SURYIA NAYAK

DEMYSTIFYING CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING

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’!

About Suryia: Suryia is Black feminist activist, trade unionist, psychoanalytic therapist, and Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Salford UK. For over 35 years Suryia has worked tirelessly for social justice in ending violence against women and girls, primarily within the Rape Crisis Movement. Suryia has set up services dedicated to BAMER women and girls. Suryia applies models of education as liberation and Black feminism to raise consciousness about the impact of oppressive social constructions.  

Recent publications include:

(2017) 'Borders as method' in Qualitative Research

(2015) ‘The activism of Black Feminist Theory: Race, Gender and Social Change’.

Find out more:
Lorde, A. (1984) Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg: The Crossing Press.


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