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Extended Audio Sample Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, by Melissa V. Harris-Perry Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (487 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Melissa V. Harris-Perry Narrator: Lisa Reneé Pitts Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From a highly regarded thinker on race, gender, and American politics comes a new consideration of the pervasive stereotypes black women encounter and an analysis of how these representations shape their experiences as citizens.

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 audiobook, 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 is an examination of 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 citizens links together black women in America, from the anonymous survivors of Hurricane Katrina to the current First Lady of the United States.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Harris-Perry’s book is both insightful and provocative.”

    Donna Brazile, political commentator for CNN and ABC News

  • This is a broad, ambitious and important book that centers black women at the heart of American politics.”

    Cathy J. Cohen, author of Boundaries of Blackness

  • “Harris-Perry offers fascinating observations of how black women are, at times, constricted by their mythology and asserts that their experiences act as a democratic litmus test for the nation.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jake | 2/13/2014

    " Harris-Perry meanders throughout this text, spending less time on the stereotypes than I anticipated, but to fault her for that would be to ignore the astounding work that she does with this book. This is a necessary work and could easily be the start to a much-needed conversation about the intersectionality of race and gender in our country. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Andre | 1/26/2014

    " I love the analogy that undergirds this book, "trying to stand up straight in a crooked room." Ms. Harris-Perry does a remarkable job of explaining this challenge that is often mis-diagnosed by all. She provides history mixed with present day situations that make hers analysis clear and insightful. The discussion of myths and stereotypes and the effects of them on Black women is instructional. I hope that not only Black women embrace this book, but my fellow Black men do so as well. There is no doubt that we (brothers) have bought into the strong black woman myth often to the detriment of our mothers, sisters, daughters and spouses. I know I've been guilty of the purchase of this delusion. This is not to say that Black women are not, or can't be strong, but to gain a greater grasp of the effects of the myth. Certainly, if you want a more in-depth understanding, you'll have to buy this book and be guided by Ms. Harris-Perry's brilliance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Alex Templeton | 1/22/2014

    " This is one of those books that I am truly glad I read, because it has taught me valuable things that I feel that I should know as a feminist interested in social justice. Harris-Perry writes convincingly of the stereotypes that shape African Americans womens' lives, personally and politically: the oversexed Jezebel, the caretaker Mammy, the Strong Black Women. Her arguments consist of the ways in which those stereotypes determine behavior (going out of one's way to behave in a way that refutes them, for example) and even the ways in which the more positive ones--the Strong Black Woman--can lead to unhealthy ways of being. Of course, I am a Caucasian woman, so I have no idea what it is like to be an African American woman in American society today and can therefore neither praise nor refute Harris-Perry's depiction of that life. Still, I have been thinking about these ideas ever since and assume that they will make a difference in framing my future encounters with African American female students. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sharon Younkin | 1/15/2014

    " Smart, well researched book with great structure and an engaging thesis. "

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About the Author
Author Melissa V. Harris-Perry

Melissa V. Harris-Perry is a professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. She is the author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, which won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. She is also a contributor to MSNBC and a frequent guest on the Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word. She is a columnist for the Nation magazine, as well as a regular commentator for many print and radio sources in the United States and abroad. She lives with her family in New Orleans.