The sisters are alright: changing the broken narrative of black women in america

While reading “The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America,” by Tamara Winfrey Harris, I thought of all the people who need to read this book.

Such as Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer who sexually assaulted at least 13 black women, most whom he believed were the forgotten among the community due to not so angelic pasts.

And Rachel Dolezal, the modern day snake oil salesman peddling an inauthentic form of blackness with curly wigs and spray tanner, but without the pesky struggles that accompany a blackness that can’t be pulled or rinsed off at the end of the night.

This book is for the cringe worthy meme makers and social media commenters who boldly bully black women in QWERTY and ten key while hiding safely behind their monitors.

And I can’t forget the “black empowerment” Instagram accounts that praise Serena Williams for her success in one post, and in the next post feature a nameless, overweight black woman whose hair and style choices are open season for commenters to fire rude and unnecessary shots at her appearance. True story. The message: black women matter, but there’s an invisible asterisk there that doesn’t make room or desire for the diversity among us.

This book is a great read for everyone noted, and many more who aren’t, who attack black women verbally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually, based on racist and societal stereotypes. It's also, of course, for black women, providing comfort when the world is sometimes ruthless in its assessment and treatment of us. 

Harris covers many of the well-known stereotypes with which black women are painted, some of which include the angry and strong black woman tropes, single motherhood stigmas, and the historical generalizations of the Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire.

“The Sisters are Alright” presents and examines the sources of such misrepresentations in an accessibly academic manner and combats the stereotypes with statistics and unfiltered personal anecdotes from black women. Harris keeps the information fresh with plenty of personality and testify in agreement moments.

One thing the book suggests is missing from the soul dimming scenarios that plague black women is a very simple but often overlooked idea when it comes to them: their humanity.

That it’s OK to check the boxes that may label you angry, single, and loud, and that black women are no more these things than any other group. Do black women have difficulties, individually and collectively? Yes, as with everyone else. However, alongside valid issues are deceptive and negative tales that have snowballed and deformed over time and buried black women in the process.

Despite all, we are indeed alright. It’s only the narratives that are broken and not the black women they target. 

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