The struggle is not coming to term with your sexuality but overcoming the beliefs of your loved ones. I have to admit I did not know who Michele Wallace was. I knew who Faith Ringgold is, the brilliant Afro-American visual artist. I love that class. And the book is dazzling and straightforward in so many ways, a true piece of art.

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Shelves: non-fiction , feminism , politics , racism Ive been going round my circles in my head trying to work out how to review Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, Michelle Wallaces tract on Black Power, masculinity, and the sexism internalised by the African-American community. How does a white girl born 6 years after this book was published critique such a deeply personal, passionately written and important book?

Perhaps the safest route to take is to say that she doesnt really. She reads. She admires. She learns. There are flaws in the reasoning in this book, and issues left un-examined, but Williams was younger when she wrote it than I am now, and she has come over the years to openly acknowledge the gaps in the book. None of that takes away from how important a text it remains. When the black man is struggling to be perceived as a man on white terms, he is neglecting the needs of his own people and fighting a false battle.

When black culture in American accept uncritically the portrayal of the black slave woman as a collaborator who had a privileged status in the slave-owners home, they do untold damage to the unity of their fight. What really struck me here are the parallels with the argument Christine Delphy makes in another upcoming release from Verso Books, Separate and Dominate, which I reviewed here just last week.

In her book she speaks powerfully of the way in which the dominant class sets the paradigm and the rules which the oppressed need to conform with in order to be fully accepted and equal; standards which they can never meet because of their otherness, but which they are then blamed for failing to meet.

And their failure to meet these false standards justifies their continued exclusion. The complexities of the hierarchies of oppression, whether race or gender or class or any other based, are fascinating in their similarities. The arguments in Black Macho are not intended to feel fully formulated and academic. They are based on personal experience, on popular culture and on mainstream media.

This book left me with lists of names to look up; black authors and poets and figures in the Black Power movement. It made me realise how ignorant I am of black history in the States. And ultimately, whether every claim the book made will stand water or not is not the point.

It hooked me early; it was compulsively readable; it made me think and it opened my eyes. What more can I ask for? Read more of my reviews at www.

She talks about what she would have done differently, how her feelings have changed on certain topics, and - sadly - how she minimized the abuse patterns in her family at the request of her publisher. This created a good framework for a critical second reading of this book, which I actually read for a class a long time ago.

She candidly discusses both the truths and the falsehoods in each stereotype, and gives the Black Power movement holy hell for its blatant sexism and preference for white women over African American ones.

Damn good stuff. Seriously, an eye-opener. The bibliography alone is worth its weight in gold - so many new texts to explore!!! I think this book begins to scratch at larger conversations about relationships and community.

Too This is an intersting read, as the version I had included a new forward by the author, who was able to revist some of her ideas.


Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman

She and her younger sister Barbara grew up in a black middle-class family. Her mother is Faith Ringgold, who was a teacher and college lecturer before becoming a widely exhibited artist. Her father, Robert Earl Wallace, was a classical and jazz pianist. She spent a semester at Howard before returning to Harlem. Back in New York City in the spring of , she organized with her mother around anti-war , anti-imperialist art movements of the time and attended night school at the City College of New York.


Michele Wallace


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