Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Shifting: Chapter 1: The Roots of Shifting

 [Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America]

In chapter 1 of Shifting, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden covers a number of myths concerning black women in America. Many of these myths that have come to be widely accepted are linked to negative stereotypes about black women.

The subsection “The Myth of Unshakability” opens, “Black girls don’t cry.” The writers suggest that some black women have “internalized the myth of unshakability”, never allowing themselves to feel or express displeasure. (20)

Of the myths that the authors discussed, which one stood out to you and why?

--Jeremiah Carter  

16 comments:

Tayler G. said...

The myth that stood out to me the most was "The Myth of Non-femininity." This myth affects women physically, mentally, and emotionally. Women may try to dress a certain way and act a certain way to try to be more "feminine" or "lady-like."
Women may even lose themselves trying to be something they are not or what society wants them to be.

Ty Bruce said...

The myth of criminality stood out the most to me. This stood out the most because I can relate to it. I have been in a store before where the employees watched me or followed me around thinking they were being discreet .
Tyjohnea B.

Jessica D said...

Of the myths that the author discussed,the myth of inferiority stood out the most to me. The myth stated that, "... how difficult it is to survive in a culture that constantly stereotypes Black women as unintelligent, lazy, unmotivated, unattractive, difficult to deal with, and unable maintain a functional family." This stereotype is very wrong because in reality for higher education, career development, professional positions black women in our nation are increasingly competing shoulder-to-shoulder with other Americans.Also a lot of black women aren't lazy and unmotivated because they are trying to prove these very same stereotypes wrong and they are trying to provide their families.
-Jessica D

Samiya Barber said...

The myth that stood out the most to me is The Myth of Unshakability. This myth stood out the most to me because my mom is just like 24-year-old Claudia and it hot close to home. It made me think about how black women are so busy trying to be strong for everyone else that that can't even utter up the words to ask someone else for help and that is not okay.

Erica King said...

The myth that stood out to me the most sadly was the myth about "Black women regularly receive the message that they are inferior to other people." Just last week in my English class, we talked about racism and white men being able to do more things than even white women in the past, now we have migrated to that fact that even though black women can pretty much do the same things as white women now, black women still feels as if they are "below" white women.

Alona Davenport said...

The myth that stood out to me was the myth that black women are invulnerable because it's not directly a negative stereotype and yet with the way black women try to keep that myth alive, they end up strained and stressed. I feel like I can relate to this because I have always tried to seem like a strong person that is hurt by nothing and needs no one. Although, it is hard to shake out of that mindset, I know it isn't the one that I, or anyone for the matter, should have.
~Alona D.

Kiara C said...

The myth that stood out the most is the myth of unshakabily. My mother is very much like Betty, 47, in the sense that they feel they must be strong not for themselves but for those around them. I have rarely ever seen my mother cry even during times when most people would be/are an emotional wreck. The few times I have seen my mother cry, she is alone at times when she believe no one will see her.

Alexis Acoff said...

The myth that stood out the most to me is The Myth of Inferiority. While I was reading it, I immediately connected with the story from Lucinda because of some of the experiences that my parents went through and shared with me as I got older. Both of my parents grew up in East St. Louis, went to college, TSU and SIUE, and eventually moved to a suburb in O'Fallon, Illinois to start a family. My neighborhood started off about 90% white and my parents had to shift to being able to make friends with our white neighbors, but loved going back home in East St. Louis where they could interact with old friends and family.

Asher said...

The myth that really stood out to me was the myth of people being surprised that a black person, especially a female, being so well spoken. I have had many people tell me that I speak, "good for a black girl" or sometimes, "you're pretty smart for a black girl". That has always infuriated me.Are people so surprised that someone other than white, can be educated and well spoken? This stereotype has got to go. Especially, now that women of color have made such an impact in music, literature, education. It's about time America wakes up and realize that, we are MORE than our skin color.

Natasha said...

For me, the myth of criminality stood out the most. I used to work at a particular retail store and it was an unspoken truth that the management was racist (I'm glad I could get out of that job) and every time an African American walked in the store, we were prompted to stay in the same aisle as that customer. It would get so obvious that the customer would often leave, clearly fed up with us employees watching their every move.

I can relate my job with Davida's "five-and-dime"game in the book. She mentioned in the store how all the employees would stalk the Black girls who came in, while the White girls already in the store would steal all the pretty lipstick. At my job, while the management often had us look at the African American customers, we would find empty shoe boxes left by Caucasian customers almost daily. For some reason, they just assumed White people would not steal, so they never wanted us to "waste" our time watching them. Funny how things turn out though.

I can also relate to Jocelyn who felt "every pair of eyes on her" after walking into a jewelry store in Kentucky and just like her, I leave stores where I feel disrespected. I despise that so many employers stereotype Black women as people who want to steal. They stereotype them as ungrateful women who want to take the easy way out and steal. In reality, Black women work so hard for what they have. I have friends, friends' parents, and relatives who took huge steps to where they are now. They don't deserve that stereotype. They are hard working people.

I could relate to each stereotype listed in this book and it pains me to admit how valid they are. In the future, I hope we as a society can work even harder to overcome these awful generalizations.

Natasha Handy

Jade H. said...

The myth that stood out to me the most is "The Myth of Inferiority." It is unbelievable how many Black women feel like they have to prove themselves in this society. I don't feel like I need to prove anything to anybody, except to my family and to make sure I do good for myself. Black women are queens, and queens should not cloud their judgement based on what others think of them.

Carlie Bibbs said...

The myth of inferiority really stands out to me because I have personally dealt with others who have seen me as inferior to my racial counterparts as well as my male counterparts. My mom as well as my aunt are always telling me that I have to work harder than everyone else (in society) just because of the fact that people are more likely to value the black woman less. What really resonates with me, also, is that when others see good and acceptable qualities in me, they view me as the "Oreo" or the exception to the black race, making it seem as these qualities can't be held by many black people. The quote from the book says ""When Black women are talented, professional, and competent, they're no longer really Black, because these qualities don't fit the stereotype." (17) That is how I feel a lot of people view me, especially those in the school setting.

Persephone Cole said...

The Myth of Criminality stood out to me the most because I've been in similar situations to the ones described in the book. I've walked in a store before and have been watched so closely that I decided I no longer wanted to purchase anything from that particular store. Then, I have this gut feeling as to what the employees might think about me just walking out the store, without making a purchase after I had been roaming around for a while.
Is it just because I'm black? Sometimes it makes me upset and other times I feel bad. I know I'm not a bad person and I'd never steal a single item, but I guess it's just because I'm black.

Shardai J-H. said...

The myth of Non-femininity stood out the most. Personally, as a young woman, it is almost disrespectful to be categorized as not feminine, or masculine. But, one must know what characteristics are subjected as being manly, which may be different to each individual. A Black woman, especially a single mother, has no choice but to shift into the roll of a father, or supporter, or any other role involving strength and provision that society had defined as masculine. In addition, only weak minded men will be intimidated by a strong willed woman. Sometimes our demeanor as Black women is perceived as being "stuck-up," but only those with a like mind will know it's confidence. We are queens and shall act accordingly.

Kayla Daniels said...

The myth of unshakability stood out to me. Throughout my life living in a predominantly white community, I had faced some issues both at school and at home. At school, I heard comments about my hair, my lack of wanting to swim, and comparisons of my skin color to other black kids. At home, I was told to represent my race in the best light possible. I was to be a strong leader who would dress as such. However that was not who I was. I am a metalhead. I love the music, culture and clothes. I was ridiculed and told by my parents that it was unacceptable. It hurt to be told that you would fail just because your interests are different. But it was expected of me to just take it in stride and to keep moving forward. The only one to see me cry then was my younger sister. But all in all, between my sister and I, I was the one in charge. Out of my friends, I was the strongest. And to my peers, I was either happy or emotionless. The show emotion meant weakness, and I was not bred to be weak.

Sylvia Johnson said...

I believe that the myth of inferiority stood out to me. I believe that some people would still follow by this stereotype today. This couldn't be true because we have so many strong black women in high places. And as a young black lady myself, I believe that if I believe I can do things and if I feel I'm superior then I am. If I think it , and believe it, then I can achieve it.