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19 Books On Intersectionality That Taylor Swift Should Read

After her kerfuffle with Nicki Minaj, "I'm sorry" is cool, but wouldn't "I have learned" be even cooler?

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Taylor has since apologized and left the conversation as quickly as she dove into it.

I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I'm sorry, Nicki. @NICKIMINAJ

But she left behind a lot of really important lessons on intersectionality, race, and the privilege that she enjoys as a white woman.

"And I also now understand that as a black woman, Nicki faces additional challenges that will never apply to me." https://t.co/pzEl1zrDwI

That she was able to extract herself from an uncomfortable situation and choose not to engage with such heavy, complicated issues is pretty much the very picture of privilege.

Here's a starting point: 19 books that are sure to help the budding intersectional feminist get up to speed.

1. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins

Routledge

An "amen" moment: "Even though Black women intellectuals have long expressed a distinctive African-influenced and feminist sensibility about how race and class intersect in structuring gender, historically we have not been full participants in White feminist organizations. As a result, African-American, Latino, Native American, and Asian-American women have criticized Western Feminisms for being racist and overly concerned with White, middle-class women’s issues."

2. The Hidden Face Of Eve: Women In The Arab World by Nawal El Saadawi

Zed Books

An "amen" moment: "It is necessary at all times to see the close links between women’s struggles for emancipation and the battles for national and social liberation waged by people in all parts of the ‘Third World’ against foreign domination and the exploitation exercised by international capitalism over human and natural resources. If this link is forgotten, feminist movements in the West may be used not to further the cause of women’s liberation but instead to participate in holding back the forces of freedom and progress in the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America."

3. Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire by Sonia Shah

South End Press

An "amen" moment: "Struggle is a way of life for all who inhabit this world, but particularly for women of color in a white-dominated world. Asian/Pacific Island women, like their colored counterparts, have had to fight to participate as equals with whites in U.S. society. Sometimes they have had to almost literally “move mountains” that once seemed immovable to get to where they are today."

4. This Bridge Called My Back: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: “We are challenging white feminists to be accountable for their racism because at the base we still want to believe that they really want freedom for all of us.”

5. Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism by Patricia Hill Collins

Routledge

An "amen" moment: "Black Sexual Politics uses a theoretical framework of intersectionality. Intersectional paradigms view race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and age, among others, as mutually constructing systems of power. Because these systems permeate all social relations, untangling their effects in any given situation or for any given population remains difficult."

6. Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism by Daisy Hernandez

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: "As young women of color, we have both a different and similar relationship to feminism as the women in our mothers’ generation…The difference is that now we talk about these issues in women’s studies classes, in classrooms that are multicultural but xenophobic and in a society that pretends to be racially integrated but remains racially profiled."

7. Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks

Routledge

An "amen" moment: “It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but rather than resigning myself to this appropriation I choose to re-appropriate the term “feminism,” to focus on the fact that to be “feminist” in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.”

8. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa Harris-Perry

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: “The mythology of black women as promiscuous was important to maintaining the profitable exploitation of slave society. In freedom, it remained important as a means of racial and gender control.”

9. Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa

Aunt Lute Books

An "amen" moment: “Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate. I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent's tongue - my woman's voice, my sexual voice, my poet's voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.”

10. Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis

Vintage

"The enervating domestic obligations of women in general provide flagrant evidence of the power of sexism. Because of the added intrusion of racism, vast numbers of Black women have had to do their own housekeeping and other women’s home chores as well. And frequently, the demands of the job in a white woman’s home have forced the domestic worker to neglect her own home and even her own children. As paid housekeepers, they have been called upon to be surrogate wives and mothers in millions of white homes."

11. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: "Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression...Practically, it is a definition which implies that all sexist thinking and action is the problem, whether those who perpetuate it are female or male, child or adult."

12. Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings by Alma M. Garcia

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: "Chicana feminists came under attack for their explicit critique of Chicano cultural nationalism…Their feminist concern with patriarchal oppression was labeled by their opponents as secondary in importance to the more salient issue of racial or even class oppression. Chicana feminist discourse responded directly to such feminist-baiting attacks by stressing the universal aspect of sexism. Their writings reflected their views that Chicano cultural values could not be extolled from a cultural nationalist perspective without a critical analysis of sexism."

13. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings

William Morrow Paperbacks

An "amen" moment: “…Even when we possess a breathtaking sense of agency, when we have heroically resisted, when we have proven our worth and the wealth of our presence, we have seen ourselves primarily in the context of others—off men, of community, of family, of employers. This has made us indispensable…but that idea has also pulled us back against our own interests when our winds should be pushing us in another direction. So we become indispensable to everyone but ourselves."

14. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: "In truth, feminism is flawed because it is a movement powered by people and people are inherently flawed. For whatever reason, we hold feminism to an unreasonable standard where the movement must be everything we want and must always make the best choices. When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement."

15. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

Atria Books

An "amen" moment: “When I think of identity, I think of our bodies and souls and the influences of family, culture, and community - the ingredients that make us. James Baldwin describes identity as "the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self." The garment should be worn "loose," he says, so we can always feel our nakedness. "This trust in one's nakedness is all that gives one the power to change one's robes." I'm still journeying toward that place where I'm comfortable in this nakedness, standing firmly in my interlocking identities.”

16. Methodology of the Oppressed by Chela Sandoval

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: "The 1970s-80s social movement called U.S. third world feminism functioned as a central locus of possibility, an insurgent social movement that shattered the construction of any one ideology as the single most correct site where truth can be represented...What U.S. third world feminism thus demanded was a new subjectivity, a political revision that denied any one ideology as the final answer, while instead positing a tactical subjectivity with the capactiy to de- and recenter, given the forms of power to be moved."

17. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: “Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”

18. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts

amazon.com

An "amen" moment: "How can we possibly confront racial injustice in America without tackling this assault on Black women’s procreative freedom? How can we possibly talk about reproductive health policy without addressing race, as well as gender? Yet books on racial justice tend to neglect the subject of reproductive rights; and books on reproductive freedom tend to neglect the influence of race. Few, if any, have addressed the many dimensions of governmental regulation of Black women’s childbearing or the impact this repression has had on the way Americans think about reproductive liberty."

19. Literally anything by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term "intersectionality" in [1989]

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw / Via Twitter: @sandylocks

An "amen" moment from her article "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color":

"Contemporary feminist and antiracist discourses have failed to consider intersectional identities such as women of color…I consider how the experiences of women of color are frequently the product of intersecting patterns of racism and sexism, and how these experiences tend not to be represented within the discourses of either feminism or antiracism."

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