ABSTRACT

A small girl and her mother passed a statue depicting a European man who had barehandedly subdued a ferocious lion.The little girl stopped, looked puzzled and asked, “Mama, something’s wrong with that statue. Everybody knows that a man can’t whip a lion.” “But darling,” her mother replied, “you must remember that the man made the statue.” —As told by Katie G. Cannon

As critical social theory, U.S. Black feminist thought reflects the interests and standpoint of its creators. Tracing the origin and diffusion of Black feminist thought or any comparable body of specialized knowledge reveals its affinity to the power of the group that created it (Mannheim 1936). Because elite White men control Western structures of knowledge validation, their interests pervade the themes, paradigms, and epistemologies of traditional scholarship.As a result, U.S. Black women’s experiences as well as those of women of African descent transnationally have been routinely distorted within or excluded from what counts as knowledge.