Who speaks for Precious? A black feminist analysis

David Ikard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The intraracial debate about the gender, class, and sexuality politics in the movie "Precious" has received little critical attention beyond popular media outlets. This essay focuses on the black patriarchal perspectives within this debate through a black feminist critical lens and considers why such perspectives continue to have political capital in black spaces. Under scrutiny also are the ways in which some black feminist-identified women scholars reproduce similar patriarchal perspectives even as they repudiate the white male hegemonic institutions that stigmatize and scapegoat black women in poverty. My contention is that "Precious" has a black feminist agenda that, although flawed in many ways, exposes the social erasure of poor black women's humanity and plight. As this phenomenon of erasure relies, in part, upon black men's intraracial gender blindness, I call upon black feminist-identified men to take the lead in supporting the film and opening up discussions about black men's roles in perpetuating black women's suffering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-29
Number of pages13
JournalAfrican and Black Diaspora
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Ishmael Reed
  • Precious
  • Sapphire
  • black feminism
  • double consciousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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