Bette's Reviews > Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
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's review
Jan 08, 2013

it was amazing
Read in September, 2011

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". Toward the end she talks about Michelle Obama and Shirley Sherrod. Try to read this with an open mind.
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