Sister Citizen : Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2011-09-20
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
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Jezebel's sexual lasciviousness, Mammy's devotion, and Sapphire's outspoken angerthese 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 Citizeninstead explores 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 a citizen links together black women in America, from the anonymous survivors of Hurricane Katrina to the current First Lady of the United States.

Author Biography

Melissa V. Harris-Perry is professor of political science and founding director of a project on Race, Gender, and Politics in the South, Newcomb College Institute, Tulane University. She is a contributor at MSNBC, a columnist for The Nation, and author of the award-winning book Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought. She lives in New Orleans.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
ôThe Hurricane,ö from Their Eyes Were Watching Godp. 1
Introductionp. 4
ôThe Bridge Poem,öp. 24
Crooked Roomp. 28
Mythp. 51
ôResisting the Shame of Shug Avery,ö from The Color Purplep. 98
Shamep. 101
Disasterp. 134
ôNo Mirrors in My NanaÆs House,ö Sweet Honey in the Rock, lyricsp. 180
Strengthp. 183
Godp. 221
ôPraise Song for the Day,öp. 266
Michellep. 269
Appendix: Survey Datap. 301
Notesp. 315
Indexp. 368
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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