Chapters 11 &12 Black Feminist Epistemology

In chapters 11 and 12 of Black Feminist Thought, Collins introduces her readers to “Black Feminist Epistemology and “Toward a Politics of Empowerment”. Collins makes a point that the dominant epistemology of the U.S. and much of the western world has been defined and validated by elite white men. Even if White men themselves are not controlling epistemology, the society in which they have set up runs as a controlling force, for example schools, the media and our government. So where does Black women fit in, in this equation? Black women have always been stereotyped by society as some of the controlling images we’ve discussed in previous chapters. These stereotypes have made it hard for Black women to coexist in such a society but nonetheless Black women prevail. Black women have done so by expressing themselves through music, poetry and even political positions. Black Women like Condoleezza Rice help break down some of the stereotypes society has on us by proving that there are black women who have a respected voice. She also serves as an evident depiction of an educated black woman who held a high profile political position. “Even those who think they are familiar can reproduce stereotypes.” (Collins 272). Therefore the epistemology that elite white men have put in place is challenged because black women are breaking down the stereotypes of being welfare queens, hoochie mamas and mammies. Black women are so much more than what the media depicts us. Black women feminist like Angela Davis and Maya Angelou have challenged the elite white men epistemology by being knowledgeable and using that knowledge to back up the standpoint concerning black women in theory and pop culture. I think the empowerment of black women today is very important because if we are not empowered then that leaves room for society to do what they have always done to black women which is to try taint our image even though we have constantly broken down negative stereotypical depictions. As a black woman myself I too challenge the epistemology of the U.S. because I’m becoming knowledgeable of African American history and going through my own experiences in which I express through the arts and everyday conduct with my peers.

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