CONCEPTUALIZATON

“The Crooked Room” is a term coined by Black Intellectual Melissa Harris-Perry in her book “Sister Citizens”. Harris-Perry uses the metaphor of a crooked room in which black women struggle to right themselves to explain why black women’s public actions and political strategies are at times tilted in ways that facilitate their exclusion and marginalization. This crooked room is a space wherein otherness as a whole is subject to clear limitations and boundaries — here oppression shapes the oppressed to the fullest extent.

In contrast, bell hooks' concept of a black radical female subjectivity represents a movement away from the discourse of “good v. bad” representations which fix blackness in relation to whiteness (and the manner in which it is perceived by whiteness), towards a discourse that pushes for transgressive and challenging images of blackness. Thus, radical black subjectivity offers an alternative to the experience of the crooked room, which has been built over years and generations to police black women and construe their existence in narrow and clearly delineated ways.