In the 1980s, Hazel Carby , Barbara Christian , bell hooks , Nellie McKay , Valerie Smith , Hortense Spillers , Eleanor Traylor, Cheryl Wall and Sheryl Ann Williams all contributed heavily to the Black Feminist Scholarship of the period. During that same time, Deborah E. McDowell published New Directions for Black Feminist Criticism , which called for a more theoretical school of criticism versus the current writings, which she deemed overly practical. In this essay McDowell also extensively discussed black women's portrayal in literature, and how it came across as even more negative than white women's portrayal. As time moved forward, theory began to disperse in ideology. Many deciding to shift towards the nuanced psychological factors of the Black experience and further away from broad sweeping generalizations. Others began to connect their works to the politics of lesbianism. Some decided to analyze the Black experience through their relationship to the Western world. Regardless, these scholars continue to employ a variety of methods to explore the identity of Black feminism in literature. 
In some ways, surface reading and allied approaches seem to return to an older orientation of criticism, one that sees its mission as more scholarly than political. The politicization of criticism is sometimes blamed on theory, but it is not foreign to American literary criticism. The theory generation may have been immodest about the claims it made, but our literary culture has always been an "adversary culture," as Lionel Trilling remarked in Beyond Culture (1965). "Any historian of the literature of the modern age will take virtually for granted the adversary intention, the actually subversive intention, that characterizes modern writing ... detaching the reader from the habits of thought and feeling that the larger culture imposes."
If we substitute for a frog a "Mr. Goodwill" or a "Mr. Prudence," and for the scorpion "Mr. Treachery" or "Mr. Two-Face," and make the river any river and substitute for "We're both Arabs . . ." "We're both men . ." we turn the fable [which illustrates human tendencies by using animals as illustrative examples] into an allegory [a narrative in which each character and action has symbolic meaning]. On the other hand, if we turn the frog into a father and the scorpion into a son (boatman and passenger) and we have the son say "We're both sons of God, aren't we?", then we have a parable (if a rather cynical one) about the wickedness of human nature and the sin of parricide. (22)