African Americans Doing Feminism

Putting Theory into Everyday Practice

Edited by Aaronette M. White

Subjects: African American Studies, Feminist, Women's Studies
Paperback : 9781438431420, 313 pages, May 2010
Hardcover : 9781438431413, 313 pages, May 2010

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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

List of Contributors

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 accunts of how they encountered feminist ideas and are using them now as a guide to living. The essays included 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.

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.


"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." —

"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