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UnCommon Bonds

Women Reflect on Race and Friendship


Edited By Kersha Smith and Marcella Runell Hall

UnCommon Bonds is a collection of essays written by women representing multiple identities; all uniquely addressing the impactful experiences of race, ethnicity, and friendship in the context of the United States. The essays unapologetically explore the challenges of developing and maintaining cross-racial friendships between women. A primary goal of this book is to resist simplifying cross-racial friendships. Instinctively, the editors believe that there is a unique joy and pain in these relationships that is rarely easy to summarize. The essays reflect narratives that challenge assumptions, disclose deep interpersonal struggles, and celebrate the complex sisterhood between women across racial lines.

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Chapter 17: “The Ladies Salon”: Building Intellectual and Personal Collective(s) (Rani Varghese / Allia Abdullah-Matta / Hye-Kyung Kang)


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Building Intellectual and Personal Collective(s)

Rani Varghese, Allia Abdullah-Matta, and Hye-Kyung Kang


Cherrie Moraga (2015), in the preface to the fourth edition of This Bridge Called My Back, discusses the importance of voice as expressed by women of color writing about their intersecting identities and struggles. She says,

Still, here in the underbelly of the “first” world, women of color writing is one liberation tool at our disposal. … The very act of writing then, conjuring/coming to “see,” what has yet to be recorded in history is to bring into our consciousness what only the body knows to be true. The body—that site which houses the intuitive, the unspoken the viscera of our being—this is the revolutionary promise of “theory in flesh”; for its both expression of evolving political consciousness and the creator of consciousness, itself. Seldom recorded and hardly honored, our theory incarnate provides the most reliable roadmap to liberation. (p. xxiv, emphasis in original)

In this chapter, we employ “the very act of writing” as a tool of liberation; our collective bodies express a specific consciousness that signifies and politicizes the experiences of women of color in the academy. Moreover, we use our voices to highlight our distinct and unique journeys to higher education and to co-construct a collaborative narrative that pushes beyond a monolithic or hegemonic construction of interracial friendships that center whiteness....

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