Additionally, we confront the condition that within that definition of Black and female, scholar is invisible. For example, when Michele Fine spoke, the program read, "Dr. Michele Fine." When a colleague and I presented "Race and Gender In the Academy," the notice read, Adah Ward Randolph and Carla Bradley. We were not professors. Several members of the audience did not know who we were. More importantly, our colleagues who have a brown bag [lunch] often at the same time, did not attend to engage Adah and Carla on issues of race and gender in the academy. The organizer of the presentation quickly asserted that "Feminists do not use titles."

     Black feminist discourse shatters white feminist illusions of inclusion, making new ways for new paradigms and political alternatives which bring into being previously silenced Diasporic subjectivities. We learn that feminist speak in different voices and from multiple historical, cultural, racial, economic, and sexual locations (Caraway, 6).

Our response was "Who said we have the same definition of feminism?" More importantly, why then was Michele referred to as Dr.? Are we scholars in this place? Thus, as James and Farmer contend, "African American women in universities work within environments which are often not only nonsupportive but at times outright hostile" (James and Farmer, 1993, 3). Other Black faculty women and I often spoke of how any suggestions we made during meetings were given hostile receptions. Despite such an atmosphere, we must survive.

Overcoming Obstacles

     In Spirit, Space and Survival: African American Women in (White) Academe (1993), Joy James and Ruth Farmer write,

Writing does not come easy. African American women junior faculty and lower-level administrators are hindered from writing and publishing by enormous pressures and responsibilities that our white peers are rarely required to shoulder. Many of these pressures result from the subtle and overt racism of our work sites (James and Farmer 1993, 2).


<back to previous page


continued on next page>


cologo2.gif (6450 bytes)

May 2000