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Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,740 ratings  ·  74 reviews
It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the ‘70s feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Now a new generation of brilliant, outspoken women of color is speaking to the concerns of a new feminism, and their place in it. Daisy Hernandez of Ms. magazine ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 29th 2002 by Seal Press (first published July 8th 2002)
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4.14  · 
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 ·  2,740 ratings  ·  74 reviews


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Mwanabibi Sikamo
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have been reading a lot of feminist texts and have struggled with the fact that as an african living in the UK I believe wholeheartedly in the empowerment of women but do not know how to square this with my traditional values. The book enlightened me to the fact that I am not alone in desiring a feminism that encompasses all religions and races rather than the predominant eurocentric view. It was like a call to arms for me in that I now appreciate that as a Zambian I need to strive for feminis ...more
Nina
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: WOC who know what its like to not quite "fit"
This is one of my favorites. I have read it a few times, but it never stops me from reading it again. Colonize This! is a collection of essays by young woman of color writing about their experiences. Identity is much more complicated then male/female when you live in a society in which you are not a part of the dominant culture.
Often I feel silenced in Japan for being a woman, and more specifically being a woman of color. Not so much by Japanese people, but by the other foreigners who live in Ja
...more
Michi
Dec 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
I found the essays difficult to get through, perhaps because I was looking for moments to exclaim, "this is how I've always felt and could never put it in words!" yet this never happened. I think the experiences of women of color are too varied due to culture, class, sexual orientation, and so on. I also felt a bit of a generation gap between myself and the writers (I was born 1984; I got the feeling they were all born around 1975). However, Rebecca Walker's Black White & Jewish had me laugh ...more
Nicole
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, kfbc
I think this collection of essays is an excellent read for someone like me--a feminist looking to better understand the intersection of racism, classism, homophobia, and other factors with feminism. There is a wide representation of women of color experiences in these essays.

This book was a hard read at times, because it is unapologetic in its criticisms of feminism, which in general still tends to focus on issues of white middle class women rather than the broader spectrum that includes women o
...more
Ciara
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women of color anxious about feminism, folks interested in intersectionality, ideally everyone
this book was predictably awesome. i'd been wanting to read it for quite some time, but it was always checked out at the boston public library. eventually i realized it had been lost or stolen & wasn't listed as such in the system, so i inter-library borrowed it from another branch. it's a few years old (published in 2002), & i would be interested to see what a similar book of young women of color writing about feminism would look like now that the political landscape has changed a bit. ...more
Keish
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
The collection of essays by Women of Color definitely helped me check the (still) white feminism I learn in my college course. I connected with most of the essays and appreciated the honesty from the writers. Through the essays, I was able to learn the different lessons of feminism that is not from the set of certain ideals or theories, rather the values that are important to you as a woman. It is about empowerment of yourself, not fitting into some wave of feminism that shape around the status ...more
Rodrigue Ronald
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading this book, reminded me of the women that help raise me, my mom, my aunts, and my sisters and how often feminism in the western world do not include people like the women in family because of their race, religion, social economic situation and culture. This book does a great job of explaining the dynamic of these two worlds and presents the argument that is often portrayed that women in these countries are not as strong as the feminist in the western world. I will recommend this book to a ...more
ONTD Feminism
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
LJ user pachakuti:

Many of the books on feminism or by feminists are white-washed or brush aside the concerns of POC within the movement. This book is BY those POC, women of myriad cultures and backgrounds writing and discussing their lives, on their terms, from their point of view.
Phoebe
Jun 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fictiongems
This book started off slow, but I eventually realized it's worth. In the end, I found great value in reading the stories of all the (mostly young) women who are trying to make sense of their experiences as people whose life experiences are pushed to the margins of the greater social eye. I found the article on sexual harrasment (in the streets, not in the work place) particularly powerful.
Danika at The Lesbrary
Despite being published in the early 2000s, this still felt very relevant. I was pleasantly surprised by how much queer content was included, and I liked the many different perspectives, but I do wish the same kind of attention was paid to trans and disability issues. Overall very readable and thought-provoking, definitely one I'd recommend.
Ruby
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: may
"After many late night talks, we chose the title of Cristina Tzintzun's essay for this book in order to acknowledge how the stories of women and colonization are intimately tied. But when we first sat down to write this introduction and looked in the dictionary, we found that colonize means "to create a settlement." It sounds so simple and peaceful. We rewrote the definition. To colonize is "to strip a people of their culture, language, land, family structure, who they are as a person and as a p ...more
Dalia
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very influential reading it as a 16 yr old curious about the world of "community organizing" and the complicated community, personal, professional, core connections between (queer) womyn of color within that world. I feel like I should read it again, not with some 'older more experienced' eye, but yeah, with a little more under my belt now, I feel I would be more capable of being critical, of maintaining myself and my opinions while also absorbing it. Before I just sucked it all in as truth with ...more
Kelley
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it
I finally went mad with nothing in the house to read, so we stopped at the Virginia Beach library Sunday since we'd always wanted to check it out. Yeah. We consider going to the library or bookstore a date. Valentine's Day? We walked to MacArthur and sat around reading at B&N.

Alas, R was impatient, worrying about frozen food in the car and wanting to get to a convenience store to pick up ice. So, basically, I cruised the shelves and snatched up whatever caught my attention. Since I didn't f
...more
Jarrah
There are definitely some useful lessons in here for white feminists and institutions. Listening to the diverse voices that make up this anthology reveals how feminism has helped and alienated women of colour and how big feminist issues like eating disorders, rape, and street harassment require analysis from more than just white middle-class women. I can't speak to how much this book might resonate with young women of colour today but I know it struck me since the book is 10 years old that I was ...more
Crystal
I appreciated hearing from a wide variety of women about what feminism is or isn't to them. It helped me to understand that for one, there truly isn't one correct way to define feminism. Many of the essays point to the strength of women that is somehow often perceived as weakness. Often people, especially white feminists, have overlooked certain ways of life or have judged or even belittled them because the women are still conforming to some traditional gender roles.

I learned a lot from the book
...more
Summer
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, feminist
It took a long time to finish this book. It's kind of big. The nature of a collection of essays kind of makes it easy for me to sit it down and ignore it for a while.

This book is 14 years old now. There are a few dated references. I would EAT UP a new edition.

In each essay a lady just basically talks a little about her life. She highlights one or two things that relate specifically to feminism. Most essays talked about how the authors came to learn about feminism.

Each essay was interesting an
...more
Monica
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I was a little nervous because a previous commenter said it was angry. It didn't read that way to me at all. I've read so much white feminism that it's so refreshing to read feminism from women of color. What makes this book even more special is that it offered feminism from Arab and Muslim women of color, and I very rarely (if ever) read essays by young Arab and Muslim women. There were also essays from Black women, Asian women, Latina women, Native American women (and more t ...more
Ioana
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is a collection of women's essays on their personal experiences with sexism, racism, heteronormativity, patriarchy, exploitation and oppression--as well as stories of overcoming these pressures and finding voice. The essays are touching, poignant, poetic, and insightful, and come from a range of women--Indian, African-American, of mixed-heritage, of all religions and many nationalities, and so on. They show how sexism is only one axis of oppression that many women experience every day, ...more
Avory


As a white feminist, I found this anthology particularly revelatory in the ways that it speaks to WOC experience in white-dominated feminist communities. Many of the authors focus on dual experiences with family and/or country of origin and mostly white US women's studies departments. This collection uses personal narrative to communicate the political realities of these experiences and hold white women accountable, while also providing something WOC of diverse backgrounds can relate to. Strong
...more
Victoria
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism
What I hoped this book would impart me with is a feeling of empowerment and a long list of reading recommendations. Check & check.
I didn't expect it to enlighten me or answer any of the deeper questions that have been troubling me recently, which is why I'd class this book as "introductory" literature. For one reason, I'm not even sure what answers I'm looking for. And for another reason, I had simply hoped that this book would help me re-orientate myself within a neglected feminist context
...more
Corinne Horne
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I first picked up Colonize This! at my College Bookstore. This book was a required book along with my textbook for my Developmental Patterns of Women (Psych.) class. I thumbed through it casually at first, but once I started actually reading I couldn't put it down. I can associate with and understand the women that wrote each piece.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking to further themselves in womenofcolor feminism, if you're looking to enhance your knowledge of ethnic women, or even if
...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
I've had this book for a few years, so some of the political issues, while still relevant, did not have the same emphasis they may have had in the in the early to mid 2000s. As is always the case with anthologies, some of the essays struck me more than others--not speaking here about the content but more about the writing style and voice. I appreciated the opportunity to read about the struggles and feminism(s) of a new generation of women of color.
Lyana Rodriguez
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, feminism
While the book's issues can sometimes be dated to the early 00's and held back from a lack of discussion on gender identity and the trans spectrum, I really enjoyed this anthology. More than any other feminist body of work, I have felt so empowered reading so many essays centered on Latinx immigrants. I definitely recommend this as a starting point for discussing the intersection of gender with race, culture, class, and sexuality.
Chris
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
One of those books where parts were assigned for a college course, but I always told myself I'd read the whole thing eventually--and I just did. The first hundred pages or so I wasn't so much into it--there was a bit of non-constructive bitching about silly white girls (SWGs). The rest of it was really great, though, especially the essays about mothers and families. I'm really glad I took the time to read it now.
Maria St. Francis
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Very enlightening but a whole lotta angry. For my taste, this book is best read in small portions. It's also chock full of feminist jargon (lots of "womyn" instead of "women", etc.) and should be read with an open mind, as it'd be easy to take a lot of this personally and dismiss the rage if you are not a POC. I'm still reading this, but it is, quite frankly, exhausting.
Pramila Rai
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I did find some essays boring or unrelatable, I'm glad I read it. I loved essays where the writers had written about women in their lives teaching them early on, indirectly, to be staunch feminists through their every day actions. Feeling terribly inarticulate so I will just say you need to give this book a chance. Definitely an eye opener!
Lauren
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really great collection. This was an assigned text for a class I'm taking. For the most part, a very diverse selection of stories and essays from women of color, however, I am disappointed to not see any stories from transgender women of color. I suspect this may have been influenced by the year or publication (2002), although there is good representation from the LGB and Q.
Jessica
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
More than anything else, the stories about the contributors' mothers reminds me of my own mother's story. The class background resonates strongly with my own family's history, and so it frustrates me to think how much normalised racism divided my mother from these women who should have been her comrades, who faced similar obstacles.
Sarah
A stunning collection of truly diverse feminist essays, examining issues of class, sexual orientation, oppression, harassment, colonization, imperialism and sexism from young women of color. It is an anthology, so there are a few duds, but overall, these essays will grip you and challenge you.
Cassie
Feb 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
i can't recommend this book enough. it is an eye-opening, creative, curt, and commendable book! loved it! if you like cultural theory, gender studies, race theory/studies, queer theory, lgbtq issues, u will like this book!
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Corona is Rehman’s first novel, forthcoming August 2013 from Sibling Rivalry Press. Preorder here: http://siblingrivalrypress.com/corona...

Bushra Rehman, originally from Corona, Queens, is a, poet, essayist and fiction writer. Her writing has been featured on BBC Radio 4, WNYC, and KPFA and in The New York Times, India Currents, Crab Orchard Review, Sepia Mutiny, Color Lines, The Feminist Wire an
...more
“Feminism is comprised of values that are important to you as a woman, not ideals arrived at by forced consensus to which you should adjust your own life.” 8 likes
“This is the real work of woman of color feminism: to resist acquiescence to fatality and guilt, to become warriors of conscience and action who resist death in all its myriad manifestations: poverty, cultural assimilation, child abuse, motherless mothering, gentrification, mental illness, welfare cuts, the prison system, racial profiling, immigrant and queer bashing, invasion and imperialism at home and at war.

To fight any kind of war, Kahente Horn-Miller writes. "The Biggest single requirement is fighting spirit." I thought much of this as I read Colonize This! since this collection appears in print at a time of escalating world-wide war--In Colombia, Afghanistan, Palestine. But is there ever a time of no-war for women of color? Is there ever a time when our home (our body, our land of origin) is not subject to violent occupation, violent invasion? If I retain any image to hold the heart-intention of this book, it is found in what Horn-Miller calls the necessity of the war dance. This book is one rite of passage, one ceremony of preparedness on the road to consciousness, on the "the war path of greater empowerment.”
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