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Quick Hit: A must read for college feminists.

July 5, 2010

The Crunk Feminist Collective has a great new post about black feminism in the college classroom, from a professor’s prospective: Thriving in Hostile Territory: Black Feminism in the College Classroom.

Here’s a teaser tidbit, but I encourage you to read the whole thing:

The authority signaled by our degrees and job titles will not protect any woman-of-color from the inevitable challenges, resistance, and downright disrespect she will encounter in a college classroom. Black bodies have never been viewed as repositories of knowledge. Female bodies have never been capable of dispensing rational ideas. Taken together, Black women in the classroom walk directly into a hodgepodge of stereotypes that can literally feel suffocating.

In these moments, we need to remind ourselves that:

1.)  We do our students, our colleagues, and ourselves no favors by doing others’ emotional labor for them.

2.)  Resistance to the truths we speak, truths of our experience, make them no less true.

3.)  Our goal and our purpose is to educate, not defend.

4.)  Everyone won’t like us no matter how hard we try.

5.)  Liberation is a process, not a singular event.

I must confess that, as a feminist throughout college who was privileged to have the guidance of some incredibly smart and strong female professors, I never took much time to understand how sexist and racist structures negatively affected them in the classroom.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    July 6, 2010 10:44 AM

    I’m not sure if they did it more than once, but during my junior or senior year some women faculty did a panel on women in academia. It was really thought-provoking (not least of all because my comps adviser was on the panel) to hear about their experiences with sexism specifically, and the particular ways in which femininity was reinforced for them–i.e. don’t have a family? You must have all the time in the world to be on EVERY departmental committee because women without kids don’t have other shit to do! i.e. “Maternity leave”? Do you need a week or two?

    It reinforced for me how important it is for all of us to be responsible for the tone and timbre of discussion in the classroom. Professors aren’t our babysitters, and their subjectivity is challenged all the time, too. We all have to insist on better for all of us, because no matter how many letters you have after your name, structural inequalities persist.

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