When the Black Lives That Matter Are Not Our Own: Digital Black Feminism and A Dialectic of Self and Community

Steele, Catherine Knight
Feminist Media Studies

Black women and Black feminist scholars have always pointed out the hypocrisy of advocating for civil rights and freedoms that do not extend to them. However, with the rise of digital culture and tools as the primary space and mechanism whereby Black feminists crafted arguments, a new urgency has emerged within Black feminist writing online, advocating for a dialectic of self and community interests. Black feminist writers have created a new rhetorical principle central to the #BlackLiveMatter movement, which began in the blogosphere with longform writing and enclaved communities. Before the hashtag or activism on Twitter or Instagram, the blogosphere provided a space for Black women to craft new arguments that centralized Black cis and trans women in the fight for justice. Black feminist writers insist that caring for themselves is integral to Black feminist praxis and social justice. Retracing this work from the blogosphere to social media reminds us of the importance of centralizing Black women in our discussion of digital culture and activism and the lessons this may provide in crafting a more just future.