How black women get self defined (chapters 5 & 6)

“A Girl Like Me”


Chapters 5 & 6 (Patricia Collins)

In my opinion I feel like the statement “By insisting on self-definition, Black women question not only what has been said about African American women, but the credibility and the intentions of those possessing the power to define,” (125), this quote is basically saying that most African American women tend to question about how people define Black women and what the intentions of the critics saying or thinking about base on their color and their sex. This statement means a lot because it states how Black women are being defined based upon their color and sex not because of their physical traits or personality.A Black women is defined as outspoken and self-assertive, but in reality that’s not the case. It shouldn’t be wrong to not be able to speak your mind or express yourself emotionally.For Black women that isn’t the case they are identified to be that particular way and in which society “degrade” women. “The struggle of living two lives, one for them and one for ourselves (Gwaltney 1980,240) create a peculiar tension to construct independent self-definitions within a context where Black womanhood remains routinely derogated”(99-100). In this quote it states that Black women do then to think that they have two lives because of the way society made them think of what to think of themselves when being defined. It has always been of what other people thought of them that they can never think of a way to conclude that THEIR opinion is the only one that counts. It’s amazing how a women can’t self define herself due to what people back in time felt like identifying them. As in the book Black Feminist Thoughts by Patricia Collins, She stated that Pauli Murray said: “My own self-esteem was elusive and difficult to sustain. I was not entirely free from the prevalent idea that I must prove myself worthy of the rights that white individuals took for granted.This psychological conditioning along with fear had reduced my capacity for resistance to racial injustice”(100).

Chapters 3 & 4 (Patricia Collins) controlling images

 In chapters 3 & 4 it was discussed that many Black women still endure due to poor salary and because of their sex and color. Back in the era the color of Black women mattered a lot because they were being put into duty as either the “mammies” or even the workers out in the field with the rest of the men. It’s crucial that not only did women get treated really bad due to their skin tone but they also got harassed by White men that thought they had the power to do whatever they wanted to Black women. Nowadays sexual harassment has been handled and of course is not permitted under the law in the 50 states. There is a variety of things that are “controlling images” for example the right to vote was controlled by White colored people and wouldn’t let any colored individuals take the initiative to actually vote. Compared to today everyone has the right to vote, I believe that back in the day it was more racist and unfair,why does it have to do with what color of skin tone you are definitely NOTHING! Another controlling image Collins discussed in the book was how Black women worked as “mammies” and took care of the White women’s kids because they needed a babysitter basically like a daycare. Most of the jobs they had Black women work in was the basic jobs but since most Black women were put in White Homes to be “mammies” that those basic jobs were getting overpopulated that the women were put to work in the fields with all of the men. A lot of women had to work because of their husbands they didn’t get paid well enough so the women had to step up and work as well just like the man just to keep the household steady for food and water and everything else that they needed. 

chpts 1 & 2 (black feminists thought)

What I’ve learned from chapters 1 & 2’s chapters on Black Feminist thoughts is that the politics of Black Feminist thought oppression. As well that black women had to fight for the right to vote. Back in the day it was hard for black women to have the right to vote not only because it was hard for women to gain the right to vote but as well it was hard for black women to gain the right to vote because of their skin color. It was stated on tuesday’s class lecture that black women fought for the right to vote  and that the fair treatment by criminal justice system. A lot of people get different point of views when it comes to black  women just because of all these different negative stereotypes black women have. Before WWII Black women would work and had a inside view into the white household, like for example when Black women would go into white household and were the white folks’ nannies. Many black feminists couldn’t read nor write, but it was difficult to defined the tradition with no name. I also learned from this chapter that black women’s realities through moments.