This landmark anthology offers gripping portraits of American life as seen through the eyes of young women of color It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Since then, key social movements have risen, including Black Lives Matter, the transgender movement, and the activism of young undocumented students. Social media has also changed how feminism looks for young women of color, generating connections and access to audiences in all corners of the country. But we remain a country divided by race and gender. Now, a new generation of outspoken women of color offer a much-needed fresh dimension to the shape of feminism of the future. In Colonize This!, Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman have collected a diverse, lively group of emerging writers who speak to the strength of community and the influence of color, to borders and divisions, and to the critical issues that need to be addressed to finally reach an era of racial freedom. With prescient and intimate writing, Colonize This! will reach the hearts and minds of readers who care about the experience of being a woman of color, and about establishing a culture that fosters freedom and agency for women of all colors.
The many essays included in this anthology cover a wide sweep of issues that face women of color in the US. Each one has the moment the writer found or came to feminism, the realization that it wasn't quite directed at her issues, and then finding or founding a feminism that is. They mention many more women of color who inspired them, which has given me so many more women and feminist commentary to read, as if I didn't have enough. The fact is that this is a movement that many, many people are involved in, participate to shape and critique, and love to talk about. Some are for it, some against it, but there is a lot of work to be done when talking about half the population of the planet. That's where some of the unifying problems come in, right?
How do we choose between intersections? We don't, but those with fewer issues to fight can fight more efficiently at those issues than those of us with many issues to fight and many layers to fight them on. It complicates things and complicating things are harder to fight for because they are harder to explain, but explaining many of them is exactly what these essays do. They can't possible be all-encompassing, but they definitely crack the surface on issues that have become more prevalently discussed in feminist circles since this book was written, I think.
I came to the world and language of feminism in only the last few years, so I can't really say how much was around then. On the other hand, I can say that intersectionality and issues that pertain to women of color are talked about more than they mention in their essays. I came to it fairly quickly once I started reading and blogging about feminism. The issues of white women do still take prominence in media and the general perception of who a feminist is, but there are deliberate efforts that I see being made to be more inclusive that doesn't sound like was a thing in 2002 or before it. The Women's March had several women of color as speakers, the Read Harder challenge has had specific tasks for women or people of color, I've seen articles calling out successful white women talking about feminism but not specifically mentioning the ways their platform addresses those things that hinder women of color.
It's a great commentary on the state of feminism for it's time and those women who fought to be included and laid the foundation for women of color to be more prominent in the feminist movement. As the book comes closer its twentieth anniversary, I hope to find a more updated version or a book for this era that lays things out similarly. What have we done to correct the situation, where are we going with what we have now, what do we hope for future waves to accomplish, all that. While there is still more vision than reality of an intersectional feminism, we are definitely closer to it than we were in 2002.
Regardless, this is a great book to put in a starter set for feminists to understand the intersections that women face as it discusses women who came from many cultures, traditions, heritages, races, and classes. It's probably gonna be one of my occasional rereads too, since I did buy it from Amazon a while back.