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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,302 ratings  ·  214 reviews
What's wrong with black women? Not a damned thing!

The Sisters Are Alright exposes anti–black-woman propaganda and shows how real black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves.

When African women arrived on American shores, the three-headed hydra—servile Mammy, angry Sapphire, and lascivious Jezebel—followed close behind. In the '60s, the Matr
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published May 27th 2015)
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Cavak As far as looking for the positives, I agree with you. Like how always "being strong" can build up a superhuman self-image, which can be a double-edge…moreAs far as looking for the positives, I agree with you. Like how always "being strong" can build up a superhuman self-image, which can be a double-edged sword the moment a woman needs compassion and understanding from others. Because they'll likely be told to suck it up. Hopeful changes are acknowledged yet sometimes feel undercut by being included at the ends of each chapter.

By the epilogue, it binds it altogether to remind readers that black women are just people, and there's no shame in being human.

Overall feels like it's informing for anyone who doesn't recognize the racial stereotypes at all. Nothing wrong with that. Would like to see an updated version of this book someday.(less)

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Julie Christine
As a white American woman seeking to become a better-informed, more effective ally to people of color, I believe it is my responsibility to seek out and listen to the stories of women and men whose daily lives are impacted by racism. Those of us who are angered and dismayed by systemic and institutional racism in this country have a tendency to rush toward a "fix" without taking the time to understand the many layers and complexities of history, how stereotypes and prejudices have evolved and th ...more
Jennifer Stoy
This is the 101-201 level resource that white women/white feminists NEED to read before they open their mouths on social media to talk about black womanhood in America. (I say this as a white woman) If you are someone who is legitimately ready to understand what misogynoir is and how you are probably contributing to it, read this book. It is a fast, accessible read that covers major issues black women deal with today as well as the stereotypes that fuel a lot of pop culture representations of bl ...more
Lisa D.
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Sisters are Alright:.. should be a mandatory read not just for adults, but for teenage girls - particularly, African-Americans, as we are subjected to the mental and stereotypical abuses and misconceptions more than any ethnicity on this planet. Winfrey-Harris' research, interviews and personal thoughts are refreshing and to the point. She shows us the ugly sides we face as African-American women in the media and our own backyards, but also shows that we don't have to take any of it and rise ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Zora Neale Hurston put it best “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” Every black girl and woman should read this book.
Maya Smart
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
In her compendium of propaganda against black women, “The Sisters Are Alright,” Tamara Winfrey Harris exposes America’s historical and ongoing contempt for “the sisters.” She identifies stereotype after devastating stereotype, from whitewashed beauty standards to angry-black-woman clichés, and calls for recognition of the diversity and humanity of black women.

Although billed as a pep talk, Harris’s collection of panicked headlines, cruel criticism, and biased studies assailing black women makes
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays, feminism
Tamara Winfrey Harris writes for Bitch magazine, and this book is written in the same accessible style and with the same joyful right-onness as her articles. It summarises key points from other wonderful writing by Black women relevant to the subject (particularly Patricia Hill Collins’ book Black Feminist Thought, and deploys arguments that followers of certain blogs and denizens of certain regions of Twitter will find familiar, but certainly satisfyingly succinct, clear and convincing here.

Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Relevant of course. I appreciate the new perspective this gave me on black motherhood and feminism.
Brenda Shannon
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I wanted more.

Thank you Ms. Harris for this book. At a time when all our assets are being appropriated, this affirmative message was definitely needed.
THIS is a MUST read for any African/African-American woman who's ever been called angry, irate, ugly, hard to deal with or any of the other things we get called on a basis. It's the textual equivalent of being thrown into a sister circle and being reaffirmed that you're going to be alright. We maybe painted as "the problem" by others, but we as women of the diaspora know the truth of who we are and how we came to be. Thankfully, with tis book, Tamara Winfrey Harris thankfully puts together a wor ...more
A good balance of self-help/inspiration and academic study. Affirmations and advice for black women.
Irina Elena
As a white woman who has grown up and lived exclusively in European countries, I started this book knowing shamefully little about the perception of black women in America and how this affects every facet of their lives. I watch the news like most of us, sure, and hear about the latest crazy horrifying cases of police brutality or internet scandals online, but I rarely do in-depth research about things that are so far away from me geographically. I would love to say that things in Europe are ver ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: booktini-2017
Nothing new or groundbreaking, but still a very uplifting alternative to the often negative and complicated way the mainstream handles Black women. If you need a factual #blackgirlmagic pick me up, this may help.

It was also great to see a lot of women I've known online for years featured in the book.

A 3.5 star read for me.
Kat Olmstead
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After winning this from GoodReads I found this book very eye opening and inspiring. Written with passion and flair. A must read!
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, concise book on black women stereotypes and issues!
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wish this book had come out when I was 14 or 15. Though some of the topics would have been over my head, I would have learned a great deal. It would have been a book that I picked up again at 20 and again at 25. It is something I plan to gift to black girls growing up and to black women in general.

I really enjoyed they way this book gave me affirmations and made me feel included. As an awkward black girl and now care free black woman, there were many times growing up that I needed to know bein
Alana Benjamin
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is book is a must read for any black woman from the age of 16 upwards. It is a really simple read that highlights a lot of the issues facing black women.

It uses a lot of popular culture references to explain how black women are portrayed negatively as well as positively while reinforcing the resilience of Black Women.

One of the last pages of the book quotes a lady called Deesha, who's story is told in the book, that 'systemic racism and sexism need to be acknowledged and fought, but she a
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the book you talk with your sisters about and pass on to your daughters. Finally!!! I enjoyed this book from beginning to end, I really fed and lifted my soul!! 💚
Never Without a Book
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book. Short, yet powerful.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: milf-manuals
One day. I read this joint in one day.

It was completely engrossing and intriguing. A wonderful quick read that managed to explore intersectional feminism & womanism in a refreshing 21st century light. It tackled many complexities about the life of the black woman: sexuality, health, anger, beauty standards, etc. Using the lens of pop culture, the author also called out unacceptable views of the black woman.

If you have a real interest in intersectional feminism or if you just want to understand
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm reeling, tearful, and yet inspired. Almost 20 years ago, I wrote a dissertation of the portrayal of African American girls in picture books. The most prevalent image was a girl who is kind, responsible, smart, and independent. Very different from the "helpless little white girls" in picture books. One of my advisors suggested that it was the story that the big publishers want to put out there. Harris tells us what happens to those kind, responsible, smart, and independent girls when they gro ...more
Melania 🍒

Such an important book with such an important message. I can’t give it 4 stars since it is so short and I feel that this complex problems can be discussed in so much more depth. But, again, I feel like because it is so short more people should pick it up.
The Sisters Are Alright is first of all a love note Tamara Winfrey Harris has written to other black women. It’s a warm, welcoming book that celebrates their complexities and humanity. I hope Harris’ book will be a gift given to many young black girls. I read this book to understand the specific lived experience of black women in the United States, become a better ally and just rejoice in the celebration of women of color.

Some of you might know the author from her blog What Tami Said or from her
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"The Sisters are Alright" is a welcomed addition to the Black Feminist canon. Tamara Winfrey-Harris combines personal narrative, extensive research, and interviews with an array of Black women to produce a comprehensive look at what it means to be a dimensional Black woman. While it is heavy subject matter, Winfrey-Harris navigates difficult terrain around marriage, health, sexuality, and even beauty, to paint portraits of complex Black women attempting to navigate a world that oppresses us with ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: race, non-fiction, gender
I think this is a fantastic book for anyone newly "woke" to the experiences black women face (or, truthfully, just want a better overview of what we face), because it does take century-long struggles, condenses them into an easy-to-follow narrative and gives a reader positive affirmations that despite all these things, black women are still capable of thriving—not because we're "strong," but because we deserve our own happiness. But, for me, it didn't offer new to the table. While it was genuine ...more
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think this book is more relevant now more than ever. I like that Harris is trying to change the narrative of the Black Woman living in America. She offers key example and insights that pushes you to think deeply about the issues facing a Black Woman. While I am not living in the US the book really resonated with me. Not only did Harris make a strong point with this book, she’s showing the world that the Sisters are indeed alright!
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was alright.

I think I would have enjoyed it more if the chapters were essays by other authors. I knew from early on -- I didn't get the black girl magic I was hoping to pull from the pages. Easy read, not a lot of critical thought.
Nov 07, 2015 added it
Black sisters, mothers, aunties and friends, the perspective that you need to have to make sure that you don't ruin your own life one day at a time is right here. ...more
Jordan Pelavin
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
The best book I've read so far this year. ...more
Jamie (TheRebelliousReader)
”In truth, African American women are seen as troubling because of the reductive way they have been viewed for hundreds of years. But black women are not waiting to be fixed; they are fighting to be free—free to define themselves absent narratives driven by race and gender biases.”

5 stars. Whew, this book had me hot because there was not one lie told. This was fantastic and I honestly wish it were longer. I was absolutely hooked from the jump and I couldn’t stop reading it. Some of the topic
Quick review for a quick, fairly enjoyable read—nothing to write home about, but I imagine it’d be an apt conversation starter for book clubs. I did enjoy how Tamara Winfrey Harris included so many different perspectives of BW: queer stay-at-home moms, burlesque dancers, and so on. This book could definitely serve as an introduction to specific black women who have founded much needed organizations (Black Girls Run, Outdoor Afro, black cultural groups in Princeton, etc.)

During my time with The
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Tamara Winfrey-Harris is a writer who specializes in the ever-evolving space where current events, politics and pop culture intersect with race and gender.

She says, “I want to be a storyteller of the Black female experience and a truth-teller to all those folks who got us twisted—tangled up in racist and sexist lies. I want my writing to advocate for my sisters. We are better than alright. We are

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  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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“Black women’s stories look a lot different from what you’ve heard. And when black women speak for themselves, the picture presented is nuanced, empowering, and hopeful.” 10 likes
“No one can define black women but black women.” 9 likes
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