Reading Response 1
Knowledge, Consciousness, And The Politics Of Empowerment
The author, Patricia Hill Collins introduces the thought on Black feminists portraying Black women as knowledgeable. By portraying African American women as self- defined individuals who confront race, gender, and class oppression knowledge, is important and plays a significant part in empowering oppressed people. Collins claims black feminist thought the changes in conscious of individuals and the social transformation of political and economic institutions constitute social change through knowledge and empowerment (Collins, 1991, p. 221). This article conveys different perceptions of Black Feminist and how to empower oppression of African American women. One way is learning to help change the minds of people on social transformations and changing the narrative on oppression by hearing different stories instead of just the Eurocentric masculinist perspective.
One main point Collin makes is on viewing the world through the lens of race and oppression can help communities because it helps people be more understanding and empathetic and can empower the oppressed African American women. Black feminists helped their group understand their stories, experiences, and realities which raises social consciousness, age, religion, sex, and gender oppression are all interlocked. Also, black feminists helped people navigate these conversations on how they all connect with one another and how they all can continue keeping them as an oppressed group.
Afrocentric ideas modeled communities that can help people progress and that's by discussing ways that communities can work together to care for one another and make connections and have personal accountability for a strong community foundation that leads to empowerment. Within these strong communities, discussions are held to explore resistance and continue uplifting yourself and others to continue fighting this oppression. Self-determination and self-empowerment wish black woman to lead them to activism and resisting people in power, for instance, a white man. African American women are still being discriminated by our laws. For example, Collins mentions how African American women are poorly protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Within that, Title VII claims are based on more than two discriminations (Collins, 199, p. 224).
Another main point Collin makes is how race, class, and gender are not the most fundamental or important system of oppression, but they have affected African American women and have different levels of resisting oppression. Those different levels are the community created by race, class, and gender, your own personal narrative, and how society perceives you. For instance, beauty is an important factor in how African American women are portrayed in society. As Collins states, beauty leads many African - American women to dislike their skin color or hair texture. This case is an example of the dominant group, (the white men) see the everyday cultural context of African American women.
Collin also talks about resisting the matrix of domination. Resisting the Eurocentric masculinists can lead to revolutionary change (Collins, 1991, pg. 229). The idea of resisting the matrix of domination reminds me what is happening in the world today. The “TIME'S UP Movement” is a legal defense fund that provides subsidized legal support to those who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace. Having that community and the knowledge of speaking up and knowing your rights can help you make a change.
In my opinion, Afrocentric feminist is trying to cast off the stereotypes in African American culture. In order to do that, everyone should have a voice and listen and respond to other voices to remain as one empowering community. Like we see today, the power to act and defeat the domination makes room for change. I also agree with Collins statement, “... individual empowerment is key, only collective action can effectively generate a lasting social transformation of political and economic institutions” (Collins, 1991, pg. 337).
In conclusion, changing the narrative, and hearing different stories instead of just white perspective can change the viewing of the world. Looking through this lens of race and oppression can help African American communities because it helps people be more understanding and empathetic and can empower the oppressed.