Admin note: With this month’s theme being ‘community’ I would be remiss not to mention this book. Any movement that dismisses women cannot be a real movement. -JBHarris
When I heard Mikki Kendall was writing this book, my antennae were up. I made room on my TBR list—skipping over a few of them—to get to hers. Even the title: HOOD FEMINISM: Notes From the Women that A Movement Forgot does not disappoint.
(In my Big Freida voice) Mikki did NAWT come to play with ys! Out the gate, Mikki comes out swinging! From topics ranging from ‘Solidarity Is Still For White Women’, Housing, Sexuality (Note: I highly recommend this chapter- Of #FastTailGirls And Freedom! If you have a daughter, have been a daughter, WANT A DAUGHTER, read it and re-read it!) and what it means to be an ally.
Mikki Kendall challenges what the idea is of even calling yourself a feminist! She challenges what it even means to have ever been called a feminist! Throughout the book, she dismantles the inherent racism that has fostered and fueled white feminism—the proximity to the allocation of the power White men have. In allocating this power, the assertion being that once the power is given to white women (political, social, economic) the all the rest of us will; its a trickle-down empowerment theory!
Well, Mikki Kendall shoves all the bullshit white feminism spoon feeds the nation—this idea of if we get in first, then we will let the rest of your peasants in if you wait long enough and quiet enough—smooth in the specters of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the name of Ida B. Wells Barnett, Sojourner Truth, Mary Shadd with all the righteousness Black Girl Magic can muster!
The other hard-hitting gender studies/feminism books I had read prior were When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost by Joan Morgan and is Eloquent Rage by Dr. Brittney Cooper. In Morgan’s book, she said a quote that I subscribe to which I find in Hood Feminism is: “I need a feminism that can fuck with the grays.” It is easy to call yourself a feminist, but another thing entirely to call yourself a feminist and you are a Black woman. You need a feminism that can challenge; can question; creates a solid space for you and the others who need it.
The other is by Dr. Cooper, and she says it in the introduction: “Sass is an acceptable form of rage.” What Mikki Kendall delivers in this book reminds the whole world Black women are entitled to complete personhood, along with safety, autonomy, and we aren’t going way. Mikki Kendall reminded the world, just like Ida B. Wells Barnett jumped in front of all those dainty Southern belles a century ago, letting the world know Black women won’t be erased? Mikki has reminded the world we as women–minority, queer, Black, POC, differently abled–will not be pushed aside for grace or erased for comfort.
We here, bruh. And we ain’t about to go NO WHERE!