Crenshaw and Sheftall Speak at Kennesaw State University

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, LL.M and Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall are two prominent and powerful radical black feminists who spoke at Kennesaw State University on Jan. 27th, 3:30 PM EST.

Crenshaw is credited for coining the term “intersectionality” based on her observations of how the law operates at the “intersection” of race and sex. While the feminist conception of intersectionality dates back to the 19th century, Crenshaw was the person who elevated intersectionality to a recognized feminist sociological theory. She is also one of the primary influences behind the equality clause of the South Africa Constitution and an advocate of affirmative action.

Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the founder of the first women’s studies program in Spelman College, a Historically Black College. Note that this was not the first accredited women’s studies program ever, just the first in a college that was servicing black students before 1964. Sheftall’s program also started the national conversation (or “blamestorm” depending on who you ask) on the objectification of black women by rappers.

The origin of women’s studies in the pre-1964 black community ended up in the same room with the origin of intersectionality, and I got them both on tape.

Two of the more interesting points are as follows:

  • The speakers criticize white feminism while discussing the pressure they feel to use white women to get votes.
  • The speakers discuss their efforts to make affirmative action not look like preferential treatment.

The aftermath of the event made me realize how aggressive paparazzi have to be to get a clean shot. Crenshaw? Forget it. When she got up to make her hasty exit to her next speaking engagement, she became a magnet in a vat of iron fillings. It was impossible to see her through the crowd of escorts and salivating sociologists.

I did have an opportunity to take a clean photo, but I had to pass it up. There was no stage in the room, and I was right by the podium. I am not exaggerating when I say I was in arm’s reach of two of the more (most?) powerful feminists in hundreds of miles. I was not starstruck, but I was anxious. I was the only MHRA in a room full of people who would crucify me if they knew that.

Taking a photo two feet away from a protected duo who would consider me a mortal enemy would be like running screaming at an armed guard in a military base at 1 AM. I know better.

Since I do not have quality AV equipment, I ask you to bear with the limited capacities of my smartphone while I try to get a copy of the video footage from the KSU Interdisciplinary Studies department. If you want to know what feminist authorities are up to, listen to this talk. I uploaded two parts:

  1. The main dialogue between Sheftall and Crenshaw.
  2. The Q&A session after the dialogue.

The speech in Part 1 cuts off due to a technical issue, but that’s okay because the speech was almost over, and the speakers repeated their sentiments. You are not missing much.

Recall that universities invite speakers that would typically not appear in other venues, so if you are a student, jump on every opportunity to track the powerful. Go to your social science departments and look for bulletins on upcoming events (ask for help where needed). Dirt like this keeps the MHRM aware of institutional feminism, and it illustrates the internal battles feminists are having. Track this stuff so you know what organizations to pressure, what ideas are out on a quest to become laws, and the internal strategies employed by feminists.

If you find information like this in your university, contact me and we will discuss the material’s relevance to the MHRM.

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