Blog Book Review

Book Review: Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry

My first book review! I choose Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry. Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

My first ever book review, and I felt that it should be this book because of all the racial injustice issues and debates this year. This was my second time reading the book and really paying attention to what was being taught throughout the book. I think anyone who wants to gain more understanding of the racial injustice that has happened and continues to occur in this country should read. Also, it’s especially important for women to read, women of all backgrounds, because not every woman experiences the same issues in this country.

The beginning talks about the US government’s lack of response towards Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath back in 2005. Representative John Lewis, RIP, mentioned during a live CNN broadcast that race was a critical factor influencing both media representation of the disaster and government officials’ response.

Reading about this reminded me of the lack of response towards Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. It’s heartbreaking to see the aftermath and know that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and yet the response was as if it were another country going through this. But I agree with John Lewis that race was a critical factor in both hurricanes’ response.

She talked about the stereotypes of Black Women in the United States but first started by explaining a study she conducted. She had focus groups with 43 African-Americans women in Chicago, New York, and Oakland. She had the women write down the stereotypes or myths that other people may hold about African-American Women and then write down the facts about black women as they saw them. They all arrived at the same three stereotypes that many researchers of African-Americans women’s experience also identify: Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire. Melissa goes into great details about each of them.

From reading this book, I learned about these stereotypes, and I’ve become more aware of seeing these stereotypes play out in movies, television shows, and stories with African-American roles. Melissa provides examples in the book, and some of the examples mentioned I didn’t notice while I was watching the show until I look back in retrospect.

After reading the book, I understand more, I am more aware, and I can educate others moving forward. The more we know, the more we grow, which is why I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand more about the racial injustice that occurs in our country.

One book isn’t going to cover all information, but it will help understand what African-American women have to encounter daily.

She ends the book by using Michelle Obama as an example in all the stereotypes and struggles mentioned throughout the book. And even though Michelle Obama grew up with both her parents, she got two degrees from Ivy League schools, is married, has two daughters within her marriage, people still labeled her and criticized her within the stereotypes.

If you read this book or have read this book, I definitely would like your insight and thoughts on it. This book should be added to your list of books for educating more about racial issues in this country.

What books are on your list? Which ones would you recommend to me?

With Love,


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By Heidy De La Cruz

Daughter of God, Wife, Writer, Poet, Mother, and lover of life

2 replies on “Book Review: Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry”

Sister Citizen has been on my reading list for a few years so thank you for the reminder 😌. Although I haven’t read the book, I’ve heard/seen MHP speak, read other commentaries by her and greatly appreciate her voice. Thank you for this review and Merry Christmas!

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