Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

A philosophy conference so diverse it merited a news story August 18, 2014

The Diverse Lineages of Existentialism meeting was a far cry from a typical philosophy conference. In a discipline dominated by white men, this conference hosted as many women as men and a large number of people of color along with white participants. In a discipline often characterized by its esoteric isolation from public and politics, instead there was outpouring of conversations about social justice and lived human experience. Given the recent public and professional conversations about the lack of diversity in philosophy, the Diverse Lineages of Existentialism (DLE) conference is a hopeful glance into the future of the discipline – one that is long overdue and necessary if philosophy is to continue as a viable and relevant living and growing field, both in the academy and in the public imagination.

More here.

 

Girls left out August 3, 2014

Filed under: empowering women,intersectionality,poverty,race,rape — annejjacobson @ 9:26 pm

This post follows on an earlier one about My Brother’s Keeper, Obama’s program for boys of color.

From Colorlines:

Kristie Dotson knows what it’s like to have to do her homework on the backs of cars because she doesn’t have a home to go to after school’s out. “I too have gone homeless,” Dotson said of her youth in South Central Los Angeles. Today, she’s a professor of philosophy at Michigan State University but, she said, voice shaking, “Even when you get out, there is no getting out.”

On Tuesday night Dotson, who’s African-American, and a dozen other girls and women of color testified about their experiences coming up in Los Angeles in poor, disenfranchised black and Latino neighborhoods. The event, organized by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) and UCLA School of Law’s Critical Race Studies Program, was the third of such hearings held around the country this year to lift up the experiences and struggles of girls of color. It’s also a pointed response to My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s $200 million initiative to support boys of color.

“This hearing was necessitated by the silence around girls of color that we’ve seen in the discourse around the school-to-prison pipeline and more recently in the silence in My Brother’s Keeper,” said Kimberlé Crenshaw, a professor of law at Columbia University and UCLA and a host for the evening’s proceedings. Too often, said Crenshaw, people settle for fallacies that suggest that girls and women of color suffer less than men of color do from racism. The truth, said Crenshaw, is that “girls experience some of the same things boys experience and some things boys never dream of.”

Much of the rest of the short article is about things many of us can at best half-imagine. It ends importantly with:

Single black and Latino women have a median wealth of $100 and $102, respectively, while single black and Latino men have a median wealth of $7,900 and $9,730, respectively, according to the Insight Center for Community Economic Development (PDF). Dotson is confounded that My Brother’s Keeper could ignore this reality.

“My Brother’s Keeper doesn’t want to talk about the fact that those boys of color coming off those mentor programs are going to come back to these same households supported by these women of color who are struggling,” said Dotson. “Does anyone care?”

 

Women of Colour Urge Inclusion in “My Brother’s Keeper” June 17, 2014

Filed under: gender,intersectionality,race — Jender @ 3:01 pm

Read the letter here. (Thanks, K!)

While we applaud the efforts on the part of the White House, private philanthropy, social justice organizations and others to move beyond colorblind approaches to race-specific problems, we are profoundly troubled about the exclusion of women and girls of color from this critical undertaking. The need to acknowledge the crisis facing boys should not come at the expense of addressing the stunted opportunities for girls who live in the same households, suffer in the same schools, and struggle to overcome a common history of limited opportunities caused by various forms of discrimination.

We simply cannot agree that the effects of these conditions on women and girls should pale to the point of invisibility, and are of such little significance that they warrant zero attention in the messaging, research and resourcing of this unprecedented Initiative. When we acknowledge that both our boys and girls struggle against the odds to succeed, and we dream about how, working together, we can develop transformative measures to help them realize their highest aspirations, we cannot rest easy on the notion that the girls must wait until another train comes for them. Not only is there no exceedingly persuasive reason not to include them, the price of such exclusion is too high and will hurt our communities and country for many generations to come.

 

“Dark-skinned and plus size” June 29, 2013

If you are watching the trial of Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin, you’ll probably get that the title above refers to Rachel Jeantel, with whom Martin was talking on the phone shortly before he was killed. It is from the Salon article linked to below.

I have seen her mostly on CNN, but I see many other members of the press to pick up the same theme: She is so different from white people, how can anyone side with her and her narrative? Well, at least there’s some recognition of the fact that racism is alive and well, but couldn’t they register that this is not a good thing?

Some commenters said she should have been trained to give testimony. I think that’s very close to saying that in court you have to sound like whites to be believable. On CNN Mark Garegos has been insisting that our court system is deeply affected by race. That certainly seems what most commenters believe. And there’s a lot of evidence in this trial – not to mention many others – that should frighten any supporter of a person of colour in a trial.

Back to the Salon article: Brittany Cooper tells us in Salon.com:

The thing about grammars, though, is that they rely on language, on a way of speaking and communicating, to give them power. And Rachel Jeantel has her own particular, idiosyncratic black girl idiom, a mashup of her Haitian and Dominican working-class background, her U.S. Southern upbringing, and the three languages – Hatian Kreyol (or Creole), Spanish and English — that she speaks.

The unique quality of her black vernacular speaking style became hypervisible against the backdrop of powerful white men fluently deploying corporate, proper English in ways that she could not do.  The way they spoke to her was designed not only to discredit her, but to condescend to and humiliate her. She acknowledged this show of white male power by repeatedly punctuating her responses with a curt but loaded, “Yes, Sir.”

Even more, she seemed very good at picking up on assumptions a question was carrying. “That’s real retarded, sir” was her (unfortunately abelist)comment on one.

If you look for her on youtube, avoid the comments unless you are feeling strong. I saw ones i’m hoping to forget.

Disrespecting one of zimmerman’s lawyers:

 

Constructing the Myth of the Crack Baby May 21, 2013

Filed under: disability,discrimination,gender,intersectionality,law,medicine,miosgyny,race — Stacey Goguen @ 5:12 pm

Ta Nehisi Coates has a short blurb about about the crack baby ‘epidemic’ in the early 1980s in the US.  You can also watch a ten minute video / short documentary about it here.

pic

a pregnant woman with one hand resting on her belly.

Coates mentions the influence of racism in how women were being prosecuted for being pregnant while addicted to cocaine. In fact, there’s a whole confluence of racism, classism, misogyny, and ableism that feed into the crack baby hysteria:
–the racism and classism that goes into poor WoC being more easily seen as irresponsible mothers who were recklessly endangering their unborn children
–the general misogyny that a woman’s health (like helping her with her addiction) is not nearly as important as the health of the her unborn child (so she should be prosecuted for potentially harming it.)
–the ableism that influence our standards of health.  Part of the hysteria was that babies would be born with physical and cognitive disabilities, which not only lead us to think of them as not being fully human, but we were then also concerned about all the extra money they disabled kids would cost us.  Because you know, the *tragedy* here is not that there are a bunch of women addicted to a dangerous drug, but that people’s taxes will go up from from all these costly, disabled babies.

Eek, it’s like a messed-up game of “spot how the -ism influences our moral concerns.”

 

“Hijacking feminism” April 4, 2013

Filed under: gender inequality,intersectionality,work — Stacey Goguen @ 3:29 pm

An Op-Ed by Catherine Rottenberg: “Hijacking feminism” 

“Yet the ideal for both women [Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter] remains the same – having a very successful career and a heteronormative family and being able to enjoy them both.

This, unfortunately, is how the “truly liberated” woman of the 21st century is increasingly being construed. What is particularly troubling about this feminist moment – especially since both women espouse liberal ideals – is exactly how little emphasis either Slaughter or Sandberg ultimately places on equal rights, justice or emancipation as the end goals for feminism.”

 

” Zillah Eisenstein calls this imperial and trickle-down feminism.”

 

Psychological study of intersectionality December 4, 2012

Filed under: gender,intersectionality,race,science — Jender @ 9:05 am

I’ve been frustrated by not finding many psychological studies of intersectionality. This study of the intersections of gender and race seems to be one of the first. Let’s hope there are many more to come! (Thanks, TD.)

Racial and gender stereotypes have profound consequences in almost every sector of public life, from job interviews and housing to police stops and prison terms. However, only a few studies have examined whether these different categories overlap in their stereotypes. A new study on the connections between race and gender — a phenomenon called gendered race — reveals unexpected ways in which stereotypes affect our personal and professional decisions.

 

And now for the rest of the story… November 5, 2012

Filed under: intersectionality,race — annejjacobson @ 2:37 pm

You’ve probably heard the story: mon and children trapped in a car filling with water. Mon tries to get them to safety, but a wave sweeps the little boys away. Residents nearby refuse any help, even just phoning 911.

An important fact is now reported. She is black; the neighbors white.

Police on Thursday said two brothers, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away Monday night when waves of water crashed into an SUV driven by their mother in Staten Island were found dead.

Glenda Moore left her Staten Island home with two children and was driving to a family member’s house in Brooklyn when her car became submerged underwater. She freed her two kids from their car seats but rushing waves of water swept the kids away from her arms.

“It went over their heads… She had them in her arms, and a wave came and swept them out of her arms,” the mother’s aunt told the NY Daily News.

Local Staten Island newspapers have reported the mother unsuccessfully tried to get help from neighbors but the New York Daily News is reporting another side of the story:

According to the sister, a dripping-wet Moore banged on doors looking for help in the middle of the hurricane, but couldn’t find anyone willing to help her.

“They answered the door and said, ‘I don’t know you. I’m not going to help you,’” said the sister. “My sister’s like 5-foot-3, 130 pounds. She looks like a little girl. She’s going to come to you and you’re going to slam the door in her face and say, ‘I don’t know you, I can’t help you’?’”

Moore spent the night huddled on a doorstep as the hurricane’s assault continued. At daybreak, her sister said, the desperate mother walked until she found a police car and related her heart-breaking story…

 

“I don’t date … “ October 21, 2012

Filed under: bias,intersectionality,race,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 2:50 pm

Is it racist when a white woman declares, when asked out on a date, that she will only date white men?

The actual story in which “I don’t date African Americans” was situated is a bit complicated. She, a white women, took her boss, an African American, to court on sexual harassment charges. During the hearings, he commented that she had said to him that she did not date African Americans, and he maintained that that was racist.

No one in the group I was with thought it was a racist comment. I, however, was uncomfortable and unsure. It is too likely that bias played some role, but I think now that the issue of whom one will feel attracted to is so complicated that it is difficult to decide what to think.

What do you think?

 

What Is the Current State of Feminism’s PR? October 9, 2012

Filed under: class,comedy,internet,intersectionality,race,technology,trans issues — Stacey Goguen @ 4:51 am

I hope everyone had a very nice Let’s-Glorify-Imperialism Day.

I came across this screen shot on failbook (which surprising takes quite a few shots at oppressive cultural patterns) and at first I had myself a mighty wince over seeing all the hackneyed stereotypes of feminism get thrown around.  But then I found the article that the screen shot comes from, and that adds a whole new context: the #sorryfeminists hashtag was created by feminists.  To mock these stereotypes. (here’s the article on Slate):

One of the most frustrating parts of being a feminist is how negative stereotypes created to discredit feminism are now pretty much conventional wisdom. Like the population at large, actual feminists can be funny and sexy, despite our bad rap as sexless and dour. It’s like living in Oz but repeatedly being told you’re in Kansas. That frustration boiled over this morning when Deborah Needleman, the editor of T Magazine (and the stylish wife of Slate‘s own Jacob Weisberg), put up this joking tweet suggesting that feminists dislike women being sexy:

At this point, stereotypes of feminists are mocked so thoroughly that it’s impossible to determine if someone who invokes one is trying to reinforce it, making fun of it, or playing up the ambiguity so that you get a little from both camps. Anna Holmes, the founder of Jezebel, and Irin Carmon of Salon (full disclosure: real-life friends of mine who are, may I say, ridiculously sexy ladies) decided to respond in a way that the Internet does best: embracing the confusion by creating the hashtag #sorryfeminists on Twitter.

It worked. The #sorryfeminists meme is, as I type, expertly tearing apart the idea that feminists hate fun, hate sex, and hate beauty. (It’s also, like any other Twitter meme, devolving into layers of irony and meta-jokes that pretty much stop making sense altogether.

So it seems like there are both people using the #sorryfeminists hashtag to make fun of stereotypes and makes fun of feminists.

Okay and now there’s yet another level.  If you actually look on twitter (#sorryfeminists) there’s a lot of people using this hastag to critique the white-washing and middle-class-centrism of feminism and its public face.   For instance:

#sorryfeminists is fun/funny to people who can afford to be that stereotype, or who have the knowledge to refute that stereotype.

Cutesy side of 2nd wave. What #sorryfeminists is NOT addressing? Those OTHER labels: at worst oppressive/racist, at best willfully blind.

You gotta stop this echo chamber of white feminists who are given book deals to recycle the same tired ideas. #sorryfeminists I’m not sorry.

If I was introduced to white feminism 1st I would’ve NEVER been a feminist. Thank goodness for Black/brown feminist scholars

Feminism has a double PR problem. It still hasn’t shaken some of these ridiculous stereotypes but it also all too often puts forward white middle class women and issues that are particularly (or only) pertinent to white middle class women–so they become interpreted as “the” issues of feminism.
(I sometimes catch myself doing this still: abortion is not the only issue for women’s reproductive rights and health; balancing work and family is not a “new” issue for lots of families;  fighting to gain respect for not changing your last name has little resonance for people whose marriage isn’t recognized as legitimate no matter what they do with their name, etc.)

So in the name of helping improve feminism’s PR, I’m giving a shout out to some of my favorite blogs that join in the dismantling of anti-woman oppression and that address issues that aren’t often given the spotlight:

Because We’re Still Oppressed

Angry Black Bitch

Womanist Musings

Geek Feminism

fbomb

Racialiscious

The Jaded Hippy

 

 
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