Black Women Speak Back, Up, and Out
Chapter Five: Eating from the Tree of Life: An Endarkened Feminist Revelation
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An Endarkened Feminist Revelation
KYRA T. SHAHID
Cynthia Dillard’s (2006) conceptualization of an endarkened feminist epistemology gave me the means to critique the violence perpetuated in the universal generalization of White male knowledge constructions of reality. Her work provides me with the language to voice a specialized knowledge positioned within my cultural, political, and historical identity as a Black woman so that I might reveal a different reality, a different epistemology, than what is traditionally recognized in academic research. Recognizing that non-White, non-male people think differently as opposed to deficiently flies in the face of positivistic and oppressive thinking that leads us to believe that one way of knowing is superior to others. Dillard (2006) acknowledges that her desire in articulating an endarkened feminist epistemology is not to substitute a dominating White male epistemology with a Black female one, but to reclaim and resituate research in the cultural origins from which they began. I share Dillard’s desire and intend to use the framework she has conceptualized to identify the epistemic violence I encountered as a graduate student. This self-reflective process will shed light on the ways that an endarkened feminist epistemology supports the ability of a Black woman to respond, overcome, resist, avoid, and ultimately neutralize forceful displacements of knowledge and ways of knowing that maintain dominance over oppressed communities.
I remember the exact moment that it all came crashing down. I was a master’s student studying student affairs in higher education when I...
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