The essence of Black Feminist Thought remains different from “conventional” feminism. This is because the latter does not capture the experiences of women and other marginalised groups who do not fit the white, middle-class demographic. Black women continue to occupy a patently unique space in society where they are marginalised not only based on their sex but also class, race, age and ethnicity among numerous other social categorisations. In addition, they face constant pressure to choose between their identity as women and their racial identities and also endlessly battle pressures to confirm flawed societal stereotypes in contrast to the identities formed from their unique and diverse upbringings.
In this issue of Social Dialogue, the submissions address Social work through a black feminist lens most of which reflect Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of Intersectionality and explore ways in which racism, sexism and classism are conterminous in diverse contexts across the globe. Eradicating exploitation, marginalisation, powerlessness, cultural domination and violence that black women experience is key to liberating them from the multiple levels of oppression they face. Also, understanding social work from a black feminist perspective is crucial to recognising the stark limitations of Eurocentric views and assumptions of the black community and the developmental, health and socio-economic consequences this engenders. Hence, comparing and defining oppressed groups by Western, white, middle-class standards worsens oppression and lead to constant failure of black communities to reach Western standards of development.
Contributors also address several other important and interesting topics and offer social workers the opportunity to locate themselves in this global issue and map out how to make positive impact. This issue is particularly unique not only because it addresses an often disregarded but important concept, but also because we get to know about personal and professional experiences as well as observations of black people working in practice, academe, policy and activist organisations and how their resilience and passion drives and sustains their work and hope for a better world.
I commend all the contributors and fellow editors for their excellent and meaningful submissions. A special thank you to Carolyn Noble, Editor in Chief for seeing the need and urgency to share this platform to highlight and explore the issues, contributions and challenges of Social Work through a Black Feminist Lens.