tv Brittany Cooper Eloquent Rage CSPAN June 3, 2018 6:00pm-7:34pm EDT
good to have you. little bit about us. we are worker cooperative for about 13 years of making and a little older than that and -- not that many people. a working cooperative is a cooperative business in which everybody that you see here is working that is me, right here and everybody behind the register and everyone that works here owns an equal part of the business. y'all make democratic decisions through meetings to decide everything from the way the lights will look when they turn on to where to put them in what book sell and the tables you eat at in the food we will serve, everything. the function as a café, restaurant and honestly it's a bookstore and an info shop and event base. we partner with other cooperatives in baltimore and that's pretty cool. we have spaces up the street and
our coffee comes from fred, a place that provides all the beautiful coffee you are joking. without further a do, i want to introduce our speaker tonight, brittney cooper, a well-known writer, published writer, black feminist, teacher at rutgers and i could go on and on. without further do, i'll give her the microphone. ernie cooper, you all bac. [applause]
>> you have to see that, short people get into tall, skinny chairs. good evening, everybody. thank you all for coming. i thought what i would do is read a little bit fro my new book, "eloquent rage". and talk about the book and then i want to have a conversation with you guys. is that cool? and when we get ready to have the conversation c-span book tv is here and so if you would come to the microphone that would be helpful. all right. i want to start by reading a bit from a chapter called strong female leads.
i have accommodated relationship with white women. as clear as i am about meeting black women as a matter of survival i feel far less sure about the needo be in solidaty wom. on the one hand if my television preferences, i love white women. my netflix queue is probably the shows that peter strong female leads, gilmore girls, the unbreakable commission it, girl boss and grace in a freaky. i can be found watching all shows like rizzoli and isles or madame secretary. rachael ray gives as much credit for my cooking style is much as my grandmother or grandmother tommy. i long ago swapped out those delicious cans of flavor infused heart clogging used grease for a bottle of ev oh oh, extra-virgin olive oil. on the other hand i have not had a white girl for ariend since
1998. that was the year i graduated high school. the last white girl to visit a place relived michelle, who famously stepped into my room one day and put my moisturizer in her hair and claimed it gave her texture and body. we both giggled about it, her into light in using black hair care products and me at the absurdity of this white girl, my friend, putting my oil in her right here. real friends can share cross-cultural intimacies like that. but until the netflix user algorithm include me and i had the idea that i had a predilection for watching white girls from the world. how can an about black feminist be in love with imagine worlds where white girls are the center of everything. it all started with the babysitters club. really it all started with kimmy brown, a mousy brown white girl who could fit the description of the moma can be which i loved. tammy screamed the love dirty figure to me on the playground
at recess when i was eight years old. i only registered bigger as a word i heard my father use among his friends because it wasn't insult. she delivered it with such force that my body recoiled from the shock of it even though i was not fully aware what she meant. that night i came home and asked my mama what does the word nigger mean? before my mother answered my face winced in pain and i said i had never seen that look before but i registered that she hated hearing and knowing that her daughter had been called such a thing. she stopped stirring the pot on the stove and looked at me and said, an ignorant person, a nigger is a ignorant person. tammy might have been an ignorant person but she initiated me into a world of knowing the worst sort.
now i want to read a bit from a chapter called bag lady. black women pay the highest cost for investing in respectability politics. first it breeds distrust between middle-class starting women and poor women of color. we, middle-class women, are taught that those women who were once quote unquote fact text girls make us look bad. i never thought is poor women make me look bad because my community of women was working-class and my mother reminded me when i became a bit too frivolous with her money, child, we are poor. like many americans in most black folk i know we live paycheck to paycheck and given
the dubious origins of my birth my family certainly would not have been invited to jack and jill. i knew very early on that i did not want to be like the girls in middle school saddled with children i cannot support due to a lifetime of low-wage work with little opportunity for advancement. these are the narratives that working-class quote unquote good girls buy into in order to make our way out of the hood. the goal do not be like them inmates are drive and hustle. now that i'm grown and no longer believe the black women should imbibe shame and blame for the great ways that we build families and lives in range for filling partnerships and work to maintain safe homes and steady employment. i spent my 20s and most of my 30s waiting on a partner to show up before i would ever consider children. i had never wanted to be a single mother. i bought into the idea that making good choices around education and career would entitle me to a broader set of options in every part of my life. the world doesn't work that way for black women. in my college the female to male
ratio was three-two and even assuming that everyone had hooked up in heterosexual. one third of black girls were automatically going to be left out. when i graduated from howard without having even one way from there it did not honor me that i was one of the 33%. the optimism of my 20s would not let me consider the numbers were not improved over the course of my life. my friends and i did not realize the structural cluster. >> until we were in the thick of things. suffice it to say we thought is all you people do that we had endless time, that are chosen bows would arrive in the are advanced degrees would bring us to a world of men with advanced degrees and earning potential, too. it hasn't worked out that way for a great many of us. in my 30s i became an unwilling member of the sisterhood of [inaudible]. black women disproportionately struggle with fibroid tumors in the medical science continues to
offer little explanation. after my fibroid surgery successful outpatient procedure i thought would buy me a bit more time by doctor, a lovely black woman gynecologist, told me more than likely your fibroids will return. perhaps this as part of the reminded of the dreaded by logical caucus having to tell my mother that since i had no partner might not give her grandchildren. for the first time i began to wonder whether i should've been less regimented and less reckless in my 20s when i was younger and had eggs to spare. black women deserve more options than these extremes. the same choices we make to not ruin our lives as young people become the choices that make us miserable 20 years later. part of what friendship has met in my 30s supporting my home girls in their 30s and 40s who have limited partnering options and even fewer options for starting families. the intimate consequences of all these good choices we have made our relentlessly brutal. yes, folks are quick to say, adopt and freeze your eggs and
try in vitro but with what money? black women in prime trying really have net wealth but many single women are first-generation middle-class with loads of educational debt and without a two income household and have no way to fund a creative family structure. the weight of the absence of the partners who did not show up, of the children you do not get to have an of the uterus robbed by fibroids is a burden known of us were properly prepared to bear. when i read fluffy self help literature where male preachers tell usually female parishioners that are social conditions are largely result of our personal feelings and individual bad choices i often want to throw the book or walk out of the service.
while i have, in fact, walked out of the service or two i have, thus far, refrain from storing books. those who preach the sermon whether in print or from the pulpit think they are empowering black women to address the conditions we face. empowerment is a tricky word. it's also a decidedly neoliberal word the places the responsibility for combating systems on individuals. neolalism is endlessly concerned with personal responsibility and individual self-regulation. it tells us in free market devoid of any regulation or credibility what happens to those on the bottom is entirely our faults. did we have enough drive? inefficient? an apostle? to change our condition. the politics of personal empowermt suggest to us that if we simply free our minds then assets will follow. i'm not convinced this is true. why? have you ever noticed that people who have real power, wealth, job security, influence do not intend empowerment seminars. power is not attained from books and seminars. not alone, anyway. power is conferred by social
systems. empowerment and power are not the same thing. must quit mistaking the two or better yet we must not settle for one when we need is the other. last let me read from a little bit from a chapter called favor into fare. if you've ever been to a black church you have heard this saying. survivors guilt shows up in a really odd way among black radical intellectuals or the ongoing narrative in black circle justice is that working-class black neighborhoods, the hood, the ghetto, the projects are revolutionary. one activist told me during the training for organizers that it was a job at black professionals and those of us who had made it to return to live in the hood. i lived for a my first five years in the projects and i
remember it and while the projects in a small town south are not at all comparable to the horror stories i hear coming out of urban ghettos i have no intention of returning. i don't have any guilt about it. the activist who insisted that i should want to return is himself first-generation middle-class. his parents grew up in the hood and he suffered from a serious case of [inaudible]'s solution was we all should return. i on the other hand witnessed exactly what the daily grind look like from my mother who has the nerve to have middle-class aspirations as she slowly, methodically worked away from a place in the projects to a modest apartment to a house. when i was for my mom, dad and i went to the grocery store. my mom was in her were close but looked phone tired. as the groceries iran down the conveyor belt my dad stood at the other end. when the time came to pay only my mother reached for her wallet and i looked at dad expecting
and waiting on him to contribute. he looked at me sheepishly almost shrugging is my mother paid for the groceries alone. why had my daddy not helped my mommy? in the months to come daddy bounced and strutting out the door once in the morning with a towel slung over his bare torso after my mother summoned the courage to tell him it's over. he left without incident refusing even to catch my eye as i sat on the sofa witnessing his exit. i asked my mother what motivated her to want to get out of the projects even though all of her friends to live there and she said simply i saw people going to sleep all around me and i wanted better for you. concentrated poverty meant that scene ambulances and hearing police sirens were a regular occurrence. one evening one of my mom's friends showed up holding a bloodied t-shirt in the back. her brother had been stabbed and though he would be fine she had
gone to the hospital to collect his belongings. i knew her brother and i was horrified to see the bloodied contents of that bag dangling from her hands when she stood in our living room. there is often little peace and quiet and less space to think when violence shows up at your living room. i told the young activists who began to belligerently insist on his revolutionary hood housing program that asking black women to move back into violent under resource bases do not seem particularly revolutionary to me. his resolution was rooted in a male centered conception of men politicking in the ghetto but black women revolution are about safety, food and education for women, children and the elderly. the matter where the sisters are we are making meals and raising children and keeping things together. when we do make it out you make it out in the simple hope that it will be easier to keep things together now. gilding the black folks particularly black women for
pursuing the safety, care and possibility for their children is not a freedom project. thank you. [applause] thank you. let me say a little bit about my process and why wrote this book. i'm an academic and professor at like to say a professional nerd and professional feminist. but i'm also the person in my family first to graduate from college and the first to get a phd and i wrote last spring a book called the on respectability, the intellectual thought of race women and that was more of an academic tone where i speak about black feminist across history and about their theoretical contributions. this book is the book that i wrote for my home girls and myself and for folks who do not have phd's and don't have no
degrees and might not ever come or sit in a college classroom who care deeply about what it means to live and thrive and be safe and to have some sense of possibility because those women raised me, women who did not have a great amount of access to education but deeply committed to the notion that anything was possible for their children. i like to tell folks that "eloquent rage" is a book you get if you sit at my house and we drink wine and talkbout how terrible patriarchy is. that is my goal in this book and the book is called eloquent rage for a couple of reasons. when i was a graduate student instructor i had a young black woman student in one of my courses who months after the class iran into me and we talked about the course and she said i loved listening to lecture because your lectures were
filled with rage but it was the most eloquent rage ever. i was like i'm not angry but passionate because i felt like the assertion that she wasee my rage in the classroom was an indictment of my teaching or the intellectual work i was there to do because often that is what happens to women. you're raising a concern about an injustice and people anytime you raise your voice people say why are you so mad or angry? come down. relax. any woman who's been in a room of men more powerful or who want to be powerful knows what that moment is like. i thought the anger and the calling out the anger was an indictment is wife really denied it and she sticks me with this blacker look at as brittney, you know you are angry. when a student calls out the teacher sometimes you have to give it a thought so i did and
it was a transformative moment for me. i had great respect for her as a student. she was smart and we are still connected today and one of my best students and i realized that she did not say i was not good at my job. she said that the anger made me better as a teacher and that was a revolutionary concept to me. the things i saw as a child and so much violence and a lot of instability in the younger parts my childhood and i had lots of anger because that stuff is rage inducing and i'm a black woman in america and a black girl from the deep south and all of those things can be rage inducing when you think about what it means to confront racism and sexism and as a kid dealing with non- extreme poverty but being working-class and having limited economic resources. i thought that my anger -- i'd only seen my father struggle
with addiction and was abusive and i'd only seen anger used in the most destructive ways i was deeply afraid of my own anger. to have a student, one, tommy i wasn't hiding it particularly well and, tell me she thought that was the strength of what he did and allowed me to have a breakthrough that i really needed and that breakthrough was that i had the right to be angry and that i could use that anger in service of the work i'm here to do in the world rather than resisting it or feeling ashamed about it or acting as though it isn't there. she called my anger, eloquent rage and so this is my tribute to her forcing me and for naming of breakthrough for me and hopefully me calling out and saying to others sisters who struggle with this i see you and it is fine. use it. don't run from it. [applause] yeah, that's what -- of trying to figure out how everyday had use my anger as a superpower and
trying to corral all t ergy into building something i want to see in theld and look, let me say at the outset i don't want to say i want to police the weight black folks use their anger. that may be controversial but i'm saying it and i know them saying it in baltimore. in fact folks need to take their anger out on the building or window, it's fine. i would rather us do that then us take our anger out on this embodied flesh. sometimes we have our priorities off that we care more about poverty than people and so i'm not saying anything to black folks. this not book is called elegant rage and i think a lot of times people think that when we talk about eloquence were talking elegant and those are not the same thing. i'm not senior rate has to look pretty or palatable and i'm not saying anything about it needing
to be respectable. i'm saying it needs to be eloquent and eloquent rage is an express of the target and people know who you're mad at and they have a sense that you're mad and why you are mad. i'm saying that that is an eloquent moment and that we should respect it and listen to it and that we should listen more to what is at the core of black rage and particularly black women's rage. these are times where everyone is mad. trump is mad, white men are mad, that's why the electrons and white ladies are mad and they don't know whether the elected trump another mad about it and it's weird. people are mad because we saw you white people doing this and we told you it was a bad idea and you did it anyway and now we have to live with the consequences and the ways in which you've been a terrible long before trump. in the ways in which he became the personification of the stuff you been doing forever and yeah, we mad about it. what i want to say is i don't
want to engage in false equivalencies. i take a side of black people and black women. so, i think that everybody is mad but i don't think all of our anger is equal i don't think it's equally righteous. i think that what we have in a moment where white mail rage is driving politics and off into a cliff and an abyss that we do not want to go into and i think that black women range could save us, not because black women are pure. black girls can be evil and terrible, too. i want to own it. one of the things i try to do in the book and the whole complexity is i don't want to make a singular pronouncement. there's always a nuance. black girls are not perfect. any black girl you know can point out that black girl that ain't quite right. i want to own that but structurally there's a thing about black women in politics that because were not seduced by
white supremacy and not seduced by male supremacy and because we are not male and whites we don't have access to what that looks like. structurally we tend to look at how can we make this work better for everybody. how can we take the nothing we have make something anyway. i'm not saying we should continue to give black women nothing and applaud them for making something but i'm saying given that we can typically make something out of nothing could happen if you give us something. imagine what we could do then? trying to hold that complexity in the book and these projects are connected beyond respectability of my academic book because what you want people to do is take black women is seriously in their fullness so in the academy i want my colleagues to recommend the black women have been the arising since the beginning of time.
we apparently have to keep on saying it. i'm happy to join the crse of a new generation of black folk in the academy having to say we are here we been saying this for a long time. i also want in this book one for black women to have the admission to stop demonizing and blaming ourselves for conditions we did not create and i want other people to see the seriousness thoughtful revolutionary forward thinking local actors. i don't think we get enough credit for that. i think we deserve that credit. those are some of things trying to achieve. [applause] okay. let's talk. who wants to come to the microphone? these things are no fun if i just talk. you can disagree with me. it's cool. it's all right. i just want to be in dialogue.
>> do not come all at once. >> thank you, brave soul. >> my name is floyd. i heard you this afternoon in my car at school and you blew my mind. thank you for coming. >> thank you. [applause] >> my question is about the conversation you are having about church in hell the god language and i wanted to know where the strength to resist that came from in such a culture that is so dominant. everywhere we go black people are so church oriented and i'm not particularly church oriented so what did you find the strength to be as objective as you been about the god language in relation to to feminism?
>> really great question. there's a chapter in this book called grown woman theology. would read you a little bit of it but i will tell you the opening story. it starts with a story about me going to see my grandmother. i'm about 22 and a real good evangelical. i'm committed. i've treated church and jesus like a treated getting a's. tell me the rules, tell me all the rules. i will follow the rules and read the bible every day for 30 minutes and i will do it becausa preacher and my mom got out of these terrible relationships and married my stepdad who is lovely. i'm a church girl through and through. i was committed to all these rules. go to see my grandmother and she's a church lady. the jeweled suits and hats and she's the lady picking the poundcake in the delicious food after church and she's an usher. i go to her and this is deep in the country and i'm from northern louisiana so the real part of the deep south in the drive down to the more rural
south to see my grandmother one day and walk up on the porch and is a walk up on the porch do you know the way the old black women read you your life when you never want them to. never the moment you want them to do i walk up on the porch and she says, you need to start having sex. i said what are you talking about? i was shocked and disturbed. the devil will use anybody. i am trying to live right. i'm celibate and miserable but that is what god wants for me. my grandmother was like, what are you doing? she had a very inappropriate conversation with me on that porch that, may god rest her soul, to this day i'm still not good enough for a grandmother even now. [laughter] that was the first thing is that what i came michael, after that moment i was still not a convert.
when i committed i was committed. grandma is wrong. many years later what happened was i tried -- i talk in this book that i was ably invested in evangelical christianity because it dovetails well with the metaclass aspirations. if you are a black girl rolling in the hood and trying to get somewhere and you see those around you struggling for me was teen pregnancy primarily because this was the '90s and the deep south were it was a crisis and i was like i don't want to make these choices and then you go to church and those traces are [inaudible] and if you want to be successful and follow these rules god will help you be successful and then your overachiever anyway it dovetails really nicely. you commit to it because
theology becomes a marker of middle-class aspirations and for me that became the story that all people would say to me if you put god first and do anything you want you can be successful. ive that because i want to great success. ... >> there was a lot of people who sound like that in our longing for the things that capitalism gives us. so, first i thought it was weird. treating god like the parking lot genie. but please let there be a parking place. because i have a real connection
to god a felt like god was saying is that what this is about? that was one thing. the other is that so much of the theological policing was round sex. we need to think about why the whole thing is about controlling women's bodies and sexuality. feminism gave me a language to know what that was about. at some point in my late 20s i came back to what my grandmother was saying. she said that, there's a more dynamic relationship to this theology than people give us credit for. she was deeply thoughtful. she loved god and believed in jesus but she also loved her life. she was inviting me to do the same. one thing i would say is the story is never as pretty as it sounds on the surface and asking people to dig in and figure out
what the relationship look like, i think what we find is more dynamism, more picking and choosing a more of a push and pull relationship. my grandmother was taking the parts that worked in leaving the parts that didn't. now i feel freedom to do the same. i recognize that what she wanted what she was saying is all this great success, we are proud of you. but, if you are not happy it's a failure, not a win. i think it is an uphill battle, because what churches do with the bible -- i have this whole thing about how black people are being eaten a live by capitalism and patriarchy. we don't get a lot, unless you
go to college you don't get a lot of tools to think about that. if you go to church and you can't make your ends meet and are being mistreate you relationship, boss who is racist and you know but you need your job. you go to church in here that god has a purpose for you, god will work this out for you. what it means is theology became becomes a stop gap between all the way the systems would crush us, but god. so we begin to use god to man like i think god is that it most like god empowers me to fight back against the system. for folks that don't have the language of the framework then god becomes the thing that protects you from everything the system is doing. if i say to church girls like go ahead and get you something god wants you to be free, there like
you are trying to ruin my whole life. you're trying to get me to make god mad at me. but i thought if i stepped down and think about this differently, what is the risk? it is actually high-stakes, for me my father was abusive and he died when i was nine. i had to be perfect to build this life for myself. i can have been days at school, have bed years for get detention, not make a's. like you have to be perfect it feels like to have this to get from here to there, my mother
was say do they know where that you come from? today know you come from real regular people? i like i don't know. but what i know is the climate steep. when it feels like critical you want everybody on your side and who you don't want to be on your side is god. you want god on your side when you're trying that hard. when you're messing with people's theology you're messing with one did a safety that people have. >> there good about same god loves us and cares for us but the thing that we oh is to follow all that word. folks get mad and it's because of fear of what will happen if they follow you down the path to what you were talking about. i try to work through it. i'm still a church girl, don't mess with me because i'll pray
about you and it might not work out for two. at the same time, a deeply feel like god was like, you're gonna miss me. because the theological tools you need to get me here are not the same as the others. i hope this gives black women the opportunity to redefine income to that conversation and think about it differently. [applause] >> hello. i'm a white girl asking the question. you are beautiful, thank you so much my wife asked me to come to your talk tonight so it's
awesome and a gift. thank you when did you start questioning the tools that you were brought up with in terms of believing in god, believing in the rules and when did you start questioning the roles this sounds like you have created new rules for yourself. >> i graduated at 28 with a phd, and then i got a job in alabama. i'm from louisiana, so things are not that different. i sitting in my apartment alone thinking this is good, i'm here with this degree. i'm young. and what are we going to do now? how do i build a life for myself now that i've made it?
but i had to think about what are the next phase would require. i think most of my friends had this reckoning when they were 22. but i seven i'm committed to something i am committed. some like nope i'm holding on. so when i was around 28 is that this is not working. i felt in with the mega- church kind of thing. i love grad school and was celibate for most of my 20s. this is the time of things are supposed to be wide open. i was not. i was boston books wide open and getting a phd. got alabama about this is terrible and what is going to happen?
one of my girls we're out i was doing this thing about trying to live life but i don't know. i said god knows you want to get some. it was it i just need a permission so for me it was the brecher point. the other thing is i have become a nuisance at my prior church. as like harassing the teachers this binary genders thing, that doesn't fit with with how people actually are. how does that work? i've never seen them run anything well.
so what happened was i was able to reclaim my skepticism which i have a lot of a note always be asking questions. i had church people to tell me to shut up. like i literally have them say things like, shut up. i thought that's not very jesus like. i typically take people on value i think your loving people but let's talking about theology and then they become on loving very quickly. i realize something was wrong. all of the stuff i learned in school would have me believe that i have a phd for no reason. i just realize there is a way these tools could work together.
i decided that what i care about most is being free, not being right. a lot of my childhood was spent with me being right. and impulse that we cracking kids when we kill their curiosity because they want the right answer and are afraid to be wrong or take risks. at some point not taking risk became more painful than doing the right thing. i was a little late to the party with this. sometimes it was reclaiming questions. the question i started task was icy black girls all around me were doing everything supposedly right. going to church, following rules, getting degrees and for
those of us were straight, black men hate us. for those westward queer the churches in trying to acknowledge us to begin with. so do you care about us. if you do, the theology that we are hearing is not loving us. if you actually care about us, what does this look like? at some point i made the connection. slaves they came up with the theology, they just said were going to be free we don't care. we know there's something divinely ordered about that. i realize sometimes i had to redefine my relationship to the bible. this tells me a lot about how folks have thought about their relationship to god overtime but
it's not a rulebook. the love ethic i support. but a lot of the nuts and bolts things i leave on the table. that makes my conservative evangelical friends mad, but i'm happier than they are. [applause] >> hello my question is grounded in politics which is good only thinking about the celebration of the death of martin luther king recently. identifies a black feminist and it has caused me a lot of pain. like you just said, i want to be free so that's why have to
stand. thinking about, how do you hold your peers, black academic males accountable their scholarship if they continue to write another book about mlk and started to the degree they do. we have lack scholars, public intellectuals who are often quoting a limited group of black males but not bringing black women into the story. so i thought you got a different type of education and i thought you went to school with me and would understand to bring this in the narrative. so any talk about others in the book and all that we talk about with the blackbody in particular
black men's body and the anti- lynching campaign and she is the revolutionary oven does not get her do. those are statements, wondering how do you push your peers? you should know this i should not have to be the one to continuously say -- >> thank you for the question. i agree with you. it makes me so mad that black men say the only people we want to talk about his mlk, and a couple others in every year we need to have another book about those. meanwhile if you write one book about anna julia cooper the like this doesn't say anything new. well what new things are they saying about others?
she lived to be a hundred five. they both wrote and work for over 60 years. first of all, i want to know how they live because i'm trying to live to be 105. how long how to get to live that long. they do this lifetime full of work and then people say were enamored with -- but they want you to write one book about the black woman and then they say you're not saying anything new because you know her. until i write about her for a hundred years i haven't said enough yet. since some of that is that you just need to have some moxie.
the martha jones of the world to is a professor here, these folks trained us to go on and be prepared for that fight. many are like those men. they had great ideas, never give credit ida b wells was like i mentored that boy and he didn't give me any credit. so these young black men following in their footsteps following in their footsteps in more ways than month one. if you think about freddie douglas a lot of them were womanizers. so, there following their model. what i'm saying more directly.
some of these are my friends and some are not, but when i think they get gender wrong i said to them. i talked to them about the way they want to take on ida b wells but they don't think about her as a feminist. american callout that brother same today because i don't want to be messy. i'm also say that they are drawn to those brothers for the same reason i'm drawn to the women. because they see an intellectual legacy. i'm not mad about that. i think they're engaged in sexism and should see the traditions but there's only so much fighting i'm going to do. i went to do it and show it how it's done. moscow to talk about scholars that are doing the work in putting forth black scholars.
in the academic conversation i have in this book i talk about solidarity between what black men in black women look like somebody tweet me today and was like you took my whole black male life but i love you for. unlike that's not what i was trying to do. there's a weird thing happening where black women are like were not feminist because white women are racists. d i'm like sure but black men are sexist and antifeminist very often you, you don't have a problem doing black politics showing up for black men so i would you let white women's races and keep you from that? >> so it just seems to not
always be that way. so black women get killed by the cops too. do black men march more? are they outraged collectively when black wom get kled or harmed by the cops? or when black men killed black women in eight die per week we don't have the national conversation about that and then you like where you hate now brothers. all of these brothers have been killed by clubs a lot of my career came after trayvon martin got killed in a spent several years writing the press weekly about what happened to black men.
my commitment to black men's lives in black men flourishing is on paper. and i have receipts to show for it. every black man he says that to me just want to see were his receipts are. i'm a black feminist because black women have the right to be at the center of our own story. our priorities matter. the way black men feel entitled to take up the racial space in the world is a problem. it is black women who say were trying for everybody, we want everyone to have a place. so i think there are real problems that it becomes hard to go it white women for their racism. i demand that african have any feminine solidarity you have to be willing to have an antiracism
analysis. when black girls say this to me just think less talk about the harm in your life and who has done this. my book i had a white girl call me the n word when i was eight. i had white girls not invite me to their birthday parties can the parents were racist. so harm, but i have seen black men, my mother is a survivor of gun violence at the hands of a black man. my father was shot four times in my lifetime and killed the fourth time, all by brothers. my brother my father was also abusive.
you can read more about that when i talk about the extreme levels of violence i witnessed and experienced as a kid. i wash black men do all of that. lethal,raumat and harmful forms. so, how do i square calle the en and word were you be my a or you shot and killed my daddy. so, all of it is a problem. all of it needs to be part of the political analysis. why girls don't do a good job holding it. what they see freedom as is the ability to do everything white men get to do. they are mad that they don't get
to do what white men get to do. they just want the power that white men have. they're just like freedom is being able to work live through the world that's a terrible freedom. look at what white men in the aggregate has done. it was in colonialism, war, capitalism. is that what we really want to be able to do? i think blackfin and feminism is what sets us apart. [applause] >> i'm in the process of the
question. i don't do very well. but, very intrigued with like the idea you talked about like making it out is something that is like a dirty word what to make it out you should go fast. i wonder how -- so, there are some racist people who say that making it out is almost like making it closer to whiteness in a sense. that makes sense. but think if you make it out you're coming closer toward is acceptable to what's acceptable
in our society is held by whiteness. i wonder how that idea in the dichotomy that we see. in baltimore there are ideas that are being gentrified and white people are coming in to take the place of people of color. i wonder how those few ideas that it's okay for you to want to get out of that space and seek safety. these forms that are invading, like how -- so it be the people were in that space will be left
defenseless. >> here's the thing. ultimately what we need to be committed to is that anyplace people live is a livable place. that's what the freedom vision has to be. that we have to think about how do these ghettos get formed. they can post on black communities. we talking about making it out, i don't understand that to be freedom. the fact that my mom and i were able to make it out of the projects to be freedom. it's exceptional us narrative. by the same token telling us just going back to the hood is the revolutionary thing to do is limited. in my making it out, or any persons it's not about aspiring
to whiteness. were not understanding that what black folks want is good schools, good jobs, bookstores like this. it turns out typically white people live in the places those things are because they are white people. what i am fighting against in the book, i'm critiquing a very particular thing. in these spaces and this might be the wrong but i've run into a lot of middle-class lack kids who are anxious about having a little bit of middle-class privilege. they preach at everybody about how the hood is so revolutiona revolutionary. i just want to challenge the notion by saying if they can
figure out how it was revolutionary when we are ready have revolutionary. the preponderance of our people are living in these conditions and to me it's disingenuous to make it into privilege spaces romanticize the hood. having the critique of being in the academy is what i'm supposed to do. i like being a professional nerd. last spring i got tenure and could call my dad and say, they can never take this job for me. they cannot take this job away even though i know they're trying to challenge and he was like i don't understand this. i said it's a guaranteed paycheck for the rest of my life. and he said say that again, what you mean?
so when i see young middle-class people saying year and elitist. it's like no. i know what it looks like for the folks who sacrifice for me to be here. i saw them hustle and work for me every day. i will not tell them it does not matter. i won't tell them that what i have is not materially different from what they have. i don't like fol acted like you could access them and all of a sudden -- so i'd be mad at my folks at home too. select go to school and get your lesson. make something of yourself. as soon as i got a phd. don't think that because you get a phd that you're better than anybody. what are you talking about?
you know it was hard and as soon as i got it then there's the stuff about, you think you're better. what are you talking about? you get educated and just because you have an education doesn't mean you know everything. no, it doesn't, but i might know something. like i might know something that could be of use. the problem is with folks who feel like they are better than everybody because they have degrees are the degrees made them. i had a clear sense of myself before i got a degree. the reason i was able to get degrees is in part because i went in knowing i was somebody. even with folks tried to take my somebody in us away they could and i know i'm somebody. that's the thing. that's more what i'm going against. the way that all of us and after
eggs with each other. what you need is a total structural overhaul. atny time advocate to what individuals need to do, then probably you're not near what revolution actually looks like. look, it is hard to watch white people gentrify things. for one, whi people colonize. gentrification is just colonization. why people are like we need to set drama in a plane your music after 10:00 p.m. because it's too loud for us. thing goes somewhere where it's not loud. at this locket slab. so why should every everything changed to suit you? the reality is, white people are
gentrified because there's capitalism too. white people run up the property value so much that they can't afford the place. sometimes i feel like i would love to write a piece about the surplus value of white lives. but i'm literally saying, this gentrification thing why people are so expensive that you cannot afford yourself. that means if you live in a system where black lives are undervalued than what life is overvalued in the system. all life should be valued. all life should be valued, the problem is, we spend will -- at some point you'll see this is a problem with capitalism.
right now, as long as there's black people you don't have to reckon with the ways that capitalism is ruining white folks lives too. black people came into these places from the great migration and o 70 years later black people are -- that inability to have any thing about where to live and build a community. i make good money. i'm probably middle-class now. none of that should translate i think about buying a house now. i cannot for the house is my white colleagues can afford. not even a little bit. solidly in the middle class. what that means to me doesn't look the same as my white tenure collects. i'm not going to have anybody's
net wealth reliant for a down payment. this can be whatever i can scrap and say four. the stress was true. same thinking like i did everything right. i made all the choices. proud of those things. but they tell you to get those things because it gives you kinds of access. i'm 37, i don't have children i'm not married, i don't own property. but i have is a lot of degree. but all the things that come with degrees doesn't happen. i live in a weird place because i'm an academic and we go where the jobs are. i'm saying that, very happy and proud of my life and one of the reasons i'm happy and proud is
because of feminism. he gave me the tools to redefine where i am. it gave me the tools to redefine that is not a failure. to say, this is the life i have chosen for myself. i would not have done it differently. a proud of the ability to have the tools to own property and put my name on it. feminism help me to see there are many other ways to match the life. that's why am thankful enough the conversation i wanted to have. boy do everything right and he still can't make it happen in the same way as your white counterparts can't. what you do see not depressed and feel like a failure. because maybe that was not the thing to want in the first place. what are the things i can bill for myself that are now about me maintaining a nuclear structure
that none of us can maintain i think it's about how the entire structure is becoming unlivable, it's not serving us particularly well. and what i care about black folks need to think about whether they should be gentrifying. it is the marker of the system that is designed to eat us a live. that is a conversation we should be having. that's what i'm thinking about. [applause]
[applause] >> i agree with you. i think the hard part, this is what i've been saying to white people, for unity at some level we have to build some trust in bonds of trust. part of the challenge they think white people have is you grow up in community with conservatives and so you want to humanize their very bad behavior. it's tough. the way that white men get humanized in the midst, think about the white male shooters and how they get past the troubled young men doing something. but were quick to not call them terrorists. even the kid, the domestic terrorists who committing these bombings in austin, it terrorize
communities of color there for several days. he said he was having problems at work and home. well who is not? so to humanize bad behaviors something white folk need to think through. one of the reason democrats -- i understand the ways in which their morally and politically bankrupt. one of the reasons is they still see republicans angry and have economic anxiety. they see them is so deeply human they're not attending to the destructive nature what that means. the rest of us don't have that privilege of seeing that brazen whiteness is anything other than racial terrorism. the other thing is why people
have to go get their people. , black feminist. most black people are like what are you talking about? i'm like no. patriarchy is terrible for black women. like i have to gather my people and help them think more critically about their politics. i feel like i have access to tools. why folk are like no. i'm liberal, i'm not like that. that's the wrong approach. those are your people. and here's why. white people as a group, if you look at them politically, continue to vote in ways that maintain white supremacy. white people are moving as an identity category to maintain white dominance. that's what the election was at the base level.
black people are like look, hillary and i talked often but will take her. we don't need a radical change just for the sake of radical change, white people make those choices so the explanations fall flat on their face when what is more true is that the country is drowning, it will be a majority, minority country. white men feel every type about that. white people feel some type of wave, white men in particular feel and i say feelings because feelings are not factually rooted. white men have more wealth and more power than everybody, they're still on top. but they feel like they're
slipping. and because they feel that way -- patriarchy tells us about the way that these go toget when your white -- and when you're black your facts get treated as feelings. it's also true for men and women. that's why have to have a political analysis to help get at the root of things. what i'm saying is that we see things moving in ways to maintain white dominance. they became race women. champions for the race. that's what white women did. were gonna back our book brother. we understand that impulse.
we didn't see white women as being racial black feminist like to talk about it but, the white women moved in ways their categories o dominance. once you know something about race and gender, you have to go get it. you see it moving in a way that is going to harm, but they are you. that's your church lady, your yoga friend. when i see black women having feelings like that i feel like i have to go talk to them and say look, were not gonna fight black women because we have to fight
white woman. why are we going to battle for category and then make someone else fight, that's terrible. so, go gather my people. m not like i don't have a problem with you so i'm not like the others. yes i am. i don't say sums a black woman in black women -- you need to have a conversation. and folks say it is so hard. yes, i know. i am very clear about how hard it is. but i talked to brothers about it. who wants to partner with a man, black man on feminism.
look, my partners a man and we are great. he's like i'm not sure about that but i'm going to treat you right. women are cool, i'm not trying to harm women but the thing i figured out when i was young is like -- are terrible. all the dudes who can talk to you about things in depth, they have so many feelings they cannot get out or, they're just using it but have not done any work. what i have figured out are the dudes you want is the dude who
likes women as people. baby has women who are friends and i just see them as people to have sex with. mostly, they might look at you strange but they also find it interesting. just find a dude who likes women as people. we can do all of the stuff, we can talk about liberalism and decolonization. we talk about that and then we still treat people like trash. we do not allow people to be in
process. that is why if we really say we don't have a policy or politics of disposability but when you don't get it right we throw you away. i'm not telling you to excuse that, folks were in process, if you saw me 20 years ago, they don't recognize this girl. a 17 i was evangelizing people on the street, talking about how at best i might want that. that's what was 17 years ago. but i had in the opening story, running routes and i'm not
feminist adjusters simply state i heard somebody say it and i was like yes, that's right. one of my home girls was like that's crazy, here's something for you to read read it and stop talking crazy there like you're talking crazy right now inform yourself do better and we're still friends to this day and she didn't throw me away because i become a feminist immediately that she was like there's a way to do better like what some just
is so deeply drained even unconsciously with the myself particularly when talking to other black boys and we have gotten into the current term of tramp or slot so there's no such thing as a b term. i had it my classroom ab and n-word freezing home. it came out of her 15-year-old mouth and that i went into an aspect for writing of a
brilliant african writing. then within my troop we have a talented transgender young woman they talk about their sexuality and being gay. what was so permeating is were calling this incredibly brilliant young woman the dignity of the pronoun if she and she was assaulted by ten african black boys who beat her to the point that she received a concussion and charges were pressed but, because the young person witnesses they were not say who is involved in it the case was thrown out. it goes back to that lack of
respect, how can it be combated. i do stand up comedy and i got in a battle with others about how ridiculous it is for you to know the strategy, the budget, personal challenges of a basketball football player but you don't know your child's school schedule. you don't know what's going on with your partner in your life and you read about the multimillionaire man who doesn't care in the money crack jokes about they could be like suspect or anything they get mad about that by saying it was ridiculous for them to idolize sports.
how can it be combated to patriarchy and misogyny and for us to elevate ourselves and make our community and world better? >> i wanna -- trance white woman have a life expectancy -- transit black women have a life expectancy of 35 years. that is something we need to do something about it. whether there folks who are struggling what is great is that you're in the trenches and figuring it out. you are modeling another way to
be. they may not have seen another man like you. sometimes it doesn't click until much later. the folks who are transformative and never clicked when i was a young person. was years later before is like oh yeah, that is what they're trying to tell me. being in the trenches and embodying the model there's a motive reflection that you can be a 55-year-old person is still grow. be in that model matters. i think you're right it's an intense problem. the most intense change comes with folks that areolding space and you are already doing that. being willing to grow to do the internal work.
many times we haven't done a lot of work in that's what happens in a sustained way. a commitmen to realize that growing up like the deep south internalizing a lot of homophobia. this is an ongoing, daily process. when i said i want all black people to be free, i really mean it. i think the young lady struggling, let your girls -- fight the battle. maybe a better conversation is around one of those categories to her what they're trying to
trans and respect him in he midst of transition and is modeled as regular so might we worth having a talk around the episode abuse sometimes the kid need to see there is another world that is possible it and isn't aberrant to embrace folks the way they, and the reason men is assaulting young women is we tied their mass clint to doing this sort of violence sexual everything. so we have to real forthright conversations, one, about respecting bodily dignity have deep conversation wizdown men but consent and young men why they think sexuality is about violence rather than about consent and pleasure and it's the one place where they feel like they have some notion of masculinity, and you have to put the question on the table. think you have to be combative about that. what kind of man do you want to be? that assaults women is?
urban hood so fragile you can't coexist with sne living thunder truth. so be combative force them to define the terms of their man idaho and then be a model for what -- no one would like at you and be like, you ain't no man. and so be the -- embodies the model, even if they don't think you in the what you're talk us about, embodies it for them anyway because its clicks at some point. it really does. [applause] >> thank you. i appreciate whator doing. youe menon racism several times and white women racists and i wonder if the work after jane elliott is one thing that might happen because i have been working on, trying to bring that to teachers teachers and teacher candidates, but to police and to any other organizations,
whatever. so what do you tech -- >> i like jane elliott's work just fine. aim down for any white person who is deeply notice antiracism. i like her work. i like robin diangelo's work ask this new book called "so you want to talk about race," black woman who write outs resours for white folks to talking about race. so anybody committed to the struggle can come with us in the revolution and i want to hold this truth. anybody commitsed to the anruggle come but the revolution is not just for the people that you like. it's for everybody. that's it. [applause] >> brittany thank you so much. will you be -- brittany cooper, "eloquent rage."
will you be around for book signing. >> yes. >> thank you for coming. own again, brittany cooper. [applause] >> thank you. [inaudible conversation] >> general h -- for the confederacy in the civil wariments here in front of this statue we spoke with author steve woodworth to learn more about history being -- if at the store of northwestern civil war, i fine that a very interesting story, and i wanted to present it in a way that would be interesting both as students and to at the reading public. now, i published it with a text book publish are so it's goi