Black female writers have become increasingly aware of the negative stereotyping and oppression suffered by black women. In an article entitled "Dear Black Man," Fran Sanders discussed the plight of the black woman in American society (73-79). According to Sanders, the black man is already seen and heard by society (73). The black woman, however, has been misrepresented throughout history by historians, novelists, and statisticians as a "castrating matriarch" (74). Sanders stated that black women have long been a "secondary consideration" in relation to other genders and races in society (74).
Works Cited Grewal, Gurleen. Circles of Sorrow, Lines of Struggle - The Novels of Toni Morrison. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 1998. Harris, Trudier. Fiction and Folklore: The Novels of Toni Morrison.
The Results of Celie’s Physical and Mental Abuse In 1982 Alice Walker titled her Pulitzer Prize Winning novel, The Color Purple, which is symbolically meant to reflect radiance and majesty (Columbia). It is a story, entirely conveyed through letters, of one young black girl’s struggle to escape the brutal and degrading treatment by men, which had become a constant part of her life. Instead of focusing on race throughout the novel Walker accords “greater importance to power, the power to be, to concretize one’s self, as to mold others” (Dieke 102). This completely unbalanced power ultimately leaves Celie feeling alone and controlled, which affects her relationships with men and influences her relationship with women, mainly Shug Avery. The horrifying effects of rape and what Celie thought was incest so greatly scarred her for the rest of her life that she lost the ability to love, became confused about her sexuality, and subconsciously denied her right to an identity.
New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1988. 36. Print. Oppenheimer, Judy. "Chapter 7."
Walker’s novels communicate the psychology of a Black woman under the Western social order, touch on the “exoticism of Black women” and challenge stereotypes molded by the white men in power (Bobo par. 24). In The Color Purple Walker illustrates the life of a woman in an ordinary Black family in the rural South; in his article “Matriarchal Themes in Black Family Literature”, Rubin critiques that Walker emphasizes not only that the Black female is oppressed within society, but also that external oppression causes her to internalize her inferiority. Every theme in Walker’s writings is given through the eyes of a Black woman; by using her personal experiences to develop her short stories and novels, Walker gives the Black woman a voice in literature. Walker demonstrates through her writings that the oppression of Black women is both internal and external.
"Self, Society, and Myth in Toni Morrison's Fiction." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Draper, James P., ed. Michigan: Gale Research Inc., 1994. 215-273.
The Novels of the Harlem Renaissance. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Press, 1976. Tate, Claudia. "Nella Larsen's Passing: A Problem of Interpretation." Black American Literature Forum 14 (1980): 142-46.
The Georgia Review 49.1 (Spring 1995). Print. Mazurek, Marta. "African American Women and Feminism: Alice Walker’s Womanism as a Proposition of a Dialogic Encounter." Przekładaniec 24 (January 10, 2012): 247-62.
In this novel, two young black girls named Pecola and Claudia grow up in the racist times of the 1940s. The two of them, one more than the other, gets it embedded into their heads that the African American race is inferior to the white race. These characters exhibit internalized racism throughout the book with their struggle with society, their self-esteem, and their own identity as African Americans dealing with racism. This self-hatred is due to internalized racism. In Toni Morrison’s, The Bluest Eye, she explains how internalized racism can damage a not only a whole community, but the entire youth of young African American girls.
Deborah Grey White’s book Ar’n’t I a Woman? Intensely examines slavery from a black women’s perspective. Her argument was based on three limitations black women dealt with which included racism, sexism and slavery. The idea for Ar’n’t I a Woman? sparked from Sojurner Truths’ speech at the Women’s rights convention in which she touched on the topics of sexism and racism, but mainly toward black women.