Glossary: Womanist

Photograph of Meigan Medina, "Vibration," courtesy of Brandon Hicks.

Photograph of Meigan Medina, “Vibration,” courtesy of Brandon Hicks.

“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” – Alice Walker.

 Alice Walker, a poet and activist, who is mostly known for her award-winning book The Color Purple, coined the term Womanist in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose. Walker defined a womanist as “Womanish, the opposite of girlish…Being grown up…A Black Feminist or Feminist of Color…A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or non-sexually.  Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength.  Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or non-sexually”. The complete text of the definition can be seen here.

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What is a Womanist?

Photograph of Meigan Medina, "Vibration," courtesy of Brandon Hicks.

Photograph of Meigan Medina, “Vibration,” courtesy of Brandon Hicks.

“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” – Alice Walker.

 Alice Walker, a poet and activist, who is mostly known for her award-winning book The Color Purple, coined the term Womanist in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose. Walker defined a womanist as “Womanish, the opposite of girlish…Being grown up…A Black Feminist or Feminist of Color…A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or non-sexually.  Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength.  Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or non-sexually”. The complete text of the definition can be seen here.

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Icons: The Deacons for Defense and Justice

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In America today, almost all citizens have equal civil rights under the law. Fifty years ago, it was a different story. In the 1960s, Southern states such as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama witnessed racial segregation despite passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. White supremacist groups, mainly the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), continued to oppress and intimidate African Americans and civil rights activists, while  local and state authorities watched and sometimes even participated. In his book “The Deacons of Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement” Lance Hill wrote, “severe repression by local authorities and the Klan, combined with economic pressure by white business elites, made it difficult to end segregation and discrimination even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.”

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Glossary: Genocide

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It is common to hear people talk about the crimes committed by humans against animals and the environment on a daily basis. Recently, I’ve heard issues such as the extinction of certain animals and climate change due to human negligence discussed in bars, at parties, during conferences and on television. Unfortunately, it is not as common to hear about genocide, the most barbaric crime against humanity.

The term genocide was invented in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish-Polish lawyer who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust. The word is a combination of the Greek word “genos” (race or tribe) and the Latin word “cide” (to kill). Five years later, during the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide the United Nations General Assembly produced an official definition for genocide.

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