INTRODUCTION TO CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING
“black feminism [raising consciousness] is not white feminism [raising consciousness] in black face” (Lorde 1979: 60)
Open/welcoming to women who because of their skin colour and racial heritage are subject to racism, including those who identify as Black, Asian and women of colour.
I owe my life to the power of Black feminist raising consciousness. I am interested in how
raising consciences works across our differences as women. The Black feminist lesbian activist, Audre Lorde cautions that, “in a patriarchal power system where whiteskin privilege is a major prop, the entrapments used to neutralize Black and white women are not the same” (Lorde 1980 p118). I ask, ‘what are the implications of this for Black women’s raising consciousness?’ In my refusal of the ‘historical amnesia that keeps us working to invent the wheel every time we have to go to the store for bread’ (Lorde,) - I invite us to think, together, about questions of Black feminist consciousness raising through the Black feminist wisdom prism of Black women such as June Jordan, Angela Davies, Gloria Anzaldúa, The Combahee River Collective and Toni Morrison. For example, June Jordan might respond to the questions raised with her ‘Poem About My rights’!
Developed by feminists in the 1970's Women's Liberation Movement, CR is the way many women have worked from the truth of our own lives and experiences to political theory and collective action. 'The personal is political' sums this up and proved a radical challenge to mainstream political movements who began with (and often went no further than) the writings of male theorists. Dynamic and based on the value of each woman's experience and the importance of recognising our different perspectives as well as the things we all share, it has been known to change lives and build movements.
This year FiLiA is running several workshops for women only.