Notes of a White Black Woman: Race, Color, Community (Hardback)Judy Scales-Trent (author)
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While the "one-drop rule" in the United States dictates that people with any African ancestry are black, many black Americans have white skin. Notes of a White Black Woman is one woman's attempt to describe what it is like to be a "white" black woman and to live simultaneously inside and outside of both white and black communities.
Law professor Judy Scales-Trent begins by describing how our racial purity laws have operated over the past four hundred years. Then, in a series of autobiographical essays, she addresses how race and color interact in relationships between men and women, within families, and in the larger community. Scales-Trent ultimately explores the question of what we really mean by "race" in this country, once it is clear that race is not a tangible reality as reflected through color.
Scales-Trent uses autobiography both as a way to describe these issues and to develop a theory of the social construction of race. She explores how race and color intertwine through black and white families and across generations; how members of both black and white communities work to control group membership; and what happens to relations between black men and women when the layer of color is placed over the already difficult layer of race. She addresses how one can tell-and whether one can tell-who, indeed, is "black" or "white." Scales-Trent also celebrates the richness of her bicultural heritage and shows how she has revised her teaching methods to provide her law students with a multicultural education.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 206
Weight: 467 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
-Carolyn See, Washington Post
"These stunningly powerful essays call upon experiences utterly personal yet distinctly universal; they examine flawed constructs that have evolved to set people apart from one another-fundamental notions about how a person is supposed to look or act based upon arbitrary groupings. With a goal no less compelling than building what she terms `a new kinds of community,' Scales-Trent proves to be a teacher of remarkable humanity and great clarity of thought."
"In this powerful collection of life-writing, we see our sister coming home to herself and to us. In doing so, she places the `color complex' squarely on the table. We owe it to her to join the dialogue."
-Patricia Bell-Scott, editor of Life Notes: Personal Writing by Contemporary Black Women