Gloria Steinem Had Strong Influence on Black Women

By Evelyn C. White | SF Gate

Steinem and Hughes c/o MISS

Tonight Home Box Office will air “Gloria: In Her Own Words” – a riveting documentary about the famed leader of the feminist movement. The masterful film augments “The Education of A Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem” by Carolyn Heilbrun, the first full-length biography of the activist/journalist who, in 1971, co-founded Ms. magazine.

Indeed, “Gloria” features hilarious footage of network anchor Harry Reasoner (1923 -1991) deriding the launch of a magazine that he ventured would last “six months before it ran out of things to say.” Forty years later, Ms. boasts a global readership and was recently honored for an article on antiabortion extremists.

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Why I’m Not Looking Forward to The Help

The British cover of Stockett’s novel

By Jennifer Williams | Ms. Blog

I picked up a copy of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel The Help at an airport bookstore. I figured the four-hour flight to Texas would be enough time to absorb 544 plot-driven pages, and reading the novel during one of my frequent trips south seemed appropriate. For some readers, The Help calls up memories of being nurtured and cared for by black women who might have been more like mothers to them than their own white birth mothers. The story conjures for me, however, the labor–and, at times, humiliation–those domestic workers endured.

True, some of those black women also no doubt felt genuine affection for the white families they worked for. But the dictates of race and class strained those emotional ties. Black women entrusted with the care of white households and children were often still forced to enter back doors and use separate facilities. Like it or not, this vexed dynamic of interracial intimacy and dehumanization is one of the founding stories of our nation.

Continue Reading @ Ms.

Jezebels, Welfare Queens—And Now, Criminally Bad Black Moms

Monique as “Mary Jones” in the film Precious

By Julianne Hing | Colorlines

The shocking Cobb County, Ga., prosecution of Raquel Nelson, who law enforcement blamed when her son was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver, has drawn national headlines and outrage. But criminal justice watchdogs and cultural critics point out that, while Nelson’s story is extreme, it’s not that unusual—and it’s the product of centuries worth of demonizing black women that has taken a new, insidious turn during the current recession.

“This hit and run story is such an apt metaphor for what’s happening,” said Nikki Jones, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “American policies have essentially been a hit and run on black women that leave them in circumstances where they’re managing day to day and then getting punished for their very victimhood.”

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Spike Lee’s "She’s Gotta Have It" Turns 25

By Salamishah Tillet | The Root

On the hot night of Aug. 8, 1986, a line of young black people wrapped around the corner of New York City’s Cinema Studio 1, eager to catch Spike Lee’s much-buzzed-about debut feature film, She’s Gotta Have It. Eighty-five hot and sexy minutes later, they weren’t disappointed with      Lee’s cinematic achievement.

The following day, the New York Times review said that the movie “has a touch of the classic.” And the Washington Post praised its “rare quality: a sense of place.”

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