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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Msafiri
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 06-27-13

Great Book

What did you love best about Sister Citizen?

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.

What other book might you compare Sister Citizen to and why?

I haven't read any similar books

What aspect of Lisa Reneé Pitts’s performance would you have changed?

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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On the money

This book validated so much if my own experiences, and that if women I speak with daily. I thank you

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • eliane
  • Les Cèdres, Quebec, Canada
  • 07-12-13

Amazingly powerful

Would you listen to Sister Citizen again? Why?

Yes, it is a very powerful and well articulated work on shame, finding one's own way while overcoming societal scapegoating.

What about Lisa Reneé Pitts’s performance did you like?

The poetry and quoted books were read beautifully.

If you could give Sister Citizen a new subtitle, what would it be?

Finding our own power in the crocked room.

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this book to anyone who believes in working towards a more just world.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wow

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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WONDERFUL BOOK!! .....But....

Where does Sister Citizen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitely at the top. Melissa V. Harris-Perry has become one of my favorite authors because she not only makes arguments -- she provides sources, addresses counterarguments, and provides each side of the discussion independently.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I have never heard an author support their claims like this author did. She doesn't rely on the reader to have any assumptions or knowledge when she presents information.

Any additional comments?

I loved the book, but the hardest part about it was the narrator's lack of tone change when quoting or referencing another piece of work. It became hard to tell what Melissa wrote and what she was quoting at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thank you Melissa V. Harris-Perry!

This book said so many things I didn't have the words to articulate and so many things I knew were happening and was told I was imagining. It's comforting to know that there have been studies and research to validate my experiences and to have confirmation that it wasn't in my head.

Lisa Reneé Pitts' voice was an excellent choice for narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awakening the Black Sister

Where does Sister Citizen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Sister Citizen ranks #1 among all the audiobooks I have listened to.

What did you like best about this story?

What I liked best about this story was that I was able to reiterate it to other sisters without wondering if I truly grasped the message.

What does Lisa Reneé Pitts bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Lisa Renee Pitts brings a clear perspective to the story that If I was readings it I would not have experienced. Her tone allows you to absorb her perspective without feeling like she was imposing it upon me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, this book was exactly what I wanted to listen to all in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

I am convinced that this book is like a bible for Black women and that the information in it should not fall by the way side. The perspectives that were given in each chapter guided my thought process into better understanding what I already knew and believed about "us" as a people in respect to how awesome we are, why it is so important to support one another and stay vigilant to what's going on for, around and against us. My first week reading the book I suggested it to every black women I encountered. This book was introduced to me by my daughter (my sista soldier) so it gave us the opportunity to discuss our observations, understanding and beliefs about who we are as a people and specifically; as black women.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Thought-Provoking Literary Experience!

Thank you Melissa! This book has forever changed me. It caused me to take a journey of challenging, yet liberating self reflection.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Reality for African American Women

Great historical analysis of the African American woman's experience and the perception and treatment of the African American woman relative to the caucasian experience and patriarchal society.

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must read for every black woman

loved it!

very educated well rounded perspective on every level. it truly gave words to feelings i couldn't explain.