|Melissa Harris Perry Photo Copyright: 2011/ L Monroe/Now Rise Books|
Melissa Harris Perry is at Yale University Press, today, making preparations for her forthcoming book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale University Press.) More expressively, "For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn't Enough" is the sub-title at the bottom edge of the dust jacket that will speak to a lot of Black women, as we come to grips with the fact that we need each other to survive and thrive in this 21st century. If Black women have lost this truth, then Perry's book may serve as a catalyst for redemption and revival among Black women, and thus Black families, at this time when our community needs it most of all.
An excerpt from the YUP catalog explains that while Harris-Perry’s work is "[n]ot 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” (http://bit.ly/l5CqHk).
|Sister Citizen (Yale University Press, Fall 2011)|
This chasm is especially and heart-breakingly evident between generations. My political group seeks younger women to balance our venerable members who are veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. However, so many Black girls today are too far removed from the revolutionary winds of social change of the Sixties and Seventies that uprooted racial stigmas and liberated my generation, and a few after mine, to absorb the mantra that we were "young gifted and Black." That is a very different message for young girls (and boys for that matter) to absorb versus the historical mammy, or Sapphire myth, or the contemporary and offensive "ho," "b----" or other stereotypes that are directed toward Black girls.
Whether Black women choose to join one of America's two mainstream political parties, or an alternative political group, what is most important is that we understand that organizing together and raising our voices is the way we will affirm our identity. Can we control our image with as much self-interest and tenacity as a corporation protects its brand? Bottom line, to effect positive change in the quality of our lives on any issue, personal or broadly social, is not only possible, it is our responsibility.
It is the way that we take hold of the birthright to American citizenship and make it our own.
If anyone gets an advanced copy of Melissa Harris Perry's book, please share your views with readers here. Thanks!
Updated: May 15, 2011
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