Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Shifting: Chapter 3: "The Many Shifts of Black Women"

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

In chapter 3 of Shifting, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden breakdown the many ways that black women “shift” in different environments. They explain that black women spend much of their time and energy, daily monitoring themselves and their environments in order to adjust.

In the subsection “Scanning, Surveying, and Scrutinizing,” the authors relate the process of shifting to the scientific method—involving “hypotheses, data collection, and revising theories” (70). They are suggesting that many black women intensely assess their environments in order to adjust/shift.

What aspect of shifting, as described by the authors in this chapter, stood out to you and why? Please provide a page number for your response.

--Jeremiah Carter

16 comments:

Ty Bruce said...

A black women noting her surroundings then changing her behavior according on who is around her stands out to me the most. It's as if she is not allowed to be herself or "herself" is not acceptable.
Tyjohnea Bruce

Erica King said...

Starting on page 62, it states that shifting can be a form of survival. This stood out to me the most because in a way I agree and in a way I also disagree. Yes, some may say and think that if you want to survive in a certain area and or situation then you have to adjust to fit in but if you don't adjust, you wont technically die; you may still survive without shifting or adjusting, you just will have to experience surviving with struggles.

Samiya Barber said...

The aspect of survival on page 63 and it says, "They must endlessly compromise themselves to put other people at ease." This stood out to me the most because I agree with it. Black women always have to keep their comments to themselves and it's not right that others don't have to care about their comments and appearance as much.

Alexis Acoff said...

Shifting can be adaptive, on page 63, stood out to me the most. My personal shifting happens without me realizing it until I consciously think about it, and I think I have naturally adapted to my surroundings. In my head, there is a certain way to behave in certain situations. Sometimes, in order to reach a certain level of success, a slight shift is necessary in order to reach your goals.

Asher said...


The sub topic in "The Many Shifts of Black Women" called "Fighting Back" reminded me of the big ordeal between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus.This was a textbook example of what’s come to be known as “tone policing,” a common term in feminist and anti-racist circles—shifting the focus from what was said to how it was said, using the pretext of concern that someone’s style might undermine substance to, well, undermine that substance. It’s also an example of an opinion that appears informed in part by stereotype. Nicki had every single right in the world to stand her ground and say something regarding the light she’s portrayed in by other female performers, in the media, basically in general. But, the next day, you see headlines saying, "Nicki Minaj attacks Miley on stage", playing off the "Mad Black Woman" stereotype. When black women defend ourselves, we are told to be quiet and suck it up.

-Asher Denkyirah

Carlie Bibbs said...

The part on page 70 about scanning, surveying, and scrutinizing stood out to me a lot because it's something I'm familiar with and I have heard my mom talk about her experiences with this as well. The books says "they debate whether to speak up right away when they hear a racist joke at work or let it go, because sometimes the cost of speaking up is greater than the gain." I actually dealt with a similar issue like this in class recently, where I had to decide whether or not to stand up for the black community and get rid of the stereotypes that my white teacher had about us or whether I should stay quiet for the sake of my grade in the class. My mom has also told me about situations where she'd had to bite her tongue to keep from "offending" people although she was the only truly being offended.

It's awful that we have to make such quick decisions about whether to stand up for ourselves based on the fact that the consequences of our actions could really hurt us.
- Carlie Bibbs

Kayla Daniels said...

The subtopic "Shifting as Survival, Shifting as Self-Destruction" stood out to me. Especially, the self destruction half. Like it says on page 64, I constantly feel like I should be doing more to emulate other people but I go back and forth between two different worlds. On one hand, I like my metal music but can never have enough black or cool accessories. On the other, I want to look like other black girls and look cute and girly with brighter colors. I struggle and fight which side to go to but still have never chosen. Sometimes, I feel so stressed that I don't really know who I am or want to be.

Kayla Daniels

Jade H. said...

Shifting can be self-destructive, on page 64, stood out to me. It is true that many Black women put on a different persona in front of others to fit in, and it happens so much that these women start to lose themselves. Constantly having to put on a "White" face becomes exhausting and draining, and eventually she will start to feel disconnected from herself. And on top of that, nobody cares if she is suffering inside as long as she is pleasing everybody else and keeping a smile on her face.

Tayler Gill said...

I thought survival and adaptive stood out the most. Some black women may have to change themselves in order to survive. I find myself having to adapt to a certain environment or situation to be accepted

Persephone Cole said...

Battling the Myths as a shifting strategy stood out to me the most. Nobody wants to have to change they're normal conduct, but that's what it comes down to at times. The myths and stereotypes that have been associated with black women, at times, force us to boast about our accomplishments and make it known that we can achieve the same goals anyone else can.
Elaine talked about how she changes her voice when she's speaking in front of a group of white people and she talks about how her black friends would be surprised. She says "And I don't think it's natural. And I don't think it should be that way. But that's how it is." I think its sad that we, as black women, have to constantly change our natural conduct to be accepted in the world.

Shardai J-H. said...

Shifting can be self-destructive (64) stood out to me the most. Sometimes we have a tendency to try to make others happy when it's detrimental to ourselves. This leads to stress and even illness, trying to be not fully ourselves at all times, one may even feel trapped in maintaining an image to be accepted.

Sylvia Johnson said...

Something that stands out to me would be that in Shifting it seems as if black women have to observe whats going on around them and adapt t ocertain things to try and avoid being stereotyped.

-Sylvia

Jessica D said...

The Blocking the Pain of Bias Shifting (Page 73) stood out to me the most. It talks about how black women have to suppress or manage their feeling of sadness, anger, disappointment, anxiety, and shame that comes from experiences of bias. This type of shifting can be very dangerous. This can cause a woman to blame or beat up on herself, rather than focus on the real external problem. Suppressing these feelings can also cause depression.

Alona Davenport said...

On page 62, it states how black women quietly change the way the think/feel instead of showing it outwardly. This stood out to me because I feel as if this sentence was written just for me. I wasn't aware that this was a thing that other black women did. I thought it was something I did solely on the fact that I hate expressing emotions.
Alona D.

Kiara C said...

on page 64 they talk about the yo-yo paradox and how harmful it is for a black women to switch between white and black identities. this stood out to me because this is something that causes much anxiety in myself.I never what to be too black to hang out with white people but i also never want to be too white to hang out with other black people. i find myself constantly monitoring my actions and tone of voice and it is very exhausting.

Natasha said...

On page 64 begins the topic "Shifting as Self Destruction." I do believe shifting can tire women out. I think when something is wrong, we can be afraid to stick up for ourselves or shift back because we dont want to make a "sterotypical scene" as an angry black woman. It is very self-destructive to not stick up for ourselves. It's painful. I agree with Alberta's statement that "my entire race is judged by my actions." We strive to be perfect in all situations, which is just not possible or a productive way to think.