Stephen Colbert asks MHP to pick a winner in the Oppression Olympics

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.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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