The fact of the matter is, we wouldn’t have any feminism worth thinking about or writing about without the work of feminists of color. They have pushed feminism to be better and do better since the beginning. However, these feminists often are not afforded the credit they deserve for creating feminist spaces and demanding change within them. During the Suffrage Movement it was Sojourner Truth’s speech, “Ain’t I a Woman,” at the Women’s Rights Convention, Akron, Ohio, in 1851 that demanded we recognize the voices and perspectives of all women. The work that Black women, lesbians and working class women did to push the mainstream white middle class feminism of the 1970s to speak across race, class, and sexuality made feminism stronger. Feminists of color in the 1970s writing in anthologies like This Bridge Called My Back, Home Girls, and But Some of Us Are Brave started building a third wave of feminism before the 1990s gave us the Third Wave. And it was a young Black woman named Rebecca Walker who first proclaimed “we are the third wave.” In short, it has always been the voices of feminists of color that pushed feminist movements to realize the radical notion that all womxn are people. In this issue, we are looking for scholarly complications to the discourse around white feminism that historically approach the idea: Feminism has never really been white.
This contemporary moment, perhaps more than any other has shown us the relevance and importance of race, feminism and rhetoric. The current global pandemic has put a spotlight on institutionalized inequities around race, class and gender. The on-going protests and unrest around police brutality and murders have forced us to come to terms with the meaning of solidarity and coalition in the struggle. Extreme nationalism has ripped children from the arms of their parents and placed them in cages going against every fiber of the founding lies of the United States. The recent election and the fact that yet again over 50% of the white women who voted cast their vote for Donald Trump has made clear that assumed alliances around gender are not to be taken for granted when we add race to the mix. Now more than ever we need to be in nuanced and critical conversations on race, feminism, and rhetoric.
From Fair Fight Now to the Black Lives Matter Movement, Black women have been the driving force behind the change we need in America today. In the wake of the 2020 US elections, we need to have more conversations about how feminists of color combat the normalization of the refusal to transfer power, concede losses, and acknowledge the truth. Like we saw with the Women’s March controversy, we can not continue to tolerate feminists of color being pushed to the margins in the spaces we created. This bridge can no longer be our backs. As “The Squad” on Capitol Hill grows to include even more women of color voices, we need to make space for complex conversations around what diversity and equality really means while continuing to hold our leadership accountable to the progress we have made. Now is not the time for half-measures, talking points for views, and conservative approaches. We need to center the voices of feminists of color who are doing the work to ensure our feminist futures. We hope that the essays in this special issue will help shed light on all the important and nuanced ways that race, feminism and rhetoric intersect across time, in this moment, and around the world.
The editors invite articles, manifestos, and alternative works that consider, but are not limited to, the following questions and topics:
- Rethinking Intersectionality Rhetorically
- Global Feminisms (Transnational Feminism, Afrodiasporic and African Feminisms, IndigenousFeminism, Latinx Feminisms, Arab Feminisms)
- Histories of Women of Color Feminisms
- Models of political activism, like “The Squad”
- Allies, Coalitions, Solidarity in the Struggle
- Interrogating whiteness through gender and class
- Black Lives Matter/Say Her Name
- Rhetorical histories and the legacies of raced and gendered rhetoric
- Anti-Racist Feminisms
- Complicating conversations around human rights (women’s rights, trans womxn’s rights, immigrant rights)
- The Phyllis Schlafly Effect and Why We Never Expect that 50% of White Women Will Act Against Solidarity
- Re-examinations of Civil Rights
- Marches and Uprisings
- Feminist Pasts/Feminist Futures
- Racing Digital Feminisms
- Race and Inequities in Medicine
- Race, Ability, and Disability
- Black women theorizing and giving us the language to name our oppression (from intersectionality to misogynoir and beyond)
- Race and Transgender Rhetorics
Submission Details & Timeline
Please send completed articles, manifestos, and book reviews. We are also open to accepting alternative formats such as digital, audio, and visual compositions. All submissions should be emailed to both editors, Gwendolyn D. Pough <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Stephanie Jones <email@example.com>, by January 30, 2021. Peer review will occur during the winter of 2021, Revisions will be due in the spring of 2021, and the anticipated publication date will be summer of 2021.