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

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2011 - Psychology - 392 pages
1 Review

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.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mdbrady - LibraryThing

Sister Citizen is a rich book, full of themes worthy of a reviewer’s attention. I have chosen to discuss it from my own particular perspective, that of a white feminist. Sister Citizen was not written ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Jewell Anderson - Book Verdict

Harris-Perry (political science, Tulane Univ.; Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought) offers a fascinating academic discussion of barriers to African American women's ... Read full review


The Bridge Poem by Kate Rushin
N0 Mirrors in My Nanas House Sweet Honey in the Rock lyrics
Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Melissa V. Harris-Perry 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.

Bibliographic information