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African American women and men share their stories of how feminism has influenced their daily lives.
How might ordinary people apply feminist principles to everyday situations? How do feminist ideas affect the daily behaviors and decisions of those who seek to live out the basic idea that women are as fully human as men? This collection of essays uses concrete examples to illuminate the ways in which African Americans practice feminism on a day-to-day basis. Demonstrating real-life situations of feminism in action, each essay tackles an issue—such as personal finances, parenting, sexual harassment, reproductive freedom, incest, depression and addiction, or romantic relationships—and articulates a feminist approach to engaging with the problem or concern. Contributors include African American scholars, artists, activists, and business professionals who offer personal accounts of how they encountered feminist ideas and are using them now as a guide to living. The essays reveal how feminist principles affect people’s perceptions of their ability to change themselves and society, because the personal is not always self-evidently political.
“If … you seek a book that will touch you on a personal level, that will provoke you to examine your own perspective, and that will likely stimulate new research questions, pick up a copy of White’s book. You will be introduced to a group of people who don’t have to think about begin feminist; they simply live it every day.” — PsycCRITIQUES This collection of first-person narratives provides much-needed examples of the concrete ways in which contemporary African Americans, both women and men, live by feminist principles, not just as beliefs or theories but by their actions in concrete situations. It contributes to the continued development of feminist theory in practice, grounding it in the diverse experiences of self-identified African American feminists.” — SirReadaLot.org
“The topic of thinking about feminism and feminist theory as functional is very important: students often want to know more about how they can put feminist thinking and politics into action. Having concrete, lived examples of how various people have done so is a real contribution to the field.” — Vivian M. May, author of Anna Julia Cooper, Visionary Black Feminist: A Critical Introduction
Aaronette M.White is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is the author of Ain’t I a Feminist? African American Men Speak Out on Fatherhood, Friendship, Forgiveness, and Freedom, also published by SUNY Press.
Table of Contents
Introduction: African American Feminist Practices Aaronette M. White
Part I: Family Values
1. Mother Work: A Stay-at-Home Mom Advocates for Breastfeeding Angela M. W. Thanyachareon
2. Bringing Up Daddy: A Black Feminist Fatherhood Mark Anthony Neal
3. Tubes Tied, Child-Free by Choice Aaronette M. White
Part II: Community Building
4. ¡Ola, Hermano! A Black Latino Feminist Organizes Men Omar Freilla
5. “Sister Outsiders”: How the Students and I Came Out Mary Anne Adams
6. Feminist Compassion: A Gay Man Loving Black Women Todd C. Shaw
7. Gay, Gray, and a Place to Stay: Living It Up and Out in an RV Aaronette M. White and Vera C. Martin
Part III: Romantic Partnerships
8. The Second Time Around: Marriage, Black Feminist Style Pearl Cleage
9. “Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone”: Why the Feminist I Loved Left Me William Dotson
10. When the Hand That Slaps Is Female: Fighting Addiction Dorothy M.
Part IV: Healing Practices
11. Resistance as Recovery: Winning a Sexual Harassment Complaint Carolyn M. West
12. Learning to Love the Little Black Boy in Me: Breaking Family Silences, Ending Shame Gary L. Lemons
13. I Took Back My Dignity: Surviving and Thriving after Incest Carolyn E. Gross
14. Diving Deep and Surfacing: How I Healed from Depression Vanessa Jackson
Part V: Career Dilemmas
15. Mary, Don’t You Weep: A Feminist Nun’s Vocation Sister Sojourner Truth
16. Becoming an Entrepreneur Deloise (Dee) A. Frisque
17. Light on a Dark Path: Self-Discovery among White Women Marian Cannon Dornell
18. The Accidental Advocate: Life Coaching as a Feminist Vocation Anitra L. Nevels