Intersectional Feminist Mindfulness for Dummies
Why Equality does not Equate to Common Sense
In my last article, I discuss a term that I constructed to conceptualize a school of thinking that aims towards the progression of Feminist Reform in this world. Intersectional Mindfulness illuminates the worldly issues of violence and abuse against people of color and takes on an approach that focuses on pushing for an educational, informant method of spreading ideas to allow people who are unaware of the differences that classify and divide people (such as races, class, cultural background etc.) and look for humanitarian solutions for all marginalized groups in our society.
More specifically, the goal of this article is to investigate the first of many levels of Intersectional Mindfulness, and like Intersectionality, we see how the discriminatory consequences merge with the nature of social categorizations including our individual characteristics such as race, class, and gender. The first of many levels to achieving Intersectional Mindfulness is acquiring Conscientiousness, which in this context is an ability, or rather a personality trait that enables one to understand differences among others whilst utilizing those differences to unify and improve the overall well-being among our society.
In retrospect to former articles, it may all seem like common sense when all of this is combined with the overflow of discourse throughout western history, but by utilizing the works of Bell Hooks, her work Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism illustrates the profound, saddening complexity that divides all women and deludes the vision of Superiority between people of dark color and people of white.
I utilize the works of Bell Hooks because Intersectional Feminist Conscientiousness requires a system of documentation for historical analysis in order to create a blue print of these ideals for our society.
This level of Mindfulness can be identified by Hooks as she dissects the gap that divides upper and middle class white women relative to marginalized women of color as well as black men. Because Intersectionality is a word that has recently developed in our society, as is this new way of achieving this sort of Mindfulness, the progression of Feminism in respects to our cultural margins of advantages and disadvantages takes into consideration that the progression of humanity is slow, arduous and left out groups. Bell Hooks understood that, “when the contemporary movement toward feminism began, there was little discussion of the impact of sexism on the social status of black women” (Hooks 1982). As society does by far, outweigh advantage to white women than women of color, and white men gain advantageous privileges to white women and people of color, “The upper and middle class white women who were at the forefront of the movement made no effort to emphasize that patriarchal power, the power men use to dominate women, is not just the privilege of upper and middle class white men, but the privilege of all men in our society regardless of their class or race. Thus, White feminists so focused on the disparity between white male/white female economic status as an indication of the negative impact of sexism that they drew no attention to the fact that poor and lower-class men are as able to oppress and brutalize women as any group of men in American society” (Hooks 1982). Hooks recognized that people of different backgrounds and colors face different dilemmas. And even such, there are patterns of similar violence as well. Even in cases between the privileges of white men and black men, “Frederick Douglass saw the entire racial dilemma in America as a struggle between white men and black men. In 1865, he published a essay titled “What the Black Man Wants” which argued in favor of black men gaining the vote while women remained disenfranchised. In their private lives, black male activists and political leaders demanded that their wives assume subordinate roles. Black woman feminist Mary Church Terrell recorded in her diary that her activists lawyer husband desired her to play no role in political affairs. She complained that he treated her as if she were a fragile glass object in need of constant protection. Terrell’s husband used his patriarchal status to sabotage her political work. His fear was that her femininity would be tarnished by too many encounters with the world outside the home. The marriage of Booker T. Washington and his third wife, Margaret Murray, was fraught with similar conflict” (Hooks 1982). Furthermore, the social construct of the situations that women and men of color are faced with share similar patterns but hold true to the patriarchal hegemonic society that we live in, because we, like Bell Hooks, are challenged to take into consideration that class, race, cultural background do in fact, make us different. Being able to accept that people struggle differently based on these analyses are one of the first steps to acquiring a better understanding of Intersectional Feminist Mindfulness. The next step, and probably the hardest of steps, is accepting that we as a society, have learned and taught these divisive behaviors and it is up to each of us, individually to make a contribution by enforcing random, mindful, constructive criticism amongst each other and retaliate with kindness. And as a woman of color, like Bell Hooks, “As people of color, our struggle against racial imperialism should have taught us that wherever there exists a master/slave relationship, an oppressed/oppressor relationship, violence, mutiny and hatred will permeate all elements of life. There can be no freedom for patriarchal men of all races as long as they advocate subjugation of women. Absolute power for patriarchs is not feeling. The nature of fascism is such that it controls, limits, and restricts leaders as well as people fascists oppress” (Hooks 1982). In conclusion, the ability to achieve this level of mindfulness begins by understanding the many negative patterns in treatment of marginalized groups and be able to take down those constructs and create a humanitarian level of empathy and understanding between each other’s differences.