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

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,986 ratings  ·  98 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
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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 laughing ...more
Nicole
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kfbc, nonfiction
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
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. ...more
Grace
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book when the second edition came out last year but only picked it up now because of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This book is a fantastic read for those who want to learn more about the importance of intersectionality in feminism. These powerful women of color emphasize that race, gender, and sexuality cannot be separated through short essays with very accessible language. While I would encourage everyone to read this book for themselves, here are a few of my ...more
Viv
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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.”
― Daisy Hernandez, Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism

4.5 A wonderful series of essays from various perspectives (LGBT+, Muslim, East Asian, Native American, etc) and covering a wide range of topics (black women and eating disorders, mixed-race/heritage adoption, etc) that I have not been exposed to while on my journey to
...more
Mei
So important and enlightening! A must-read for any person who wants to become more informed about the truths of modern feminism and the intersectionality we must fight for.
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. but it's ...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
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. ...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.
...more
Cristina
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.75 stars!
Was hoping to have more East Asian and Native American representation, but the ones highlighted were very moving and eye opening, like the rest of the essays by other women of color! ♥️
Sarah  :)
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sort of repetitive after a while. It could have benefitted from some comics or poetry. Lots of discussion of religion, but only one really delved into it sufficiently .
Lauren Dandridge
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The original version was on my “to read” for years, so when I saw the new edition I knew I had to pick it up. Excellent reflections on race and gender from young feminists of color.
Megan Farve
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-books-read
Along my feminist journey I realized I was missing the perspective of intersectionality. How could I have been so ignorant!? This collection of essays was eye-opening to how feminism should encompass so many more issues than just women’s rights. We need to fight for ALL women and against the discrimination they face.
Ruby
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"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 finis
...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
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
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
Summer
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist, sociology
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
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
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. Stron
...more
Chutima
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 and
...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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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
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  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
49 likes · 9 comments
“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.” 7 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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