Biblical Scholar and Howard University Professor, Nyasha Junior, Addresses Why Many Black Women Aren’t Down with Feminism


by Nyasha Junior

After Patricia Arquette won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in “Boyhood,” she offered this in her acceptance speech: “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody’s equal rights, it is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Meryl Streep and other celebrities in attendance cheered Arquette’s remarks.

“We” who?

When white women say “we,” the side-eye from African-American women swiftly follows. African-American women have had a stormy relationship with the notion of women’s rights. Arquette’s remarks are another reminder of the many reasons why some African-American women do not identify themselves as feminists. The link between the term “feminist” and white women’s activism on behalf of other white women is such that some African-American women shun the label, though they may be deeply committed to women’s equality.

Arquette has talked previously about income and gender. In an interview with the Guardian, she spoke out about the wage differential for women in Hollywood and elsewhere. In another interview, she stated that she paid her baby sitter and dog walker more than she made in “Boyhood.”

Equal rights and wage equality. Sounds great!


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SOURCE: Washington Post

Nyasha Junior is an assistant professor at Howard University School of Divinity and the author of “An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation.”

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