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).


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