Black and Queer: Intersections of culture and community

Thursday, February 28, 2008

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Written by www.thecannon.ca

This Wednesday, February 27th the Women of Colour Collective hosted a panel discussion in celebration of Black History Month entitled; Intersections - Community, Culture and Queer Black Women. Three speakers from activist, theoretical, artistic and personal backgrounds examined the ways race, sexuality and gender meet and interact.

Jade Ferguson, a professor of English and Theatre studies at the University of Guelph delivered a highly academic talk. She noted how women of colour feminism has had the longest engagement with racialized sexuality. Her main subject matter was shame and how although respectively black and queer communities can talk to each other of oppression a more effective experience to communicate through is shame. She asked the audience what it would be like to embrace shame and its effect on identity formation, as well as the value shame has in its ability to cross lines between blackness and queerness.

Nadijhah Robinson is an activist, artist and student at the University of Ottawa. She shared both her personal experience of being black and queer as well as a video of other oral histories of queer women of colour. She talked about being asked; ‘where are you from?’ on a regular basis and explained how this question assumes she is not from here which ‘others’ her.

Robinson also spoke of searching for her roots, a process that lead her to colonialism and slavery. For her, Black History Month is a reminder to draw strength from her ancestors as a collective.

The finial energetic panellist was Tomee Sojourner, a labour organizer, public speaker, feminist and academic. She has done research on how women of colour experience racism in the workplace and how those experiences are written onto their bodies. She made a political and personal decision in her youth to always be ‘out’ in every situation. Living and organizing as a queer black woman she has learned to navigate difficult spaces and situations while staying true to her identity.

Following the panellists’ speeches a lively discussion ensued.

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  1. Posted by: Brendan on Mar 6, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    This was such an epicly good talk.

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