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Womanist/Black Feminist Epistemology

So there’s this thing that I’ve always known about, that @Karynthia, @Blackamazon, @so_treu @weseerace and @bad_dominicana discuss often, about how terms, ideas and scholarship that Black women create are not associated with their originators or even with any Black women at all (and not even speaking of just plagiarism; I mean erasure). Or worse, they’re used against Black women. Or even worse, people actively fight the terms’ existences especially within mainstream feminism.

Womanism. Intersectionality. Matrix of domination. Misogynoir. Four of the many concepts that are fought tooth and nail to not exist (especially the latter since it’s newest). Subject to the scrutiny of imperialist White supremacist capitalist patriarchy (this is bell hooks’ combined term) and how it shapes epistemology. Eventually once accepted, then they are disconnected from its originators often for the purpose of silencing other Black women. There’s people who use the terms and ideas to push their agenda (agendas that usually exclude Black women) yet none of the originators are anywhere on their sites. No tags. Not mentioned in conversation or teaching. Nowhere. And even when they discuss modern issues in feminism, they refuse to name Black women currently doing the work. They gladly name any White woman they’re referring to. 

This is not about Black women wanting “White approval” as utterly boring and predictable Whites and some Black men (who also try to silence Black women with other Black women’s words) will suggest, a notion I already deconstructed in the past. It’s about a long history of taking and erasure. Taking. Erasure. This has a history as certain aspects of Black progressive politics are regularly appropriated and then used by Whites to shame or exclude Black people. 

Anytime I mention Black women’s work, all of a sudden it becomes “unethical” or “greedy” to credit our work or idea spreading and education is deemed “impossible” if our names, contributions, ideas and praxis are mentioned. I am fascinated by multi-degreed, multiple column-writing White feminists who can’t figure out who coined “intersectionality” or what it actually means. This is willful ignorance shaped by a need to erase Black women’s work/relevance in feminism on the surface and marginalizes Black women, in general. 

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