8/22/2019 0 Comments
The beginning of the new academic year is a crucial time. It’s the time to write new syllabi and revise old ones, make semester plans and embrace new possibilities. Here are some easy and steps you can take to #CiteBlackWomen.
1) Read our work.
Read Black women’s scholarship. Don’t know of any? Ask and do some research. Once you’ve found Black women’s work, deepen your understanding of it and seriously engage the ideas. Black women literally publish in every areas imaginable. All you have to do is find us.
2) Integrate our work in a serious way.
Don’t just slap us onto your bibliography—critically engage us. For example, if you are teaching a class on urban landscapes, don’t just add a Black women’s book on cities to your class. Ask students to think about how Black feminist geographies change our perspectives of space. We aren’t just sources of information: we are also theorizers and innovators.
3) Acknowledge our work.
Once you’ve incorporated us into the structure of your class/bibliography, acknowledge our work. How have we uniquely changed/impacted the field? Say our names out loud. Don’t just paraphrase what we’ve taught you and pass it off as your own intervention. Like that idea, let us know who inspired it.
4) Let us speak.
Give us the space and time to speak. Assign a Black women’s work? Invite her to speak on your campus. Invite her to speak in your class (*and PAY her!). Support her by inviting her by attending her conference papers and/or talks. Make space in your daily practices to ensure that Black women’s ideas are heard. Cite us in your lectures, your talks, meetings, even casual conversations. It makes a difference.
5) Let us breathe.
Finally, let us breathe. We do a whole lot. Most of us work 3-4 shifts not just 2 (a la the 2nd shift). Don’t overwork us. Give us break. Give us the space to be quiet, write, reflect, laugh, cry, be. And don’t take it personally when we need time away.
If you do these five things you are on a path to change. Just keep them in mind and you can make real progress this semester and beyond. Good luck.
P.S. - Thoughts for Black Women
And p.s. thoughts for Black women particularly: most of us were deliberately taught NOT to value Black women’s work in graduate school. We were literally instructed to cite white men and we were/are often punished for not doing so in school and beyond. It is not easy unlearning this. It is often triggering as we have been shamed and disciplined into thinking that our own knowledge production is unworthy of citation. Be gentle with yourselves as you unlearn erasing Black women. Seek allies and sister-friends that can support you in your journey to value yourself and your fellow Black women. Take the courageous step to deconstruct your own habits and recognize this is a PROCESS not zero sum game. You can do it. And support your sisters as they go through this process as well. The last thing we need is more hate and negativity. Be kind and patient with yourself and others.