of judgment or instruments of flagellation; we are women forced back always upon our woman’s power.

Audre Lorde

"Uses of Anger", Sister Outsider

Lemonade can be sweet to me even if her recipe isn’t the same as mine.

Umise 'eke Tinsley

Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism