Melissa Harris-Perry, author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America and host of a new yet-to-be-named weekend news and politics show on MSNBC, was on “The Colbert Report” last night. She and Colbert talked about the stereotypes of Black women that she explores in her book – the Jezebel, the Sapphire, the Mammy and the Strong Black Woman – and about the stereotype of the Absent Black Man.
Lest she be accused of reverse racism or reverse sexism, Harris-Perry assured Colbert that stereotypes don’t affect only Black women. “In some ways, don’t all women face stereotypes?” Colbert asked. “All women face stereotypes,” MHP replied, “there’s no Oppression Olympics, there’s no one group where things are so much worse,” whereupon Colbert interrupted to ask, “Who would win? Who would win if there were?”
“The point of the book,” MHP then explained, “is not that there are these bad things that these other folks are doing to African American women. The point of the book is that it matters how we feel about ourselves. That African American women’s internal life experiences are part of the American story.” For more on Sister Citizen, read Samhita’s recent review.
Rock on, MHP. And here’s hoping she has Colbert on as a guest on her new show when it starts. On February 4. Which is less than a month away. Not that I’m counting it down or anything.