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

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

by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
4.1 19
Pub. Date:
Yale University Press
Select a Purchase Option
  • purchase options
    $12.37 $18.00 Save 31% Current price is $12.37, Original price is $18. You Save 31%.
  • purchase options
    $9.77 $18.00 Save 46% Current price is $9.77, Original price is $18. You Save 46%.
    Note: Access code and/or supplemental material are not guaranteed to be included with textbook rental or used textbook.
  • purchase options


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

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 instead 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300188189
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 03/31/2013
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 109,304
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

"The Hurricane," from Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston 1

Introduction 4

"The Bridge Poem," Kate Rushin 24

Chapter 1 Crooked Room 28

Chapter 2 Myth 51

"Resisting the Shame of Shug Avery," from The Color Purple Alice Walker 98

Chapter 3 Shame 101

Chapter 4 Disaster 134

"No Mirrors in My Nana's House," Sweet Honey in the Rock, lyrics Ysaye Maria Barnwell 180

Chapter 5 Strength 183

Chapter 6 God 221

"Praise Song for the Day," Elizabeth Alexander 266

Chapter 7 Michelle 269

Appendix: Survey Data 301

Notes 315

Index 368

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Sister Citizen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found "Sister Citizen" to be the most comprehensive book I have read regarding the stereotypes plaguing black women. The book is clear and concise. This has helped me to better understand myself as a black woman and how I fit in our country. I felt validated about a lot of personal experiences. Ms. Harris-Perry proves again that she is one of America's most incredible political minds. I appreciate how she is using peer-reviewed sources, empirical data,and recent events to tie her themes together. Ms. Harris-Perry says it best: "This book is not a work of history but it relies on black women's history as a frame for understanding contemporary politics. It is not a work of literary criticism, but it relies on literature written by and about black women. It is not a biography...It is not a traditional social science text, but it makes use of empirical data. This book is concerned with understanding the emotional realities of black womens' lives in order to answer a political, not a personal question: What does it mean to be a black woman and an American citizen?" (p.29)Ms. Harris-Perry masterfully gives scenario after scenario of the impact of mis-recognition over the history of African-Americans --using peer reviewed sources. The focus groups she conducted were interesting as well as the story about how black women (including Ms. Harris-Perry herself) struggled to survive during hurricane Katrina. She gives a heart wrenching 'boots on the ground' account of how people experienced hurricane Katrina, sharing the untold human losses and emotional traumas people endured. I cried and caught my breath aloud as I read the story of Ms. Phyllis Montana-Leblanc. You will be changed if you read this book better or worse. Paraphrasing another review "If a discussion about color, race and sexism are subjects you may not be interested then don't read the book, it will only make you angry". That said try to read this with an open mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well-written book. Her research is sound. I enjoyed it!
nikki1 More than 1 year ago
Dr. Harris-Perry is on point with her description. Must read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though I have not finished the entire book, I've enjoyed what I've read thus far. Dr. Harris-Perry was a keynote speaker at a conference I attended last year. During her presentation she touched on many of the topics covered in this book. This book not only expands upon her presentation, but also draws my attention to other things I've unaware of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Read! Loved the book. A must have on the book shelf. Ms. Harris- Perry nails every point!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoing this book. Helps me put the current social situation in perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Complete garbage. I am dumber for reading it.
MJS98 More than 1 year ago
Without question one of the worst books ever written Filled with ggrammatical errors Inconsistent could almost hear her lisps whem reading this book thuffering thuccothath a waste of paper...a shame trees gave up its life for this garbage