Embodying Diversity: Problems and Paradoxes for Black feminists

Ahmed, Sara. 2009. Embodying Diversity: Problems and Paradoxes for Black feminists. Race Ethnicity and Education., 12(1), pp. 41-52. ISSN 1361-3324 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Special issue on ‘Black Feminisms and Postcolonial Paradigms: Researching Educational Inequalities’, edited by Cynthia Josepth and Heidi Mirza

This paper examines some of the problems and paradoxes of embodying diversity for organisations. With reference to a research project based on interviews with diversity practitioners, as well as personal experience of working within universities as a Black feminist, this paper explores how diversity becomes a commitment that requires that those who embody that diversity express happiness and gratitude. Our very arrival into organisations is used as evidence that the whiteness of which we speak no longer exists. Most importantly to embody diversity can mean to be under pressure not to speak about racism. The very talk about racism is seen as introducing bad feeling into organisations. Drawing on the work of bell hooks and Audre Lorde, the paper argues that we need to reclaim the figure of the angry Black feminist, and that we need to refuse the injunction to be happy objects for the organisation, which means being willing to cause trouble and being prepared to stay as sore as our points.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2015 09:44

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2016 16:39

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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