POET: Porsha Olayiwa
PIECE: Rekia Boyd
TOPICS DISCUSSED:
Race and Ethnicity
SUMMARY:
The murder of Rekia Boyd by a police officer was met with relative absence by demonstrators, Porsha Olayiwa explores silence.

Key Lines/Phrases

Key Line/Phrase
Discussion

“I guess,
No one hears the howling of a black girl ghost in the night time”

INTERSECTIONALITY. Rarely does a poem so clearly and so effortlessly illustrate a sociological idea without using the specific term. Porsha Olayiwa’s “Rekia Boyd” does exactly that. This piece is an intersectional analysis of the invisibility and hidden politics women of color continue to face in social movements.

In-depth Analysis

In sociology, Patricia Hill Collins addresses this issue, both theoretically and methodologically in her text Black Feminist Thought. Theoretically, Black feminist thought explores oppression as it operates at the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. In the case of Rakia Boyd, the lack of attention from mainstream news outlets and lack of response from the activist when compared to the Black men who were murdered by police under similarly peculiar circumstances, is demonstrative of sexism in social movements by racial groups and racism in feminist social movements. Furthermore, this realization and articulation of intersectional oppression is felt differently depending on your relationship to that oppression. Patricia Hill Collins calls this standpoint theory. Porsha Olayiwa speaks from the standpoint of Black woman to the condition of a Black woman, which brings a different and in this case more effective critique of the how Rekia Boyd’s murder has not been demonstrated. Methodologically, Black feminist thought offers narrative as a way of resisting and transforming the existing power structures. Not only in words, but through Olayiwa’s voice and body does”Rekia Boyd” disrupt the hidden structures of racism and patriarchy by specifically calling out the way in which we do and do not disrupt the hidden structures of racism and patriarchy.

Artist Comments

This space is reserved for any comments the author of the piece may have about the points he was trying to get across and the background of why he wrote the poem.