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187 8 Conclusion The Response During my time spent with Billie, her daughter, Nia, was present throughout the entire interview. Nia was generally quiet during the three-hour discussion but did interject periodically. Even though she knew much of her mother’s story—and lived some of it—I was aware that some of Billie’s recounting was new to Nia and that it caused Nia some pain to listen to her mother’s distressing tales. Cassandra was also accompanied by a family member. Cassandra told me she brought along her younger sister (by 15 years) because she wanted her sister to finally learn about her extremely volatile relationships with her first husband and a boyfriend. But, unlike Nia, Cassandra’s sister never spoke during the interview and left about a third of the way into the four-hour encounter, as it was a lot for the sister to take in. A good number of the remaining women wished to share the detrimental effects of intimate partner abuse, as well. They wished for other Black women and Black girls to learn from their experiences . A couple of hours into Billie’s interview, Nia asked with curiosity: “Can I ask you a question, Hillary? What are you doing with these stories people tell you?” Aside from the academic explanation of “analyzing the data for similarities and themes,” I shared with Nia that I had a broader, yet firm, goal: to communicate to the Black community and society-atlarge that we must address the problem of intimate partner abuse against Black women. Addressing this problem will allow us to draw attention to Black women’s contribution to and role in society in general and to the many struggles in addition to intimate partner abuse that Black women face on a daily basis. Now that we have an even greater understanding of Black women’s experiences with intimate partner abuse, how are we to confront the abuse and the way in which others respond to abuse against Black women? 188 Conclusion In Black history and culture, the “call-and-response” feature has compounded and significant meanings. The call-and-response is an Africanderived process of communication that involves verbal and nonverbal exchanges that are reflexive in nature, where “all of the speaker’s statements (‘calls’) are punctuated by expressions (‘responses’) from the listener.”1 As one of the few traditions retained from African cultures among Africans trapped and enslaved in American colonies, call-and-response was predominant in the Black church, including during the period of slavery when “‘church’ was anywhere black people were: in the fields, back in the woods, in the ‘new ground’ areas (uncultivated, unplowed land which had to be made ready for seeding).”2 In current times, call-and-response remains an important communicative factor in Black churches but has extended to general communication within Black culture, as well. Call-andresponse communications can be found in dialogue, music, and literature. In and out of the church, verbal examples of responses include “Amen!,” “Speak on it!,” “Go ’head!,” “Teach!,” or “Preach!” Nonverbal responses comprise feet stomping, raising the Black power sign (balled fist held on high), head nodding, and “giving skin” (hand-to-hand slap).3 Geneva Smitherman concludes that call-and-response ”seeks to synthesize speakers and listeners in a unified movement.” While the use of call-and-response is not limited to Blacks and the Black community,4 it undoubtedly has significant meaning within the interactions of the Black community, a community in the broadest sense and not one restricted by geographical boundaries. Maggie Sale asserts that call-and-response patterns “both value improvisation and demand that new meanings be created for each particular moment.”5 Moreover, in the African and Black American tradition of call-and-response, Adisa A. Alkebulan writes that the “absence of audience participation invalidates the event.”6 Through the lens of these explanations for the call-and-response method of communication, we can reply to the “What’s next?” inquiry regarding intimate partner abuse perpetrated against Black women. I use this special and cherished call-andresponse aspect of Black culture to heed the passionate admonitions given to me by the women represented in this book. One of the distinctive attributes of feminist research is that which Shulamit Reinharz identified as a political connection. She reported that the design and purpose of feminist research is grounded in political activism . Indeed, Reinharz concludes that many feminists believe that research qualifies as feminist only if it...


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