The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America

Tamara L. Winfrey-Harris. Berrett-Koehler, $15.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-62656-351-3
Winfrey-Harris wants to set the record straight on the lives of black women in America. Through her own recollections and interviews with other, mostly middle-class, black women, she shows the obstacles they fight against, the flak they receive—including from black men—and how well many of them are doing despite it all. This energetic, passionate, and progressive mission statement illuminates old stereotypes that continue to dog black women today: servile, self-sacrificing Mammy; emasculating Sapphire; licentious Jezebel; and the post-1960s image of the Matriarch, a baby-producing single mom on welfare. More poignantly, Winfrey-Harris shows how negative perceptions cause African-American women to “hold their tongues,” “deny their sexuality,” and despise their appearances. At the same time, she emphasizes the extent to which black women are now directing their own lives and overcoming the race and gender biases so embedded in the culture. To wit, African-American women have the highest workforce participation rate among all American women, and in 2013, 1.1 million owned their own businesses. Jamyla Bennu, an entrepreneur featured in the book, founded Oyin Handmade, a company aimed at showing black women how to take care of and celebrate their hair. Winfrey-Harris amplifies the voices of African-American women speaking for themselves, and the results are powerful, relevant, and affirming. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/18/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
Open Ebook - 168 pages - 978-1-62656-353-7
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