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Symone McCollum's Capstone


This video delves into the history of Black women and how the past contributes to the psychosis that impedes on the value of black female life. With background knowledge from Patricia Collins, Belle Hooks  and Elwood Watson, this video is an analytic view of  problems that makes strides towards brainstorming solutions.

Why does Black Lives Matter not mean Black women and trans folk? Why are women at the forefront of freedom-fighting whereas their deaths rarely make national or local news? How can we change this cycle? We can address it, and promote active-agency for young women of their bodies and political personas.

Black women face many, many obstacles and challenges in career, family, and community life. Without a self affirmative attitude, we’d all be dead in the water… the odds are too firmly stacked against us. But, with a sense of self and a graduated sense of self as we progress in life as well as a community of like minded women and men we are unstoppable. Just by being apart of this video and speaking to these educators and students about what WE feel matter just further proves that we are unstoppable.

This video is to boost to the SLA community that we are unstoppable and to be unapologetic for anyone who feels uncomfortable with any ideas and arguments brought up in this video.

  1. Watson, Elwood D. "Violence Against Black Women Is Too Often Overlooked or Dismissed." The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

Writer from the Huffington Post, Elwood Watson, wrote an article explaining that police brutality against Black women is just as unacceptable as other groups who deal with police brutality. His conclusion was the idea that black women are misrepresented in the media and that needed to change immediately.

Elwood Watson is a professor of history at East Tennessee University studying both African American history as well as gender studies. His education level reassures me that his information should be accurate and debateable. This is a reliable source because I can go anywhere and also see this pattern. I can also research a few of the names he mentioned and find that all of the information is accurate. The Huffington Post is also a reliable source because it has variety in topics and opinions from different professors and doctors all over the world.

This source connects to the idea of Black women being on the fringe of conversations on police brutality. It gives me direct examples of women who were victims of police brutality. Knowing a few examples can add to my argument and pave the way for me to find information on other victims.

(2) Hooks, Bell. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. London: Pluto, 2000. Print.

“Feminism Is For Everybody” by Bell Hooks illustrates difficulties faced by Black women in the feminism movement. In her argument, she suggests that the men must join the feminist movement. She believes that in order for a society to be truly free of sexism, both men and women have to believe and fight for the same cause. In the book, she also reflects on a few events in feminist history. There are sections on the successes, failures, collaborations, etc. Hooks was also sure to include a section that spoke on what it meant to NOT be a feminist. She suggests that feminism has no class, or race. It’s about the empowerment of women as a unit.

Bell Hooks is well known for her extraordinary pieces of writing ranging in topics from gender to race and capitalism. Being known as a cultural critic and political thinker gives people reasons to listen to her when she speaks. Her consistent writing and practices of black feminism has made her one of the most respected Black writers of her time.

When understanding why Black women aren’t referred to in conversations on violence, it is important to first understand how Black women aren’t referred to in general. There are a lot of issues faced by Black women that are never reported or made to be as important as the unique difficulties men go through. This source explains the history of Black women are oppressed and adds to my argument of how equally important the lives of Black women are as opposed to Black men.

(3) "Fighting Words." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

Patricia Collins touches on various topics such as mothering, white supremacy, poverty and oppression in her book “Fighting Words.” Her book explores why certain aspects of feminism are theories and why some still remain just “thoughts.” She also believed that with new demands from African American women comes new dynamics for the world in general. While reaching into the minds of people who disagree with her stance, Collins was able to pull out the weaknesses in their arguments, making her stance stronger and untouchable.

Patricia Collins is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland as well as the former head of the department of African American studies at the University of Cincinnati. Sociology investigates the structure of human society. Since Collins has a strong background on different structures, it’s easy to point out who gets the shorter ends of these structures. Knowledge on structures also allow space to critically think on how to improve them so it potentially benefits everyone.

An analytic view on the system we live in is crucial for my thesis, especially on systems that affect Black women. Learning how Collins breaks down the system and how it’s failing Black women gave me a better perspective on what I’d write for my paper. I’d be sure to include quotes from her book that show how women are trying to make change. It’s not like women are letting these things happen without saying anything or acting on it. There is a lot that women do to resist the system, but some methods are more effective than others.

(4) B.D.K., Moreh. "The ‘Female Eric Garner’ Who Suffocated To Death In Police Custody." Counter Current News. N.p., 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

“The female Eric Garner” is in reference to Sheneque Proctor. This article explores her death and inquires if it was an accident or caused by police. They also touch on the passings of Black men and the “open season” session police have had to Black men. The last point of the article was to plead for answers so the family can move on with their lives and to prevent another “I can’t breathe” story.

This source is credible because when researching who Sheneque Proctor was and how she died, the information found in this article is identical. The perspective is in favor of my argument because it isn’t justifying her death in favor of the police. The source also has plenty of articles that are credible (unrelated to my topic).

This article proves that Black women go unnoticed unless there’s a direct reference to a man. Calling Proctor “the female Eric Garner” takes away from her unique story. The media is responsible for how Black women are viewed and presented to the public. Articles like this send a message to men and women that Black women do not matter and that’s not the case. Articles like this also make it seem that noticing violence against women is a bad thing, so there needs to be a direct reference to a man.  

(5) Williams, Jennifer. "Feminism Is Not Just About Women’s Oppression." Ms. Bloc Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

This article speaks on why women should care about police brutality. They explain that women should care because women are starting to feel a nervous energy when thinking about raising Black men in a community where shooting unarmed civilians is ruled as “right” or justified. The article also suggests that police brutality against black men isn’t supporting women’s reproductive rights. Women don’t have the right to choose anymore because they’re forced to believe that raising black children in today’s society is wrong.

Typically, a blog is not the best source. There is information that could easily be found on the internet, however, the article could be written by anyone with no background knowledge. The gold about this source is that it is written by a human being who notices the difficulties Black people go through. The other gold part about this source is it an ideal that many people believe in. A lot of people ignore the fact that violence from police against black women happens. This source gave me the perspective of someone who brushes off Black women as targets.

This source proves my thesis to be true. This article brushed off the fact that Black women are targets of police brutality too, not just Black men. They had the audacity to suggest that the main reason any Black women should care about police brutality was because they had to raise children in this type of society. What about simply living in this type of society? Black women’s lives are at risk too, not just their children. This article is telling every Black women who reads this trash that they are only put on earth to reproduce and not care about themselves or their sisters who are risk to police brutality. While they do touch on victims of police brutality, that is something that should have been brought up first, not last. Black lives does not only mean Black men.

(6)   Smith, Mychal. "The Normalization of Violence Against Black Women." The Normalization of Violence Against Black Women. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

This article speaks on how violence against Black women continue to go unnoticed or unimportant. It explores the unique occurrences of Miriam Carey and Marissa Alexander. Miriam Carey was shot for trespassing on White House property and Marissa Alexander was sentenced to prison for killing her abusive boyfriend. The Nation made it their priority to tell readers the U.S. congress applauded the police responsible for shooting unarmed Miriam Carey in front of her child and wondered why it was looked up to. This article also speaks on how violence against Black women is more than physical acts.

This is a reliable source because information said about Miriam Carey and Marissa Alexander can easily be researched and proven true. The reform policies and quotes from Barack Obama can also be looked up and backed up. This is also a reliable source because, while it may be biased, it gives a perspective that is relevant to my topic of brutality against Black women. The source also has an author and publish date.

This idea that violence, in all forms, is ignored by the government is one of great importance to my thesis. The concluding idea of the article was that while there are many types of violent acts against black women, the more important thing to notice is that this is a real thing. It is very real, and little is being done to change this. Accepting this willingly or unwillingly is a problem. As strong of a force “#BlackLivesMatter” is, the same amount should be reciprocated towards Black women.

(7) Savali, Kirsten W. "Black Women Are Killed by Police, Too." Dame Magazine. Dame Magazine, 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

This article was about how black women remain underrated. It expresses its concerns with how little the media covers these traumatic stories of women. The author knows that the assumption of all negative things within the black community only reflects men of the community. People have these assumptions that bad things only happen to Black men.Thus leaving women without a voice on these issues. They also express that while lives of Black men matter, we must be thinking of the women who experience the same trauma.

This article is a credible source. Dame Magazine is known to be the place women (specifically women of color) go to to find out the latest news on stories that represent them and their lifestyles. Dame Magazine talks politics, fashion, culture and celebrities with a mix of races, views, and opinions.

Only considering Black males in conversations on violence is what needs to be changed. The point of the article is to realize that only Black men are thought of and what we can do to change this assumption. My thesis is built on this assumption of violence in the Black community and this source will help me breakdown the relationship between this assumption and what we can do to change it.

(8) Kovavisarach, Mint. "African-American Female Victims of Police Brutality."Froth Magazine RSS. N.p., 14 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

This source critically focuses on the lack of media coverage for Black women who were victims of police brutality. Their main idea is that as racism escalates, sexism does too. Police officers are getting away with cold murder not only on Black men, but Black women as well. Something is wrong with the police system, obviously, but no one is picking up on it as easily as they should when it comes to the black community. This is where sexism and racism come hand in hand.

This source is a blog, so ideally it’s not credible. But, I read up on a few of the names and events they mentioned such as the deaths of Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, and Aiyana Stanley Jones. The information I found on the internet was identical to what was mentioned in the blog post. Several pieces of this article reference the oppression of Black women which will be extremely helpful on a paper trying to uplift Black women.

This connects to my thesis because it shows a clear correlation between Black women and the media. A lot of people have never heard of theses stories, including myself. This is the problem. The problem is with the lack of thought for Black women. We need to be talked about, too.

(9) Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.

In Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hills suggests that knowledge is the most important weapon to face and defeat oppression. As long as women of color remain unified, determined and intelligent, and opposing force will not last. Hill also suggests that before any change is made, women of color must know what oppresses them to begin with. It is almost impossible to argue for better treatment without knowing and understanding what systems are set in place to hold women of color back.

This book relates to my capstone by providing a clear relationship between women of color and oppression. This book touches a bit on perceptions of beauty in the Black community which could be useful as well. Patricia Hills is known for her credible work and credible sources to back up her opinions and methods on fixing this oppression.

(10) Hooks, Bell. Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston, MA: South End, 1981. Print.

In Ain’t I A Woman, Patricia Hill speaks about racism and sexism and how the two blend negatively with Black women. Similar to what I believe, Hill also argues about racial stereotypes set against women and how they were set back in days of slavery. While white women were being praised and looked at as beautiful, they were also marginalizing Black women. They were forcing people to believe that being Black and a woman was the worst thing you could possibly do, which isn’t true.

My capstone is going to focus on the empowerment of Black women and what they actually contribute to society. I want to make sure that the students I speak to understand what their  ancestors went through and they they learn how to deal with these odds set against them. I want them to be able to look at these struggles I tell them and feel empowered instead of frightened. A lot of ideas in this book will help me figure out what to say to these kids and how to make it transform into a message of empowerment.