The bluestockings team would like to share some reflections on our conceptions of feminism as it relates to endemic anti-blackness. Amidst an illumination of particular Black deaths, and with an understanding that innumerable Black people are currently undergoing a genocide that would rarely garner popular media attention, we must state our commitment to affirming the value of Black lives and Blackness in whichever ways they triumph. Black people are dying everyday. Black people face constant threats of attack, assault, trauma, and torture every day. These dangers are especially exacerbated if a Black person holds multiple marginalized identities: if they are queer, trans(*) or gender nonconforming, if they live with (dis)abilities, if they are low-income, if they exist with/beyond any combination of these and more.
As a publication that defines itself and its content within a framework of “intersectional feminism,” we must emphasize that the very notion of intersectionality was coined by scholar Kimberle Crenshaw, specifically to highlight the unique cultural position and multi-pronged oppression of Black womyn. It would be remiss for us to use such a term without continually acknowledging its origins. We understand that feminism is not a monolith, but rather that there are a multiplicity of feminisms that are defined by specific cultural, social, economic, lingual, historical, and racial contexts; however, we must underscore that all true feminisms must be rooted in a conscious and critical rejection of anti-Blackness and all its varying forms of violences. These feminisms must actively oppose the nefarious ways in which anti-Blackness is gendered, classed, and otherwise compounded by oppressive mechanisms. Black displacement, institutionally-restricted mobility and access to education, anti-Black police brutality, racialized and gendered mass incarceration, detention, deportation, sexual violences, verbal and physical (micro)aggressions, medical apartheid, exclusion from mass media and/or stereotyping images, and racialized exposure to environmental waste, harm, and hazard. These are but a few of the many manifestations of anti-Blackness that true feminisms were brought to triumphant birth in order to resist.
Each of the deaths of these trans and cis women and girls at the hands of police marks the cancellation of a universe. We must breathe their names to acknowledge their lives and their legacies and to remember that anti-Blackness propagates in these lives even while cameras stay fixed on the Black cis male subject. And to suggest that independent of media coverage, universes are being extinguished in Black communities around the world every day.
We ask that all of our readers, contributors, supporters, and haters think critically about ways to reject and actively counter quotidian anti-Blackness each and every day. Educate yourselves: read and learn about anti-Black oppression. Think about your personal networks: do they exclude Black people and other people of color? And yet more, do those personal networks actively include Black people? If you have the privilege to leave your home without fearing assault from the police because of the color of your skin, acknowledge that privilege and utilize it to stand in solidarity at demonstrations, marches, and community meetings that assert the value of Black livelihood. Dissect the ways in which your personal and professional relationships, your neighborhood composition, your consumer record, and your political ideologies may be complicit in a global anti-Black agenda. And above all else, listen to silenced but not absent voices of marginalized people. Center the voices, experiential knowledge, and narratives of Black people. Question what racialized conceptions and implicit discriminations may be informing your own opinions and those of others. “Why did you call her well-spoken?” “Why don’t you feel safe walking in this part of town?” To dismantle pervasive anti-Black sentiments, actions, and policies, to reimagine a world where the value of Black lives need not be asserted because it is a foundational tenet, we must work actively and everyday to challenge what we see, hear, and believe. To build our feminist future.
Cherise Morris and Rheem Brooks
and the bluestockings family