Studies of contemporary black women are rare and scattered, and are often extensions of a legacy beginning in the 19th century that characterized black women as domineering matriarchs, prostitutes, or welfare queens, negative characterizations that are perpetuated by both white and non-white social scientists. Based on over 200 interviews, this book departs from these conventions in significant ways, and, using a "collective memory" conceptual framework, shows how black women cope with and interpret lives often limited by racial barriers not of their making.
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The women interviewed in Double Burden share bitter, important home truths as well as personal triumphs. Their accounts of what it's like to be black and female in America just might open some tightly shut eyes. Although many whites wishfully conceive of slavery as an awful, but surely very distant, chapter in U.S. history, Yannick St. Jean and Joe R. Feagin show how powerfully its legacy has continued to play out in outright segregation and the insidious undercutting of negative characterizations. Fueled by a collective memory of brutality and frequent reminders that racism still thrives, the well-educated, middle-class women quoted in the book recall being given denigrating social messages about their beauty, self-worth, sexuality, intelligence, and drive. Their pride in being resourceful and willing to stand up for themselves rings through. One woman says she keeps white men at work from "bothering" her by threatening legal action: "Now, what do you own besides that pickup truck and that big hat and those boots you got on?" she asks. "Because it's going to be mine if you keep fooling with me." Double Burden dips into a deep well of anger and suspicion, and though its message may be hard to bear, it lobs a necessarily explosive charge that blasts through the barriers built up by everyday, often unconscious acts of racism. --Francesca ColtreraAbout the Author:
Yanick St. Jean is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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Book Description Routledge, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111563249448