The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountability
Accountable to Each Other 1980–1983
Chapter 3 begins in the mountains of the West Coast Women’s Music Festival, where feminist bookwomen were in the crowd at Bernice Johnson Reagon’s pivotal speech about transracial alliance building. This talk became a tool for difficult conversations about white women giving up power and recognizing leadership of women of color in the bookstores. Such conversations generated what the chapter calls lesbian antiracism, antiracist practice with attention to heterosexism and sexism. Work toward lesbian antiracist feminism at two core bookstores, and reports about their processes in the widely read Feminist Bookstores Newsletter, emphasize bookwomen’s contributions to feminist vocabularies and relationship buiding practices. Lesbian antiracism was an ethic of the bookwomen’s practice of feminist accountability, building feminist dialogue to define, grapple with, and evolve a shared set of ethics and ideas about how to live by those ethics.