It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the '70s feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Now a new generation of brilliant, outspoken women of color is speaking to the concerns of a new feminism, and to their place in it.
Daisy Hernandez of Ms. Magazine and poet Bushra Rehman have collected a diverse, lively group of emerging writers who speak to their experience - to the strength and rigidity of community and religion, to borders and divisions, both internal and external - and address issues that take feminism into the twenty-first century.
Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism
by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman
Softcover: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781580050678, 1580050670
Ms. Magazine columnist Hernandez and former Muslim poet Rehman, both feminist activists, have assembled a broad collection of essays by young women writers, academics, and activists from a range of cultures and sexual orientations. A few essays have a very specialized focus, describing such experiences as a Chicana with HIV and a Native American woman participating in the typically male War Dance ceremony. More often the contributors look more generally at their lives and families and consider how these experiences have influenced their understanding of feminism. Several writers critique "white, middle class feminism" for failing to take into account the impact of classism and racism on women of color. One essay discusses the impact of gentrification on poor, single mothers; another tells of the author's immigrant mother turning to sex work to support her daughters. Cultural and religious customs are discussed by a Nigerian woman who comes to the United States for college and by an Indian American woman who is expected to pursue an arranged marriage. These are very personal, interesting, and readable essays. - Library Journal Review
One writer describes herself as a "mixed brown girl, Sri-Lankan and New England mill-town white trash," and clearly delineates the organizing differences between whites and women of color: "We do not kick ass the way the white girls do, in meetings of NOW or riot grrl. For us, it's all about family."
A Korean-American woman struggles to create her own identity in a traditional community: "Yam-ja-neh means nice, sweet, compliant. I've heard it used many times by my parents' friends who don't know shit about me."
An Arab-American feminist deconstructs the "quaint vision" of Middle-Eastern women with which most Americans feel comfortable.
This impressive array of first-person accounts adds a much-needed fresh dimension to the ongoing dialogue between race and gender, and gives voice to the women who are creating and shaping the feminism of the future.
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