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Issue 17 Out Now

It's Time to "Cite Black Women"


“Black Women Matter” by Miki J. is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


It was 8 o’clock on a Wednesday night, around the time I usually snuggle up with a good book and a cup of tea. Yet, that evening I craved something different, a podcast. Podcasts have become integrated into many people’s lives around the world, with me included, and each year its popularity grows. There are a plethora of interesting topics, stories, and conversations that can be heard in the world of podcasting, and I was ready to find a podcast that provided a different angle on the conversation around the experiences of women of color. As I scanned through the podcasts app on my phone, I stumbled upon one called, “Cite Black Women”. The title was intriguing and as a woman that loves literature, I was curious what conversation was going to be had around the written work of black women. So, I began to listen to the first episode. “Cite Black Women” is a podcast that coincides with the Cite Black Women Campaign, which is a movement catered to getting people to think about the politics of knowledge production by working on citation practices that honor Black women’s creations. This movement was founded by Christen A. Smith and to add to her growing campaign they created a blog, merch, and a podcast that I happened to find. Their podcast specifically highlights the movement's mission to bring awareness to the work of different black women and preserving their voices for the future. In those conversations, they touch on many aspects of being a black woman in history as well as in the present. In the episode titled, “Citation and the Black Feminist Archive with Dr. Irma McClaurin,” the founder, Christen Smith and Dr. Irma McClaurin, an awarding-winning writer, activist, anthropologist, and founder of the “Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive” at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has a captivating conversation around the importance of archiving and how it takes back the power of who tells our story. Effortlessly, Dr. Irma McClaurin stresses how important it is to archive the work produced by black women, which aids in the bigger conversation about citing. She mentions how vital it is for black women not to leave the job of preserving our contributions to straight white men. Often in history, black women’s stories are told from the perspective of others and not our own mouths creating stereotypes that many of us are still trying to crawl out of. Beautifully, she expresses how archiving your work can inspire future generations and change the stereotypes placed on black women. In one part of the conversation, Dr. Irma mentions how she even archives moments that showcase the bond between a mother and her child or black women working together in friendship because she felt those visuals are not shown enough. So often those relationships in media are presented in a dysfunctional and negative light but if we archive moments of positivity it well-rounded picture of the black women’s identity. I personally loved this podcast because it allowed me to reflect on my experiences in academic spaces and how black women’s work are often treated or disregarded. I think one of the first times that I was assigned reading by a black woman in a college classroom was in my fourth semester in college. The piece was called “Ain’t I a Woman” by Sojourner Truth and it was the only work written by a woman in that whole course, let alone a black woman. Listening to this podcast, it forced me to confront the fact that black woman’s intellectual contributions aren’t circulated enough in academia. Black women shouldn’t have to learn about a subject and wonder afterward if there were anybody that looked like them in that field. Black women need to be represented in more fields, especially ones that showcase their intellectual productions. This podcast has me hooked from episode one and I will definitely be continuing to listen in on the conversations to come. Resources: “Cite Black Women.”. Cite Black Women., 2021, https://www.citeblackwomencollective.org/. Accessed 29 Jan 2021. “Season 1, Episode 1: “Citation And The Black Feminist Archive With Dr. Irma Mcclaurin.”. Soundcloud, 2018, https://soundcloud.com/user-211649525/season-1-episode-1-citation-and-the-black-feminist-archive-with-dr-irma-mcclaurin. Accessed 29 Jan 2021.


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