Blogging the Theoretical

The Solution(take 2)-Jillian

September 21, 2011 · No Comments

According to Patricia Hill Collins, any oppressed group such as black women have a common goal they want empowerment. In order to achieve their solution black women must rethink feminism as a social justice project with a complex notion of empowerment through the use of knowledge.  Hill Collins notes that there is no clear answer to the issue regarding black women’s oppression. In Black Feminist Thought, Collins states that our society keeps reinforcing and reaffirming highly problematic ideologies that we soon come to see them as natural. She believes that through self-definition and recognition, black women can begin deconstruct the normative ideologies that can then spark change within social institutions. “Historically, U.S. Black women’s activism demonstrates that becoming empowered requires more than changing the consciousness of the individual black women via black community development strategies” (Collins p 291).  In saying this Collins believes that empowerment is not enough to evoke change. Since we are all multipli- positioned it is crucial that black women redefine themselves and challenge unjust social practices.

“As each individual African-American woman changes her ideas and actions, so does the overall shape of power itself change. In the absence of Black feminist thought and other comparable oppositional knowledges, these micro-changes may remain invisible to individual women. Yet collectively, they can have a profound impact” (Collins, 293). As we read in Black Feminist Thought, black women need to focus on individual change before they can change as a whole. The only way in which an oppressed group can change is through collective action but in order for collection action to happen, individual empowerment must occur first. As noted by Hill Collins, when black women focus on the individual change it helps to shape change on a collective front. “Dialectic approaches emphasize the significance of knowledge in developing self-defined, group-based standpoints that, in turn, can foster group solidarity necessary for resisting oppressions” (Collins 293). Without resistance black women will be forced to remain at the bottom of the hegemonic domain. The way in which black women can become empowered is through new knowledge about their experiences (Collins p 292).  In Black Feminist Thought, Hill Collins believes that if black women do not understand the history of their experiences how can they expect to move forward. Change ultimately can only come from a unified front, but that front has to start with individual empowerment.




Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought. New York: Routledge Classics, 2009.


Categories: Group Three · Jillian

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