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"...a cogent history of black feminist struggles and debates up until now."
—The Women's Review of Books
Two of America’s leading African-American intellectuals provide the most comprehensive critique to date of the state of relations between Black men and women. Dr. Johnetta Cole and Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall argue that, in the 21st century, the condition of Black women must be addressed alongside the condition of Black men.
Drs. Cole and Guy-Sheftall bring unique qualifications to this book as scholars, feminists, and intellectual leaders. They examine the historical conflict between race and gender issues in the Black community, the impact of feminism, the role of the Black Church, attitudes about sexuality, and popular culture including hip-hop. The authors boldly assert that, without attention to these matters, there can be no long-lasting solution to many of the community’s race problems. They point to the impact of sexism on the oppression of Black women, including male dominance within Black communities.
Beginning with their own gender talk and examining how their own childhoods and adult experiences have led them to feminism, they also include the voices of a large and influential group of African-American men and women who speak openly of gender issues including bell hooks, Kevin Powell, Cornel West, Byllye Avery, Robin DG Kelley, Faye Wattleton, Tricia Rose, and Dorothy Height (President of the National Council of Negro Women for more than 40 years).
Dr. Johnetta B. Cole is the President of Bennett College; Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and English and the Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College.
Praise for Gender Talk...
“GENDER TALK challenges the zero/sum game of patriarchy—that women must lose so men can win—with the simple truth that the Black community only wins when all its members are strong. Personally honest, well-researched, practical and brave, Johnnetta Cole and Beverly Guy-Sheftall have given all Americans a healing book that no family, classroom, library, or couple should be without."
“Every feminist -- and everyone who cares about racial and gender justice -- should read GENDER TALK to understand the deep connections between these historic liberation movements. Speaking with brave personal honesty, and drawing on both history and diverse contemporary black voices, the authors not only break silence about sexism and homophobia but also offer hope through revolutionary alternatives and concrete strategies for moving "from patriarchy to partnership." This book is a rich resource for teaching women's studies and an original contribution to the political dialogue about race and sex.”
—Estelle Freedman, Professor of History, Stanford University, Author of NO TURNING BACK: THE HISTORY OF FEMINISM AND THE FUTURE OF WOMEN
“As Johnnetta B. Cole and Beverly Guy-Sheftall point out, GENDER TALK was both a difficult and a controversial book to write, for it reaches not for what is safe and easy, but for the most difficult issues that will confront black women and men in the years ahead if they are to survive as a group. I can think of few other black women better able to engage this project. Written from the heads and the hearts of two women with long careers in race and gender struggles inside and across the color line, its brilliant but blunt honesty speaks truth through the power of black womanhood that echoes Cooper's words: "[o]nly the Black Woman can say 'when and where I enter . . . the whole race enters with me."
—Nellie Y. McKay, Department of African American Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
“Back in the day, black people agreed not to talk about women's liberation. Cole and Guy-Sheftall have challenged that dictum, arguing that that taboo has led to such horrible problems as the uncontrolled AIDS epidemic. As a public health researcher, I have learned that women's well-being is a major foundation of community health. Cole and Guy-Sheftall have done us all a service in calling us to finish the work of women's equity in our community. This book should be read by everyone interested in the welfare of women and of black people."
—Mindy Fullilove, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Public Health, Columbia University
“A masterful analysis of the complexities of gender and race issues among African-Americans. Everyone who yearns for improved black female-male partnerships should read this book.”
—Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
"[Gender Talk] is the most able and constructive black feminist book published thus far in terms of its potential accessibility to a broad range of readers....[it] lays out clearly and logically the process by which black communities arrived at our current situation....[Gender Talk] is simple straight-forward, clear, and brimming with integrity, positive energy, and honesty."
—The Women's Review of Books
Table of Contents:
Acknowledgments; Preface; Introduction; 1. The Personal Is Political; 2. Having Their Say: Conversations with Sisters and Brothers; 3. Collisions: Black Liberation Versus Women’s Liberation; 4. The Black Church; 5. Race Secrets and the Body Politic; 6. Black, Lesbian, and Gay: Speaking the Unspeakable; 7. No Respect: Hip-Hop and Gender Politics; 8. Where Do We Go From Here?; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index