Jezebel's sexual lasciviousness, Mammy's devotion, and Sapphire's outspoken anger - these are among the most persistent stereotypes that black women encounter in contemporary American life. Hurtful and dishonest, such representations force African American women to navigate a virtual crooked room that shames them and shapes their experiences as citizens. Many respond by assuming a mantle of strength that may convince others, and even themselves, that they do not need help. But as a result, the unique political issues of black women are often ignored and marginalized.
In this groundbreaking book, Melissa V. Harris-Perry uses multiple methods of inquiry, including literary analysis, political theory, focus groups, surveys, and experimental research, to understand more deeply black women's political and emotional responses to pervasive negative race and gender images. Not a traditional political science work concerned with office-seeking, voting, or ideology, Sister Citizen is an examination of how African American women understand themselves as citizens and what they expect from political organizing. Harris-Perry shows that the shared struggle to preserve an authentic self and secure recognition as citizens links together black women in America, from the anonymous survivors of Hurricane Katrina to the current First Lady of the United States.
©2011 Melissa Victoria Harris-Perry (P)2012 Tantor
"Harris-Perry offers fascinating observations of how black women are, at times, constricted by their mythology and asserts that their experiences act as a democratic litmus test for the nation." (Booklist)
Yes, it is a very powerful and well articulated work on shame, finding one's own way while overcoming societal scapegoating.
The poetry and quoted books were read beautifully.
Finding our own power in the crocked room.
I would recommend this book to anyone who believes in working towards a more just world.
The book was such an eye opener. It is well written and provides great insight into the mis-recognition and shaming of Black women. It is a deeply emotional and insightful perspective on Black women.
I haven't read any similar books
The narrator had a hard time translating the transitions in the book, as well as the excerpts from other texts that are in the hard copy of book. It is therefore difficult to know when the narrator is reading Harris-Perry's text or one of the poems or short stories Harris-Perry re-printed in the text.
I was floored by this writing. This book answered so many questions for me. More importantly, as an African American woman of possible mixed heritage, who has spent much of her life questioning whether she was black enough, I now see how most of my experience is rooted in the challenges that being African American entail.
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