According to sociologist Patricia Hill Collins, Black women's double marginality leads them to have an outsider within status. In a 1986 Social Problems article, Collins lays out some of the benefits of this status:
Some of the potential benefits of outsider within status include: (1) Simmel's definition of "objectivity" as "a peculiar composition of nearness and remoteness, concern and indiffer- ence"; (2) the tendency for people to confide in a "stranger" in ways they never would with each other; and (3) the ability of the "stranger" to see patterns that may be more difficult for those immersed in the situation to see. (Collins 1986: S15)
Since Collins initially formed the theory, many scholars have used the outsider within to frame research and articles about Black women and other marginalized groups. This includes a 2015 Radical Teacher article by Shane McCoy in which he describes how Black women in fiction provide a lens to view the struggle for human rights.
Click here to download McCoy's article and see how Black women operate as the outsider within.