“Admirable or Ridiculous?”: The Burdens of Black Women Scholars and Dialogue in the Work of Solidarity

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion

Publication Date


Date Added



Studies in higher education and womanist scholarship have shown that black women in academia are pressed to shoulder a matrix of raced and gendered expectations and perceptions that negatively impact their personal and professional quality of life. In this essay, I bring these two sources together to underscore the urgency of this issue and the imperative for all persons, and especially black men, to rise to the challenge. My essay consists of three parts: 1) a discussion of the history and function of "Mammy" as a trope of black womanhood and its manifestation as a significant problem for black women in academia; 2) an interpretation of Emilie Townes's notion of communal lament among black women scholars and colleagues as an extension of self-care and as a practice of resistance; 3) a recommendation for male scholars to share the burdens of black women scholars through dialogue in the work of solidarity.