Claire Vaye Watkins wrote a powerful meditation on pandering, privilege, and the patriarchy for Tin House: “If you like my book I’m grateful. But I remind you that people at the periphery will travel to accept and even love things not made for or toward them: we have been trained to do so our entire lives. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of their readerly response, only to confess to what went on in my mind when I made the book, to assemble an honest inventory of people I have not been writing toward (though I thought I was): women, young women, people of color, the rural poor, the American West, my dead mother.”
Like many of you, this week we at WEIRD SISTER have found it difficult to think about much else besides the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and the many protests that erupted in response. So, we’re devoting this week’s Rah! Rah! Roundup to links to resources for anti-racist feminists and allies. As a white feminist, I’m compiling these resources in the spirit of the anti-racist philosophy that it is the job of white people, not people of color, to educate white people about racism. Please feel free to share additional resources in the comments!
Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (book by bell hooks)
A great place to start. In her usual highly accessible, conceptually complex prose, hooks organizes her chapters around specific topics (e.g., “Feminist Class Struggle,” “Women at Work,” “Ending Violence”) that usually take up intersectional issues in feminism. The book is available as a free PDF here, and from South End Press here. (For the record, it is the opinion of the WEIRD SISTER editors that bell hooks deserves your money!) There’s another e-option, too: the book was originally published in 2000, but the Kindle edition from Routledge was just released in October 2014.
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (book by Audre Lorde)
Many of the essays from the transformative Sister Outsider speak to the need to use difference–and the feelings of guilt, fear, and anger linked to difference–in order to fight racism and sexism through activist work and in our everyday lives. When we read Sister Outsider for a feminist book club that included several WEIRD SISTER contributors, many of us felt dismayed by the fact that we had never been assigned to read it in our undergraduate English and creative writing MFA programs. Let’s make sure this book gets shared and taught and talked about for a very long time. You can start with these excerpts available online:
“Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” | “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” | “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” | “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” | “Poetry is Not a Luxury”