Thus, one important issue facing Black women intellectuals is the question of what constitutes adequate justification that a given knowledge claim, such as a fact or theory, is true. But without formal education and being an ethnic minority, finding conventional work is problematic, if not impossible. Additionally, police refuse to take male sex workers seriously, leaving them even more vulnerable to exploitation. Historically black women have never been able to split the spheres of their public and private lives because starting during slavery they have had a history of their privacy being violated. By emphasizing the power of self-definition and the necessityof a free mind, Black feminist thought speaks to the importanceAfrican-American women thinkers place on consciousness as a sphere offreedom.
How the Oppressed Can Also Be the Oppressor
One must beeither Black or white in such thought systems--persons of ambiguousracial and ethnic identity constantly battle with questions such as"what are your, anyway? So, while I am oppressed in certain ways, my identity is invested and perhaps even socially constructed, in relation to the systems which oppress people of colour, disabled people and working-class people, because I am benefitting from those systems of oppression in various ways. Other people ofcolor, Jews, the poor white women, and gays and lesbians have all hadsimilar ideological justifications offered for their subordination. I find it highly problematic that black feminism is not more prevalent or recognized in the popular, modern Western feminist movements. Black feminists have had a long history of resisting the power the matrix of domination creates against them. Whether one is a manager of a fast food restaurant or the CEO of a Fortune company, authority is power and power is advantage. By embracing a paradigm ofrace, class, and gender as interlocking systems of oppression, Blackfeminist thought reconceptualizes the social relations of dommationand resistance.
A Feminist De/Reconstruction / Intersectionality: Matrix of Domination
Approaches that assume that race, gender, and class areinterconnected have immediate practical applications. Here she is arguing that the academy often espouses what is assumed to be fact or truth and ignores the possibility that all knowledge is situated within a lived experience of privilege and oppression. Viewing theworld as one in the making raises the issue of individualresponsibility for bringing about change. But because gender cross-cuts these structures, itfinds fewer comparable institutional bases to foster resistance. Resistance to change is common amongst oppressed individuals and groups because of the complex intersections of identity politics. Why do women think they are just as horny as men?
Traditionally conceptualized as a relationship of individual employees to their employers, social class might bebetter viewed as a relationship of communities to capitalistpolitical economies. Her second book, Race, Class, and Gender: Domination operates by seducing, pressuring, or forcingAfrican-American women and members of subordinated groups to replaceindividual and cultural ways of knowing with the dominant group'sspecialized thought. First, Black feminist thought fosters a fundamental paradigmaticshift in how we think about oppression. Alternative epistemologies are any ways of knowing that run counter to and challenge dominant ideas and assumptions about knowledge. The rise of identity politics, such as feminism and the LGBT movement are rooted in marginalized groups fighting back against identity-based oppression and domination. Thus, one important issue facing Black women intellectuals is the question of what constitutes adequate justification that a given knowledge claim, such as a fact or theory, is true.
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