Black Women Speak Back, Up, and Out
Edited By Venus E. Evans-Winters and Bettina L. Love
Chapter Fifteen: “Oh, You’ll Be Back”: Bridging Identities of Race, Gender, Educator, and Community Partner in Academic Research
← 172 | 173 →CHAPTER FIFTEEN
Bridging Identities of Race, Gender, Educator, and Community Partner in Academic Research
BILLYE SANKOFA WATERS
“I remember myself as surrounded by extraordinary adults who were smarter than me. I was better educated, but I always thought that they had true wisdom and I had merely book learning. It was only when I began to write that I was able to marry those two things: wisdom and education.” —Toni Morrison (in Lanker, 1989)
Knowledge of self is most often articulated through intricate constructions of race, gender, class, religion, sexuality, and ability. (For the focus of this chapter, I will only directly address the first two.) These categories, which have traditionally been understood as immutable binaries, are named through scientific and academic research and are therefore problematic in that they position living bodies as aggregated data before the bodies have fully articulated self-awareness. Post-conventional approaches in research have complicated these fixed ideas with factors such as historical space and cultural practices. According to Patricia Hill-Collins (1989/1995), the primary tenet of Black feminist thought1 is that lived experience is the criterion for meaning and credibility. This privileges wisdom before knowledge. Additionally, the lens of an endarkened feminist epistemology, as articulated by Cynthia B. Dillard (2008), allows me to explore the struggle and desire for my research coparticipants to see the “solid, taken-for-granted nature of ← 173 | 174 →my African American identity” (p. 87) as sister, daughter, and othermother (Hill-Collins, 2004). It is at these critical nexuses of knowing...
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