Black, beautiful, political

Melissa V. Harris-Perry is well-known in progressive circles as a columnist for The Nation and a frequent guest on several MSNBC political programs. This book—it’s unwieldy full title is Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America: For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn’t Enough—solidifies her place as a public intellectual. It has the added advantage of being incredibly readable and organized around Zora Neale Hurston’s masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God. That organization is a clear cue as to how interdisciplinary this work is; Harris-Perry goes directly to black women in order to address the mythology surrounding their lives, using every tool available. In doing so, she makes another firm case for one of the core tenets of feminism: The personal is political. Harris-Perry translates this work into a clear call for political action, as well as a politics of black womanhood.