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This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
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This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  8,858 ratings  ·  343 reviews
This groundbreaking collection reflects an uncompromised definition of feminism by women of color. Through personal essays, criticism, interviews, testimonials, poetry, and visual art, the collection explores, as coeditor Cherríe Moraga writes, “the complex confluence of identities—race, class, gender, and sexuality—systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.”
Paperback, 261 pages
Published March 1st 1983 by Kitchen Table--Women of Color Press (first published 1981)
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Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism
Without getting too personal, I have to admit I grew up with identity issues.I guess most women of colour living in the West do have such moments, especially seeing as how we are under-represented in many areas of society. Not only that, we also have to contend with stereotypes and being caught between cultures. As such, this book was very important to me. It is an anthology featuring different types of works (poems, speeches, short stories) by gay and straight women of colour (African-American, ...more
May 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
don't try to read queer theory or anything on your gender studies syllabus without reading this book first. because that shit all came from this shit, no matter what all the white queer theorists try to tell you.

but seriously. theoretically, the trajectory is there. these women came up with what we all now understand as the reality that multiplicity is how each of us navigate the world (ok some other folks did it too, for sure) and those multiplicities occur simultaneously, both internally and e
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This anthology by radical, feminist and mostly lesbian Women of Colour has the aura of a revolutionary moment. I loved the range of styles, especially the wonderful poems and prose poems, and generally the directness that gave it the feeling of a drama, the feeling of being in a room with the contributors. Much of what is said, of course, is still being said now, and I am aware that white feminists have cherry picked and weaponised words from this collection against women of colour. Nonetheless, ...more
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I will always be reading, when I'm not lending it out. Way fucking radical, this collection of essays from amazing strong women folk explores race, sexuality, language, love, hate and discrimination. The editors, Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga, are two of my favorite writers. They put my experience, fears and hopes into words. Ladies of color this ones for you, even if like me you only have some color. This book changed my life. I would also recommend this to white people, but ...more
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poc
It's sad to say that it's taken me 24 years to deeply connect with a book. This book feels like a war has been waged inside of me. It feels painful, uncomfortable, yet beautiful all at the same time as I realize that with every turn of the page there are more and more women like me. Strong, willfull, feeling. This is the book I've been waiting for. ...more
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
It took me months but I finally finished! It's not a book you necessarily sit down and read in one sitting, it takes some time to pause and reflect. Some pieces I went back and re-read as I tried to absorb them. What's interesting reading this book in 2020 is that a lot of these pieces were foundational or groundbreaking back in the day - Combahee River Collective statement, for one - and now reflect more widely accepted truths. I also appreciated the poems/art interspersed throughout, giving bo ...more
Before I began this book, I was thinking about why I find it important to read older works of theory/critical essays (Fanon, Cesaire, hooks, Davis, Memmi, Lorde, etc.) rather than more recent texts. I identified three reasons, all of which apply to this text as well:

1. Many theories/ideas that come to be academic mainstream originated by Black and Brown folk outside of/in opposition to the academy. See DuBois regarding the slave trade and Black Reconstruction, various Black Power/Black Feminist
Jan 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Tw: Transmisogyny mention

First things first: Like most books with various perspectives/articles, it's unlikely that as the reader we'll enjoy/like every essay/article/poem, etc. Although there were a hand full of pieces that I thought were incredibly well done, and made very important points, I really couldn't get past the fact that there were no (openly) trans women involved. Basically, this book was originally published in the 80's and at that point in time, all the contributors identified as
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This Bridge Called My Back is, unquestionably, one of the most influential books of my life. It would be an impossible task to attempt to quantify what I experienced/got/learned from this book. That being said:

This Bridge Called My Back is an anthology of essays, theory,fiction, poetry, and the fusion of all four written by radical women of color. The analysis and honesty with which this book is written creates an endless source of reflection, lesson and/or connection.

Although this book came ou
My favorite piece is the conversation between twin sisters Beverly and Barbara Smith -- all the layers of complexity, understanding, awareness, and even hints of conflict and contradiction! And that’s the amazing thing about the book -- that the whole thing functions as an extended conversation between radical women of color, and reading it we got to sense, experience, question, gasping in awareness and expression, the way the essays sometimes read like poetry and the poetry like essays and the ...more
Apr 06, 2009 rated it liked it
A great intro to intersectionality: how race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, language, and class interact with each other in the lives of women of color in the US. An anthology of personal experience in poems, theory, essays, letters, and interviews.

This book must have been groundbreaking when it came out in 1981. The authors repeatedly write about how they could find nothing in contemporary literature on race and gender that spoke to the complexities of oppression and resistance in thei
Even the revised and updated 2002 version is hard to find, but I would encourage everyone to seek out a copy of this book because the strength, fire and passion of the writing is not to be missed. Everything these women write is still pertinent today - about the intersectionality of oppressions, the racism in the white feminist movement, the crucial need for solidarity across race, class, and gender lines . . . . I think this book should be required reading in all women's studies classes. ...more
More than any other I've ever read, this book changed my life. ...more
What a revelation it was to reread This Bridge Called My Back. Edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, this collection of writings by “Radical Women of Color,” cracked open the manicured shell of white feminism, revealing its racist, homophobic underbelly. Published in 1981, the book challenged white feminists claims to solidarity, putting forth instead a model of feminism that embraced intersectionality and recognized the multiple identities that exist within each woman, and within each c ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a book worthy of the praise that inspired me to purchase it. At first I struggled with names and references made and inaccurately claimed that Warsan Shire was mentioned when it was another name I was attempting to articulate (feminist fail).
I feel more knowledgable and confident after reading the writings of so many wonderful feminists. My favourite section happens to be a poem which I plan to recite to white feminist "allies" who aggressively shun intersectionality.
Read this book.
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm so happy to have read this book which is a foundation of third wave (read: women of color) feminism. Some of the stories are really dense and full of language that we don't really use anymore, like "Third World feminists," but the poems in particular were quite mesmerizing and profound. This book has been on my to-read list for a while, and I'm glad I finally got around to it. ...more
Eve Lyons
Jun 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, feminism
This book is the single most important book in the feminist canon. Read it now.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this during my undergrad degree, and remember being deeply impressed. Certainly a key text, and one that remains relevant and insightful.

Zanna wrote an excellent review of it in 2014, so go read that...
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You haven't read anything until you have read this,

the brave poetry that comes along breaks you apart and pulls you together.

Ai Miller
Just incredible, obviously. Even when they contradict one another, each piece is just so rich and powerful. Cherríe Moraga's introductions to the sections, especially talking about lesbianism as an orientation towards women and how that made her a feminist, are breath-taking, and Audre Lorde fucks me up every time in the absolute best ways. Some of it maybe might seem dated to people, or the historical context might mean you miss some things (I don't know that the editor's added notes giving tha ...more
Dri Tattersfield
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
makes me feel whole
Ana Yarí
I've been reading this book sporadically since college; usually the essays that I needed for papers, etc.
This is my first time reading it through in one go. It's a lovely and surreal experience to revisit the kinds of ideas and writers that influenced my conception of radical feminism over the years. It was interesting for me to experience how far the feminist movement has come, and how we're still doing the same work and having the same conversations 30+ years later. It's frustrating and illumi
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
POPSUGAR 2017 Reading Challenge prompt 'A book with a red spine'

I am deeply moved by the Native and Latina perspectives here. Jo Carillo's Beyond the Cliffs of Abiquiu particularly struck me, as I live in Albuquerque, and I know just the type of white person that the poem is about. I ride my bike past the store named Bilagaanas. "White people." And yeah, it's all white people who shop there for the "Authentic Navajo Hopi Zuni Indian made real live Laguna Santa Ana Santo Domingo artifacts."

It mak
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"I wonder why there are women born with silver spoons
in their mouths
Women who have never known a day of hunger
Women who have never changed their own bed linen
And I wonder why there are women who must work
Women who must clean other women's houses
Women who must shell shrimps for pennies a day
Women who must sew other women's clothes
Who must cook
Who must die
In childbirth
In dreams"
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really important and seminal text in the studies of feminism, racism and homophobia, and it's amazing how so much of it is still relevant today. I'm really glad I've read this book and I think it's a great resource to going about being critical of wider society and also of ourselves. I don't agree with all of it (definitely some transmisogyny and other issues) but I agree with the vast majority of it and I definitely recommend this book, it's shook me to my core. ...more
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Identity politics examined. Womyn of Color from the 1960s and 70s share their perspective on life and the struggle of the movement. Absolutely on of my guides to finding myself and place in the US. It's a book that leads to discoveries and confirmations of self.

Must read for any womyn of color.
Mignon Ariel King
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I haven't read it in years, but I intend to go back to it. It's the 21st century, yet this book is still relevant...because I am still one of the few Black women friends that my White friends have. Seriously? I'm nearly fifty. I'm not angry, but a sister sure is getting tired. ...more
Incredible for so many reasons! This is not just a collection of essays—it's full of poetry, speeches, interviews and art and it is at no point tedious. The writings are so personal, and despite being decades old they are still so relevant. Great read! ...more
Rianna Jade
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-finest
Easily one of the most important books I'll ever read. I found myself having to stop and catch my breath more that a few times. ...more
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
A must read, especially for men
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Cherríe Lawrence Moraga is a Chicana writer, feminist activist, poet, essayist, and playwright. She is part of the faculty at Stanford University in the Department of Drama and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Her works explore the ways in which gender, sexuality and race intersect in the lives of women of color.

Moraga was one of the few writers to write and introduce the theory on Chica

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