Editors: Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa
Genre: Feminism/Social Justice
Trigger Warnings: Racism, sexism, imperialism
This groundbreaking collection reflects an uncompromised definition of feminism by women of color. Through personal essays, criticism, interviews, testimonials, poetry, and visual art, the collection explores, as coeditor Cherríe Moraga writes, “the complex confluence of identities—race, class, gender, and sexuality—systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.”
I hesitate to call my thoughts on this book a review, for several reasons. First and probably most important, I am white and it’s not my place to critique these women’s thoughts and experiences on being a woman of color. I in no way want to speak over these women. Second, I am reading this at the very beginning of my education on racism, intersectionalism, and other -isms that don’t affect my life as a white person, so I don’t have a lot of other context with which to view these writings. And third, this is a collection of writings by a lot of different women with different racial and class backgrounds, and that makes it really hard to review.
I found this book incredibly emotionally compelling. All of the writing, whether it be poetry or personal essays, was powerful and insightful. In some ways it helped me understand things I didn’t before, and in others it felt like it was handing me things that I wasn’t yet equipped to understand. Much of it was surprisingly relevant to me, even though I’m white and not really a woman. I got a fuller understanding of women of color’s perspectives on the mostly white women’s movement (and, I’ll admit, a bit of white guilt over my role as a white feminist). A lot of the writers talked about their families, especially their relationships with their mothers, and as I read, I actually found myself reframing my own relationship with my mother, which was an unexpected benefit.
I mentioned at the beginning that I don’t have a lot of context to view these writings through, and I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. This book reads like a foundation for a lot of things – feminist theory, queer theory, and how women of color should fit into the feminist movement. I think going forward, having read this book early will give me a lot of context to read from.