Kelly Brown’s Critique of Black and Feminist Theological Responses to Patriarchy: Racial and Sexual Oppression (video)

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Lecture: A Review of Current Feminist Literature in Relation to Black Feminist & Black Oppression. Kelly Brown, Union Seminary, NY. Audience response. Annual Meeting

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Kelly Brown, a student at Union Theological Seminary of New York, gives a lecture as audience members (including Cornell West and Henry Mitchell) asks questions. In her lecture, Kelly Brown links racial and sexual oppression to patriarchy. She critiques Black and feminist theological responses to patriarchy by examining the positive and negative aspects of each in relation to the Black woman. Kelly Brown argues both revolutionary and reformist Feminist approaches to theology and Black theology (while containing positives) fail to take into account the religious experience of the Black woman. She also argues against the oppression of Black women in the Black Church in America.

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00:00:06 Unidentified male introduces Kelly Brown.

00:01:15 Kelly Brown thanks audience and addresses Feminist Literature in respect to the oppression of Black women.

00:03:35 Talks about just as Black theologians began to do theology from their particular context of racial oppression, women began to do theology from their particular context of sexual oppression. Also talks about how each have tried to understand God’s activity in the world through their freedom struggle.

00:04:30 Talks about agreement among women that the common denominator in their struggle and the root of their oppression is patriarchy.

00:04:55 Talks about the biological basis for patriarchal ideology and division of public - private split.

00:06:02 Talks about the two forms of the woman’s attack on the private public male female split (equal access to public arena and equalizing life in the private arena).

00:06:28 Defines the dichotomy of attacking patriarchy as women’s feminist experience verses women’s traditional experience.

00:07:32 Talks about movement of women against oppression in the church. Talks about Mary Daily advocacy of women’s rights in church in her writings critiquing Roman Catholic Church.

00:08:10 Talks about feminist theology criticism of Judaism and Christianity as sexist religions with a male God and male leadership.

00:09:46 Talks about the feminist reformist tradition.

00:14:29 Talks about the revolutionary feminist tradition.

00:19:00 Talks about Black theology relationship to Black woman. Strength of Black theology for the woman is that God is on the side of the oppressed and God as liberator.

00:19:49 Talks about how too much of a focus on race can distort the true picture of God’s nature and failure of Black male theologians to take into account all Black experiences.

00:22:51 Black Theology has failed miserably (given Karl Barth’s criteria) at the mission of criticism of the Black church for acts of sexual oppression.

00:24:11 Responds to the feminist critique of Christianity.

00:27:34 Because of the centrality of the Christian gospel in the lives of Black people the feminist revolutionary post Christian model does not represent a viable alternative for the Black woman doing theology.

00:27:47 Talks about feminist reformist Christian model. Although it stays within framework of traditional Christian faith fails to take into account Black women life experiences.

00:35:39 Questions from audience.

00:54:53 Cornell West asks and speaks on the Black secular feminist movement and Black traditional Christian movement and challenge of marginal Christian intellectuals.

01:39:01 Unidentified man gives final remarks and thanks Kelly Brown.

01:40:44 Video ends.


The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Project Grant in supporting the processing and digitization of a number of its major archival collections as part of the project: Spreading the Word: Expanding Access to African American Religious Archival Collections at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.


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