When I started reading books on combating racism and injustice, I wasn’t sure how to go about reviewing them. It wasn’t my place as a white woman to deem them “good” or “correct”. I’ve since decided it is better to urge my audience to read these books for themselves rather than to ignore their important messages. I also want to take a moment to step aside and let these books speak for themselves. So here are 32 of my favorite quotes from Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism.
1. “We rarely talk about basic needs as a feminist issue. Food insecurity and access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues.” p. xiii
2. “It is past time to make the conversation a nuanced, inclusive, and intersectional one that reflects the concerns of all women, not just a privileged few.” p. 1
3. “Yet, since its inception, mainstream feminism has been insisting that some women have to wait longer for equality, that once one group (usually white women) achieves equality then that opens the way for all other women. . . . white feminism tends to forget that a movement that claims to be for all women has to engage with the obstacles women who are not white face.” p. 2
4. It’s not at all helpful for some white feminists to make demands of women of color out of a one-sided idea of sisterhood and call that solidarity. Sisterhood is a mutual relationship between equals.” pp. 6-7
5. “When feminist rhetoric is tooted in biases like racism, ableism, transmisogyny, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, it automatically works against marginalized women and against any concept of solidarity. . . . Whether it’s an argument that women who wear the hijab must be “saved” from it, or reproductive-justice arguments that paint having a disabled baby as the worst possible outcome, the reality is that feminism can be marginalizing. If a liberation movement’s own representatives are engaging with each other oppressively, then what progress can the movement make without fixing that internal problem?” p. 7
6. “White privilege knows no gender.” p. 9
7. “You may think that gun violence is a distant problem, nothing to do with you, but if you pause, if you look around, if you look outside the bubble that privilege has created where you don’t have to worry about gun violence on a regular basis, you’ll see that it’s a public epidemic that we ignore. Every state, every city, and every income level has been impacted by gun violence.” pp. 16-17
8. “Poverty can mean turning to everything from sex work to selling drugs in order to survive, because you can’t “lean in” when you can’t earn a legal living wage and you still need to feed yourself and those who depend on you. . . . a choice between starvation and crime isn’t a choice.” pp. 36-37
9. “Fight against hunger as hard as you fight for abortion rights or equal pay. Understand that this isn’t a problem that can be addressed later.” p. 37
10. “Any system that makes basic human rights contingent on a narrow standard of behavior pits potential victims against each other and only benefits those who would prey on them.” p. 60
11. “We must remember that every victim of sexual violence does not deserve it, did not invite it, and is not responsible for the culture that would blame the victim instead of the perpetrators.” p. 66
12. “. . . the partiarchy at large teaches the world to ignore marginalized women, who often have the most scathing critiques and the most cogent analysis of reality.” p. 80
13. “Despite white feminist narratives to the contrary, there is no absence of feminism inside Islam, the Black church, or any other community. The women inside those communities are doing the hard and necessary work; they don’t need white saviors, and they don’t need to structure their feminism to look like anyone else’s.” p. 83-84
14. “Respectability requires a form of restrained, emotionally neutral politeness that is completely at odds with any concept of normal human emotions.” p. 93
15. “As feminists we need to take critical, radical measures in listening to women in the poorest communities about what they want and need instead of projecting narratives of ignorance onto them. . . . We have to be ready to listen to the girls and women who are still there, and not just the ones who were able to get out.” pp. 94-96
16. “Girls in marginalized communities have all of the same mental and emotional health issues as girls in wealthier communities, but they are less likely to have the resources or the language to address them.” p. 114
17. “We expect marginalized voices to ring out no matter what obstacles they face, and then we penalize them for not saying the right thing in the right way.” p. 134
18. “Too often white women decide that when they feel uncomfortable, upset, or threatened, they can turn to the patriarchy for protection. Because they don’t want to lose that protection (dubious as it is), they stand by it when it’s convenient, and challenge it only when it directly threatens them. Yet, they know they benefit from it being challenged, and thus rely on others to do the heaviest lifting. They fail to recognize that the conflicted relationship they have with the patriarchy includes a certain cowardice around challenging not only it, but other women who have embraced it.” p. 166
19. “Feminism that comes from a place of fear, that prioritizes not being afraid or not being uncomfortable over being effective, is dangerous. . . . The fear of alienating other white women by refusing to challenge them or deny them support as a consequence for their racism is fundamentally damaging to any concept of feminism as a place that can create safety for all.” p. 168
20. “. . . it’s clear that white Trump voters were largely driven by racial resentment, regardless of their gender. But what was most damning was how many white women who had benefited from the advances of feminism and affirmative action rushed to help undermine the same policies that gave them power and freedom.” p. 178
21. “Despite the expectation that Black or Latinx or Asian voters be treated as a monolith, no one really expects white women to vote as a unified bloc. This is especially obvious after all the elections that prove giving white women the right to vote has, in fact, worked to preserve wide swaths of white privilege. Why? Because white supremacist women have always existed and feel no allegiance to anything but racism.” p. 180
22. “The fact is that the harm-reducing votes of marginalized people will never be enough to outweigh the stupidity of white people who vote for racism at their own expense. Empathy isn’t something that we can expect to teach to adults . . .” p. 183
23. “Those most at risk of losing their right to vote are those for whom voting is the only access they have to any semblance of political power.” p. 185
24. “Challenging the internalized biases that allow the majority white female staff to feel comfortable utilizing police as a weapon against minors in lieu of actual classroom control is necessary to end the school-to-prison pipeline.” p. 203
25. “The fact that the right to have an abortion is seen as innately feminist is accurate. But what gets obscured is that consistent access to quality health care is something everyone needs at every stage of their life.” p. 219
26. “It is important for reproductive rights and reproductive justice frameworks to recognize that the choice to carry to term or to abort is heavily influenced by class, race, and other obstacles created by marginalization.” p. 229
27. “How do you discuss over-policing and discrimination as a feminist issue when women who fit the mainstream idea of feminism are most likely to be complicit in a particular form of oppression?” p. 243
28. “It is never the privileged outsider who gets to decide when they’re a good ally. Especially not if they want to use their status as an ally to excuse whatever they have done that has offended someone in the group they claim to be supporting.” p. 250
29. “Politeness as filtered through fragility and supremacy isn’t about manners; it’s about a methodology of controlling the conversation.” p. 254
30. “[Accomplices] would know they do not need to have the same stake in the fight to work with marginalized communities. They would put aside their egos and their need to be centered in our struggles in favor of following our instructions, because they would internalize the reality that their privilege doesn’t make them experts on our oppression.” pp. 257-258
31. “Accomplices do not just talk about bigotry; they do something about it. Accomplice feminists not only address the dangers of the normalization of extreme white supremacist views, they interrogate and challenge the cultural standards that underpin those views. They don’t just stand on the sidelines watching while marginalized people are brutalized for protesting, they stand between the white supremacist systems (which are less likely to harm them) and those that the systems are trying to harm.” p. 258
32. “Marginalized communities have already developed strategies and solutions as they do their own internal work. Now mainstream feminism has to step up, has to get itself to a place where it spends more time offering resources and less time demanding validation. Being an accomplice means that white feminism will devote its platforms and resources to supporting those in marginalized communities doing feminist work.” p. 258
5 thoughts on “32 Imperative Hood Feminism Quotes”
I really need to get to this one, it sounds exceptional.
It REALLY is!! It’s tough though but worth it!
I wasn’t out to combat anything specifically when I began reading black authors. I had come to the understanding that white people are not qualified to tell Blacks and other minorities what they need or want.
I did not save the news item, I bet it could be found, of a commentator asking of the protestors following George Floyd’s murder, “What more do these people want?”
“What more,” as though there had been any effort to answer the many questions around the subject of cops killing unarmed black people. And then, “these people.”
“Those people.” There is just something about that way of addressing any group of people that is disrespectful and dismissive, as though that particular group has no standing to be questioning the authorities. What the hell is it with white people? James Baldwin explained it as the white man hiding behind the lie he has perpetrated for 419 years.
I know, I have not addressed anything specific to feminism in the hood. or anywhere else. I am a privileged, white male. I am disqualified from questioning anyone’s actions in that area. But, everything applies equally across the board. The same bigotry that allows men to be attacked because of their skin color, is the same bigotry that says women are not qualified to make choices concerning their own body or how they live their lives.
It is a difficult thing to pull first-century thinking into the twenty-first-century reality. It can be done, and it must be done, but there will be a lot of breakages.
Rights are not bestowed, not even by kings. Rights are asserted, not given. Rights come from human nature, not divine nature. Most of all, natural law is a product of “liberal and expanded thought,” not of divine revelation.
Seidel, Andrew L. The Founding Myth (p. 77).
If you want to read another book on Intersectional Feminism I can suggest Feminism Interrupted by Lola Olufemi. It is absolutely brilliant! I personally really loved it :)!!
Thank you!! I’ll add it to my list