This is an intersectional space to identify, contend, and discuss the claims made in the critical race & gender sphere, through a direct textual analysis of people of colour theorists.
Through reading Decolonial Feminist Discourses, particularly for this endevour, which will consist of only people of colour theorists, we can engage in liberation struggles outside of the flaws prevalent within Western Feminism, providing us the praxis to create inclusive, intersectional, and transnational spaces. While we have covered in depth topics discussed within the feminist and critical race sphere, including different theories that have emerged from it, it is also empirical that we examine direct arguments and claims put forward by different theorists.
The aim here is to expand our understanding of feminism, by engaging in direct textual and visual analysis, to then include important philosophical claims and questions that inevitably arise. Including, but not limited to, how do we achieve liberation? What is then a free society? What is freedom? Can we even achieve this freedom?
If you are a bit hesitant to engage, I do understand, truly. However, I want to make this exponentially clear: this is a platform of reading for every skill level. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read even a single quote from a critical theorist, we begin from the roots and work our way up. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are advanced in your knowledge of feminist and race theory, these readings may be ones that you have encountered. If so, I urge you to engage in critical debate and discussion through the different intermediary spaces, where you feel like you can share your insight.
Alternatively, you can re-read these books, and re-orient yourself with their contentions. There will be a more advanced reading discussion, after this one. So, I think it is important we allow everyone the praxis to level the playing field, before engaging in intermediate discussion.
On this note, who is this not for? This is not for anyone who does not want to confront their own prejudices and biases. These reads are not easy, especially because we all hold our own stereotypes before engaging in them. It is okay to not know everything, none of us do. But, it is not okay, to not be willing to confront those assumptions you carry. If you are not comfortable with getting uncomfortable, I don’t think you would very much enjoy these reads.
Why Is This A People Of Colour Space?
For those of you still hesitant, I really do understand. Here’s a little taste of the type of readings we endevour to dissect and understand, and I also think it is a good precursor to further readings, which will consist of only people of colour. Also, serving as a brilliant explanation for why this is a people of colour space.
“Work by women of color and marginalized groups of white women (for example, lesbians, sex radicals), especially if written in a manner that renders it accessible to a broad reading public, even if that work enables and promotes feminist practice, is often de-legitimized in academic settings.
Though such work is often appropriated by the very individuals setting restrictive critical standards, it is this work that they most often claim is not really theory or is not theoretical enough. Clearly, one of the uses these individuals make of theory is instrumental. They use it to set up unnecessary and competing hierarchies of thought which reinscribe the politics of domination by designating some work inferior, superior, more or less worthy of attention. In her essay, King emphasizes that “theory finds different uses in different locations.” It is evident that one of the many uses of theory in academic locations is in the production of an intellectual class hierarchy where the only work deemed truly theoretical is work that is highly abstract, jargonistic, difficult to read, and containing obscure references that may not be at all clear or explained.
Literary critic Mary Childers declares that it is highly ironic that “a certain kind of theoretical performance which only a small cadre of people can possibly understand” has come to be seen as representative of any production of critical thought that will be given recognition within many academic circles as “theory.” It is especially ironic when this is the case with feminist theory. And, it is easy to imagine different locations, spaces outside academic exchange where such theory would not only be seen as useless, but would be seen as politically nonprogressive, as a kind of narcissistic self indulgent practice that most seeks to create a gap between theory and practice so as to perpetuate class elitism.
There are so many settings in this country where the written word has only slight visual meaning, where individuals who cannot read or write can find no use for a published theory however lucid or opaque. Hence, any theory that cannot be shared in everyday conversation cannot be used to educate the public.” – bell hooks, Feminism is for Everbody
What Is The Point Of Doing So?
By making this knowledge accessible, and also inclusive, we create new grounds and platforms from which we can unlearn our oppressive behaviors. I hope that by engaging in these decolonial discourses, you begin to imagine the ways in which we can reconcile pure theory into forms of practice and implementation. It may be scary, it may even be hard to confront our own prejudices. We feel we are not smart enough, good enough, critical enough to understand and analyze these discourses. I hope from these readings you will do that you realize that these theories are not outside of yourself.
You have all the capabilities to analyze this theory, and I make it my mission to provide you with critical, but digestible reads that enable you the praxis to confront how critical thought is inherent in your day to day life, and how you can expand that discourse towards your communities, and towards communities globally. Let’s learn how to stand in solidarity with one another. To stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.