Class, Identity, and Contemporary Black Women
By (author) Katrina Bell McDonald
Publication date:27 July 2006
Length of book:228 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
With this purported new 'era of high-profile, mega successful, black women who are changing the face of every major field worldwide' and growing socioeconomic diversity among black women as the backdrop, Embracing Sisterhood seeks to determine where contemporary black women's ideas of black womanhood and sisterhood merge with social class status to shape certain attachments and detachments among them. Similarities as well as variations in how black women of different social backgrounds perceive and live black womanhood are interpreted for a range of social contexts. This book confirms what many of today's African-American women and interested observers have known for some time: Conceptions and experience of black womanhood are quite diverse and appear to have grown more diverse over time. However, the potential for a pervasive and polarizing black 'step-sisterhood' is considerably undermined by the passion with which these women cling to the promises of cross-class gender/ethnic 'community' and of group determination. Embracing Sisterhood draws its analysis from in-depth interviews with eighty-eight contemporary black women aged 18 to 89 covering a variety of issues prompted by a survey questionnaire capturing various dimensions of gender/ethnic identity and consciousness.
Embracing Sisterhood utilizes an exhaustive investigation of secondary material in combination with interviews with a diverse group of African American women to explore the impact of a social class schism where images of class discord can mask shared concerns. McDonald's powerful study is important reading for people interested in how social class can shape attachments and detachments within racial ethnic communities.