Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to an insightful conversation about activism, intersectionality, and the fight for social justice. Today, we have the incredible opportunity to interview none other than Mikki Kendall, a prominent writer, speaker, and advocate who has made significant contributions to the world of feminism and racial justice.
Mikki Kendall’s voice has resonated across various platforms, rallying people from all walks of life to address the pressing issues that continue to plague our society. With her passionate advocacy and compelling insights, she has captured the attention of countless individuals seeking meaningful change. As an acclaimed author, Mikki has penned thought-provoking works such as “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That A Movement Forgot.” Her book challenges traditional feminist narratives and exposes the limitations of mainstream activism, urging us to examine the intersections of gender, race, and class in the pursuit of equality.
But Mikki Kendall’s influence does not end with her writing alone. She is a sought-after speaker known for her captivating talks on diversity, inclusion, and the importance of amplifying marginalized voices. Through her speeches, Mikki ignites a spark within her audiences, empowering them to challenge systemic oppression and dismantle the barriers that prevent true equality.
Today, we have the privilege of delving deeper into Mikki Kendall’s journey, exploring her motivations, experiences, and visions for a more just society. We will uncover the inspirations behind her work, her perspective on current social justice movements, and the strategies she employs to effect meaningful change.
So, join us as we embark on this enlightening conversation with Mikki Kendall, where we aim to gain invaluable insights into the world of activism and the path towards a better, more inclusive future.
Who is Mikki Kendall?
Mikki Kendall is a prominent writer, speaker, and cultural critic, known for her remarkable contributions to the realms of feminism, race, and social justice. With her insightful analysis and thought-provoking commentary, Kendall has established herself as a prominent voice in contemporary conversations surrounding intersectionality and equality. Her work encompasses various mediums, including books, articles, and public speaking engagements, where she addresses issues such as racism, sexism, and the impact of societal structures on marginalized communities.
One of Kendall’s notable works is the critically acclaimed book “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot.” In this powerful collection of essays, she highlights the importance of inclusivity within feminist movements and sheds light on how mainstream feminism often fails to address the needs and concerns of women from marginalized backgrounds. Her work in “Hood Feminism” serves as a call to action, urging society to recognize and rectify the shortcomings of previous feminist movements.
Aside from her written contributions, Kendall is also highly sought after as a speaker. Her compelling talks provide audiences with an engaging and enlightening experience, as she tackles pressing issues head-on and challenges societal norms. By combining personal anecdotes, rigorous research, and an unwavering commitment to justice, Kendall captivates audiences and leaves a lasting impact.
Through her work, Mikki Kendall has become an influential figure, inspiring individuals to critically examine their own beliefs and contribute to building a fairer and more equitable society. With her incisive insights and dedication to creating meaningful change, she continues to be a force in the ongoing struggle for equality and social justice.
Here you can watch a video about Mikki Kendall’s talk about “Hood Feminism” on YouTube.
20 Thought-Provoking Questions with Mikki Kendall
1.Can you provide ten Hood Feminism quotes which can represent this book’s theme?
“Speak, even if your voice shakes.”
“You are not too much and you are not not enough. You are exactly enough.”
“Our stories link us—they make us a community, they make us a movement.”
“I can be a beneficiary of a system and still see the ways that I am oppressed.”
“We owe it to ourselves to build the kind of world and the kind of meaning that center our experience.”
“What we do never has to be perfect. It just has to move us closer to the liberation that we seek.”
“We always have the agency to make a change, and it’s best to do it before a crisis happens.”
“We have an obligation to one another to lean in and sit with our collective discomfort.”
“When you recognize your power, you can make a difference in the world.”
“The strength of our nation lies in its ability to recognize the harm done to its minority citizens and to collaborate in making it right.”
2. What motivated you to write this book and shed light on the concept of “hood feminism”?
I wrote the book “Hood Feminism” because I felt an urgent need to shed light on the concept of “hood feminism.” Throughout my life and activism, I observed that mainstream feminism often failed to address the specific experiences and struggles faced by women in marginalized communities, particularly those living in poverty. There was a glaring absence of intersectionality and recognition of the unique challenges faced by women of color, queer women, disabled women, and low-income women.
My motivation stemmed from a deep frustration with the ways in which feminism has historically centered the concerns and perspectives of white, affluent women, while largely ignoring the issues faced by those in marginalized communities. I wanted to challenge this narrow focus and bring attention to the fact that feminism should be inclusive and encompass the lived experiences of all women, regardless of their social and economic backgrounds.
“Hood Feminism” sheds light on the concept of “hood feminism” by exploring the interconnectedness of race, gender, and class, and how they intersect to shape women’s experiences. It offers a framework for understanding the unique challenges faced by women in marginalized communities and highlights the importance of addressing these issues within the feminist movement.
In writing this book, my goal was to amplify the voices and experiences of women who have been overlooked and marginalized within feminism. I hoped to start meaningful conversations about the need for intersectionality, inclusivity, and a more expansive understanding of feminism that goes beyond the needs of privileged few.
3. How does “Hood Feminism” challenge or expand upon traditional notions of feminism?
In “Hood Feminism,” I challenge and expand upon traditional notions of feminism by centering the experiences and voices of marginalized women. Traditional feminism has often focused on issues that predominantly affect white, middle-class women, disregarding the unique struggles faced by women of color, low-income women, and those living in marginalized communities.
By addressing the concept of intersectionality, I aim to dismantle the idea that feminism is a one-size-fits-all movement. In my book, I explore how issues like poverty, housing insecurity, healthcare disparities, and food inequality intersect with gender and race, affecting women who have been historically overlooked by mainstream feminism.
I emphasize the importance of including these issues in feminist conversations and activism because they are integral to achieving true equality for all women. By broadening the scope of feminism, we can work towards dismantling systems of oppression that disproportionately affect marginalized communities, ultimately creating a more inclusive and effective movement.
4. In your book, you mention the importance of intersectionality. Could you elaborate on how it is addressed and emphasized within the context of “Hood Feminism”?
In “Hood Feminism,” I explore the ways in which mainstream feminism often fails to address the specific needs and concerns of marginalized communities, particularly those living in impoverished neighborhoods. I emphasize the importance of intersectionality, which is the understanding that different forms of oppression and discrimination intersect and compound each other.
l unpack how issues such as poverty, race, education, housing, healthcare, and violence are interconnected with gender inequality. I also highlight that focusing solely on gender without considering the broader social, economic, and racial contexts may perpetuate the exclusion of women from marginalized backgrounds.
To address these concerns within the context of “Hood Feminism,” l advocate for a feminism that acknowledges and prioritizes the experiences of marginalized women. I stress the importance of centering the voices and perspectives of women who face multiple forms of oppression and recognizing the unique challenges they encounter.
My book explores various topics through an intersectional lens, including reproductive justice, food insecurity, gun violence, and the criminal justice system. By delving into these issues, I aim to broaden our understanding of feminism and encourage a more inclusive approach that takes into account the diverse experiences and struggles faced by marginalized women.
5. What are some of the specific issues faced by women of color that you believe mainstream feminism often fails to address adequately?
Intersectionality: Mainstream feminism tends to overlook the intersectional experiences of women of color. It fails to recognize that gender discrimination is not the only form of oppression they face. Women of color also deal with racial discrimination, classism, ableism, and other intersecting forms of marginalization. Recognizing and addressing these interconnected systems of oppression is essential.
Beauty standards and representation: Mainstream feminism often fails to challenge Eurocentric beauty standards and the lack of representation for women of color in media, fashion, and popular culture. The limited representation perpetuates harmful stereotypes and reinforces white beauty ideals, ignoring the diverse beauty and experiences of women from different racial backgrounds.
Economic disparities: Women of color face significant economic inequalities due to wage gaps, occupational segregation, and limited access to educational and career opportunities. These economic disparities are often overlooked within mainstream feminist discourse, which predominantly focuses on gender-based pay gaps without considering the unique challenges faced by women of color.
Reproductive justice: Issues related to reproductive health, such as access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare, contraception, and safe abortions, are often inadequately addressed by mainstream feminism. Women of color often face additional barriers due to systemic racism, making it essential to advocate for reproductive justice that takes into account their specific needs and experiences.
6. Can you discuss the role of privilege and its impact on feminist movements, as discussed in your book?
In “Hood Feminism,” l emphasize the significance of understanding privilege and its impact on feminist movements. I highlight how mainstream feminism often fails to acknowledge the unique challenges faced by marginalized women and communities, especially those living in poverty or affected by racism, ableism, homophobia, or other forms of discrimination.
I argue that privilege can blind individuals to the experiences of others. When feminists with privilege only focus on their own concerns and advocate for issues that primarily affect them, it perpetuates inequality within the movement itself. By disregarding the needs and struggles of marginalized groups, the feminist movement unintentionally reinforces the very systems of oppression it aims to dismantle.
Furthermore, I urge feminists to take a more intersectional approach, incorporating multiple dimensions of identity such as race, class, and ability. Recognizing and addressing the ways in which privilege intersects with gender is crucial for creating a more inclusive and effective feminist movement.
My mood is one of urgency, frustration, and a desire for change. I call for feminists to broaden their perspectives and actively work towards dismantling systemic barriers that prevent marginalized communities from experiencing true equality.
7. “Hood Feminism” talks about the need for broader solidarity among feminists. How can we bridge the gaps and work together towards achieving a more inclusive movement?
To bridge gaps and work towards a more inclusive feminist movement, we need to adopt several approaches:
Recognize intersectionality: Understanding that feminism intersects with various forms of oppression is crucial. Intersectionality acknowledges that people’s experiences are shaped by multiple identities such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and more. By centering the experiences of marginalized women and incorporating diverse perspectives, we can build a more inclusive movement.
Amplify marginalized voices: It is essential to actively listen to and elevate the voices of those who have been historically ignored or silenced in mainstream feminism. Ensuring representation and providing platforms for individuals from different backgrounds to share their experiences and perspectives can foster a more inclusive movement.
Collaborate across movements: Building solidarity involves working together with other social justice movements, recognizing the interconnectedness of various struggles. By joining forces with movements addressing racial justice, economic inequality, LGBTQ+ rights, disability rights, and others, feminists can create a broader coalition that addresses the needs of all marginalized individuals.
Address systemic issues: Broadening the scope of feminism requires recognizing and addressing the systemic inequalities that perpetuate oppression. This includes advocating for changes in policies, institutions, and cultural norms that contribute to marginalization. By challenging oppressive systems, we can work towards a more inclusive society.
8. You emphasize the significance of centering marginalized voices in feminist discourse. How can individuals amplify these voices effectively?
Listen and learn: Actively seek out and listen to the experiences and perspectives of marginalized individuals. Read books, articles, and listen to podcasts or speeches by marginalized voices to gain a deeper understanding of their struggles.
Share the spotlight: Instead of dominating conversations, intentionally create space for marginalized voices to speak. Amplify their ideas and achievements by promoting their work through social media, recommending their books or articles, or inviting them to speak at events.
Educate others: Use your privilege and knowledge to educate those around you about the importance of centering marginalized voices. Engage in respectful discussions and challenge stereotypes or biases when you encounter them. This helps create a ripple effect of awareness and understanding.
Diversify your sources of information: Seek out a wide range of perspectives by following diverse individuals on social media, subscribing to newsletters or podcasts that focus on marginalized voices, and supporting media outlets that provide a platform for these voices.
9. Your book addresses the concept of “safe spaces” and their limitations. What are your thoughts on creating inclusive spaces that promote dialogue and growth while addressing the concerns of diverse feminist perspectives?
Creating inclusive spaces that promote dialogue and growth while addressing the concerns of diverse feminist perspectives is crucial for fostering a truly intersectional feminism. In “Hood Feminism,” I emphasize the importance of moving beyond traditional notions of safe spaces and expanding our focus to encompass systems and structures that perpetuate inequality.
To create inclusive spaces, it’s essential to actively engage with and center the voices and experiences of marginalized communities. This means acknowledging the different ways in which various identities intersect with gender, such as race, class, sexual orientation, disability, and more. By doing so, we can uncover the unique challenges faced by different groups and work towards addressing them collectively.
An inclusive space promotes dialogue by encouraging open and honest conversations among people with diverse perspectives. It recognizes that disagreements may arise, but aims to foster respectful discussions that challenge assumptions and foster growth. It is crucial to maintain a commitment to active listening, recognizing the validity of different experiences, and being willing to learn from others.
Addressing the concerns of diverse feminist perspectives requires ongoing self-reflection and a willingness to confront our own biases and blind spots. It means challenging dominant narratives and amplifying the voices of those who have historically been marginalized within feminism. By recognizing and working to rectify the exclusionary tendencies of mainstream feminism, we can broaden the movement and ensure that it uplifts all women and non-binary individuals.
10. In “Hood Feminism,” you argue for a shift in focus from individual actions to systemic change. How do you envision this transformation taking place?
In “Hood Feminism,” I argue for a shift in focus from individual actions to systemic change in order to address the issues of feminism that disproportionately affect marginalized communities. Envisioning this transformation involves several key aspects:
Intersectionality: Recognizing and addressing the intersecting forms of oppression is crucial. We need to acknowledge that sexism, racism, classism, ableism, and other systems of oppression are interconnected. By centering the experiences of marginalized individuals and understanding how these systems overlap, we can work towards comprehensive solutions.
Policy Changes: Systemic change requires implementing policies that challenge and dismantle oppressive structures. This includes advocating for policies that address economic inequality, affordable housing, healthcare access, quality education, reproductive justice, and criminal justice reform. These changes aim to create a more equitable society where everyone can thrive.
Community Engagement: Transforming our systems necessitates the active participation of communities affected by these issues. Listening to their voices, needs, and experiences is essential. Encouraging community organizing, grassroots movements, and supporting local initiatives can foster collective power and influence change from the ground up.
11. Can you share some examples of successful grassroots initiatives or community-driven efforts that embody the principles of “Hood Feminism”?
The Black Mamas Bail Out: This initiative aims to end maternal incarceration by raising funds to bail out black women who are in jail awaiting trial. By highlighting the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on marginalized communities, it addresses the intersection between race, gender, and class.
MeToo Movement: Started by Tarana Burke, this movement initially focused on supporting survivors of sexual violence within marginalized communities. It gained significant momentum when Alyssa Milano popularized the hashtag on social media, leading to a global conversation about sexual harassment and assault while empowering individuals to share their stories.
Girls Who Code: Founded by Reshma Saujani, this organization focuses on closing the gender gap in technology fields. They offer coding programs and resources to young girls, emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.
Black Lives Matter: This movement, started by three women (Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi), emerged as a response to systemic racism and violence against Black people. It has advocated for justice, police reform, and equality through protests, awareness campaigns, and community organizing.
12. The book explores the relationship between feminism and economic justice. Could you elaborate on this connection and why it is crucial for dismantling oppressive systems?
In considering the relationship between feminism and economic justice, it is essential to recognize that these two concepts are inherently intertwined. Hood Feminism delves into this connection by highlighting the significance of addressing economic disparities within feminist movements.
The fight for gender equality should not solely focus on challenges faced by privileged women; it must also address the struggles experienced by marginalized communities, particularly those affected by poverty and other oppressive systems. By acknowledging and centering the experiences of women in marginalized communities, we can better understand how intersecting identities shape access to resources and opportunities.
Economic justice is crucial for dismantling oppressive systems because power imbalances often manifest through economic disparities. Women from marginalized communities face multiple barriers, including limited access to education, employment discrimination, and inadequate healthcare. These injustices perpetuate cycles of poverty and restrict these women’s ability to pursue their aspirations fully.
To create meaningful change, feminists must advocate for policies that challenge systemic inequalities and uplift all women, regardless of their social, economic, or racial backgrounds. By ensuring economic justice, we can strive for a society that supports everyone’s well-being and enables individuals to reach their full potential.
13. “Hood Feminism” emphasizes the importance of self-care and community care. How can individuals and communities prioritize these practices without burning out or neglecting their responsibilities?
Recognize the value of self-care: Understand that self-care is not selfish; it is essential for your well-being and sustainability. Acknowledge that taking care of yourself allows you to better support others.
Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect your time, energy, and mental health. Learn to say no to requests that surpass your capacity or compromise your well-being.
Practice self-compassion: Be kind and understanding toward yourself. Accept that setbacks happen, and it’s okay to take breaks when needed. Treat yourself with compassion, as you would a friend facing similar challenges.
Delegate and collaborate: In a community setting, share responsibilities and tasks with others. Promote collaboration and encourage diverse voices to contribute to collective care efforts.
Foster reciprocity: Create a culture of mutual support and reciprocity within your community. Encourage everyone to offer help when they can and accept help when needed. Remember that community care should be a two-way street.
14. Can you discuss the impact of media representation on marginalized communities and how it relates to the goals of “Hood Feminism”?
Media representation plays a crucial role in shaping societal norms and perceptions. It often reinforces stereotypes and perpetuates biases, resulting in harmful consequences for marginalized communities. When it comes to marginalized groups, including women of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, disabled people, and others, media representation tends to be limited, tokenized, or distorted. This underrepresentation or misrepresentation reinforces the marginalization these communities face in society.
The goals of “Hood Feminism” align with addressing the impact of media representation on marginalized communities by advocating for more diverse and authentic portrayals. Kendall emphasizes the importance of including the voices, stories, and perspectives of those most affected by gender inequality and social injustice.
By prioritizing the inclusion of marginalized communities in media representation, we can challenge dominant narratives and stereotypes while highlighting the diverse experiences and struggles faced by these communities. More accurate and nuanced media portrayals can help break down barriers, humanize marginalized groups, and foster empathy and understanding among viewers.
15. Your book highlights the urgency of addressing food insecurity, as it is a feminist issue. How does this connection come into play, and what steps can we take to address it effectively?
The connection between food insecurity and feminism arises from the understanding that women, particularly those from marginalized communities, face unique challenges when it comes to accessing nutritious and affordable food. Here are some key points to consider regarding this connection:
Intersectionality of feminism: “Hood Feminism” emphasizes the importance of intersectionality, acknowledging that gender inequality cannot be addressed in isolation from other social issues such as racism, poverty, and class disparities. By examining food insecurity through a feminist lens, we recognize that it disproportionately affects women in disadvantaged communities.
Understanding food insecurity: Food insecurity refers to limited or uncertain access to adequate food due to financial constraints or other barriers. It is crucial to recognize that addressing food insecurity is not solely about providing meals but also about dismantling the systemic barriers that perpetuate economic inequality.
Broader implications for women: Food insecurity impacts various aspects of women’s lives, including physical health, mental well-being, educational opportunities, and overall economic stability. Lack of access to healthy food affects women’s productivity, educational achievements, and ability to fully participate in society.
To address food insecurity effectively, we can take the following steps:
Policy reform: Advocate for policy changes that address the underlying causes of poverty and inequality. This includes efforts to raise the minimum wage, improve access to affordable housing, and create equitable employment opportunities.
Community-based initiatives: Support and engage with local organizations that tackle food insecurity at the grassroots level. These initiatives can include community gardens, food co-ops, or programs that provide nutritious meals to vulnerable populations.
16. “Hood Feminism” encourages readers to actively engage in allyship. What are some practical ways individuals can support and uplift marginalized communities?
Supporting and uplifting marginalized communities requires proactive engagement and genuine allyship. Here are some practical ways individuals can do so:
Educate yourself: Take the initiative to understand intersectionality and the unique challenges faced by different marginalized groups. Read books, articles, and diverse perspectives to gain knowledge and empathy.
Amplify marginalized voices: Use your platform and privilege to elevate the voices of those who are often ignored or silenced. Share their stories, work, and achievements through social media, blogs, or other channels.
Listen actively: Engage in active listening to better understand the experiences and needs of marginalized communities. Attend community events, lectures, and workshops where you can hear directly from people who belong to these groups.
Donate and volunteer: Support organizations that uplift marginalized communities by donating time, money, or resources. Look for local grassroots initiatives that address specific issues faced by these communities.
Advocate for policy change: Get involved in advocacy efforts aimed at challenging systemic inequalities. Write to your elected representatives, sign petitions, and support campaigns that seek to create policies promoting equity and justice.
17. Could you share your thoughts on the relationship between education and feminism? How can we promote inclusive education that benefits all genders and backgrounds?
Education plays a crucial role in promoting gender equality and advancing feminist ideals. It has the potential to challenge societal norms, empower individuals, and dismantle systemic barriers that perpetuate inequality. Here are some thoughts on the relationship between education and feminism:
Challenging stereotypes: Education can challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes by promoting diverse narratives, showcasing role models from various genders and backgrounds, and encouraging critical thinking.
Empowering individuals: Education equips individuals with knowledge, skills, and tools to question social inequalities and advocate for their rights. It can help develop self-esteem, self-efficacy, and confidence among all genders.
To promote inclusive education that benefits all genders and backgrounds, consider the following strategies:
Diverse representation: Ensure that educational materials, textbooks, and curricula reflect the diversity of society and include contributions from different genders, cultures, and backgrounds.
Inclusive policies and practices: Implement policies that actively combat gender-based discrimination, harassment, and bias within educational institutions. Create safe spaces where students from all backgrounds feel heard and supported.
18. In your book, you discuss the limitations of mainstream beauty standards and their impact on marginalized communities. How can we challenge these standards and encourage a more inclusive definition of beauty?
Intersectional Representation: We need to promote diverse representation across various forms of media, including advertising, fashion, television, and film. By featuring individuals from different backgrounds and body types, we can showcase a wider range of definitions of beauty.
Redefining Beauty Norms: It is crucial to challenge and break down the restrictive beauty norms that have been perpetuated for years. This involves recognizing that beauty is subjective and exists in various forms beyond what we commonly see in the media.
Embracing Body Positivity: Encouraging body positivity and self-acceptance is essential. This means celebrating and appreciating our bodies in all their diverse shapes, sizes, and abilities.
Supporting Inclusive Brands: We can choose to support brands that prioritize inclusivity and actively market to diverse demographics. By purchasing products from these companies, we send a message that diversity is profitable and necessary.
19. “Hood Feminism” emphasizes the importance of listening and learning from diverse perspectives. How can individuals actively educate themselves and unlearn harmful biases?
Seek out diverse perspectives: Actively seek out voices and experiences that differ from your own. Engage with literature, podcasts, documentaries, and social media accounts that represent diverse backgrounds, cultures, races, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. This exposure can help challenge preconceived notions and broaden understanding.
Listen and learn: Approach conversations with an open mind and a willingness to listen. Be receptive to others’ experiences and perspectives, recognizing that they may have valuable insights to share. Engage in meaningful dialogue and ask questions respectfully to gain a deeper understanding.
Reflect on personal biases: Take time for self-reflection and introspection. Recognize that everyone has biases, and it’s important to acknowledge and confront them. Reflect on how your own biases might impact your perceptions, actions, and beliefs. Consider how these biases intersect with race, gender, class, and other identities.
Challenge assumptions: Question your assumptions and be aware of stereotypes or generalizations that might influence your thinking. Challenge these assumptions by seeking out counter-narratives and actively questioning societal norms and expectations.
20. Lastly, can you recommend more books like “Hood Feminism”?
The Theory of the Leisure Class” by Thorstein Veblen. This seminal book explores the concept of conspicuous consumption and provides a comprehensive analysis of the emerging leisure class and its impact on society.
Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, it is a captivating and deeply personal memoir that offers a unique and intimate glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of a family from the Appalachian region of the United States.
“Unequal Childhoods” by Annette Lareau, it delves into the concept of childhood and explores how various social factors shape children’s lives.