BOOKS: The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America
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 Matriarch, the willfully unmarried baby machine leeching off the state, joined them. These stereotypes persist to this day through newspaper headlines, Sunday sermons, social media memes, cable punditry, government policies, and hit song lyrics. Emancipation may have happened more than 150 years ago, but America still won't let a sister be free from this coven of caricatures.
Tamara Winfrey Harris delves into marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality, beauty, and more, taking sharp aim at pervasive stereotypes about black women. She counters warped prejudices with the straight-up truth about being a black woman in America. “We have facets like diamonds,” she writes. “The trouble is the people who refuse to see us sparkling.”
About The Author:
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. Her first book is The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative for Black Women in America (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Summer 2015). “For black women,” Tamara explains, “the most radical thing we can do is to throw off the shackles forged by [stereotypes] and regain our full and complex humanity. [This] is a revolutionary act in the face of a society eager to mold us into hard, unbreakable things.”
Well-versed on a range of topics such as Beyoncé’s feminism, media coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama, and the natural hair movement, Tamara is a sought-after commentator, having appeared on or published in media outlets such as NPR’s “Weekend Edition”, Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Daily Circuit,” the Chicago Sun-Times, Ms., The American Prospect, Salon, The Guardian, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Jane Pratt’s XO Jane, The Huffington Post, and Psychology Today. Tamara’s article, “No Disrespect: Black Women and the Burden of Respectability,” which first appeared in Bitch magazine, was published in the fourth edition of the textbook, The Arlington Reader (Bedford/St. Martin’s 2013).
Tamara's writing career began with the personal blog, What Tami Said. Her work there has been referenced by New York magazine and a host of sites dedicated to feminism and race. An article from the blog post, “Nappy Love: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Kinks” was published by Oxford University Press (2014) in How Writing Works: 1st edition with Readings. Tamara was also a senior editor at Racialicious, a blog that explores the intersection of race and pop culture.
A Midwesterner at heart, Tamara is a native of Indiana. She graduated with a BA degree from the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University. She is also a graduate of the Maynard Institute's Editing Program for Minority Journalists. With more than 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations and marketing, Tamara also teaches public speaking to college students. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.