cover image Divided Sisters

Divided Sisters

Kathy Russell. Doubleday Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-385-47361-3

Wilson and Russell (a white woman and a black woman, who wrote The Color Complex, on color consciousness among blacks, with Ronald Hall) offer here another thought-provoking mix of analysis and anecdote. Interracial friendships among girls are dropped during the teen years, influenced by issues of sexual maturity, classroom style and standards of beauty, according to the authors; they suggest that ``we expand notions of what we call attractive.'' They note that popular notions of black women's promiscuity confuse differences of race with those of class; they also explore touchy subjects such as interracial dating and campus friendships. They observe that feminist politics differs between black women and white women and explore how stereotypes govern depictions of women's cross-race relations in the popular media. Some of the authors' advice: educate students about the legacy of tension, seek out materials that fight gender/race stereotypes and-because blacks know more about whites than vice versa-make sure white girls learn about the history and social factors that shape their black sisters. (Jan.)