Analysis Of Patricia Hill Collins ' Piece, Defining Black Feminist Thought

1816 WordsSep 28, 20178 Pages
Patricia Hill Collins’ piece, Defining Black Feminist Thought, sets out to do exactly that: to determine what Black Feminism is, who is a Black Feminist, and who can become a Black Feminist. While not always specifically stated, her argument and analysis arises from the historical context of the role of Black women in feminist and activist spaces, as well as the social reality of differing lived experiences of African American women from traditional white female feminists. Created in 1990, Collins’ work is well situated in the time period of Third Wave Feminist thinking, incorporating strong themes of the need for intersectionality and altering opinions within feminism, as well as proposing that multiple versions of feminism can be…show more content…
Therefore, Collins argument shifts to what Black Feminism is, and why we need it, to give the reader a better understanding of who it’s for. In an attempt to define Black Feminism, Collins clarifies that it must “avoid the idealist position that ideas can be evaluated in isolation from the groups that create them (Collins 385).” In reality, this forms her basis for why Black Feminism is necessary, and who it serves. Thinking about feminism historically, the concerns of black women were pushed aside in favor of fighting sexism, most notably during the Suffrage movement. And even when feminism began looking at other social injustices, such as racism and class issues, only prominent feminists were invited to the discussion. What resulted was, and often continues to be, a problem of white women speaking for oppressed people. It’s impossible, Collins argues, to have Black Feminist thought without examining the experiences and positions of African American women. Therefore, Black Feminism must be a movement that “encompasses theoretical interpretations of Black women’s reality by those who live in it (Collins 386).” However, such a definition brings about many questions: who’s experiences are valued, how do black women take their voice back, and how can they center feminist thinking on their own unique standpoint? To speak to the value of others’

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