It is well known from historical accounts, novels, poems, movies, and other sources that blacks have been abused, neglected, and mistreated in American society. In addition, a great deal has been written about the lives, hardships, and obstacles of black men.
Black women, however, have long been relegated to subordinate societal roles in relation to white men and women and black men. Black women have been viewed as monsters and suffered distortions of their image. Toni Cade Bambara, in her writings, has helped to change the image of black women. Bambara presents a very descriptive picture of what life was like for blacks, particularly women, in the North and in the South. The world, in Bambara’s stories, is seen through the eyes of the black woman. Bambara presents the black woman’s struggle to overcome stereotyping, oppression, and obstacles.
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).
Abbey Lincoln--black singer, lecturer, and actress--declared that black men think black women are the "downfall" of the black race (82). Lincoln stated that black men view the black female race as "‘evil,’ ‘hard to get along with,’ ‘domineer...
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... to Black History. Online. Internet. Accessed 25 March 1997. Available World Wide Web: http://www.blackhistory.eb.com/cgi-bin/switcher.
Bambara, Toni Cade. Gorilla, My Love. New York: Random House, 1972.
Lincoln, Abbey. Who Will Revere the Black Woman? 1966. The Black Woman. An Anthology. Ed. Toni Cade. New York: The New American Library, Inc. 1970. 80-84.
Myers, Lena Wright. Black Women. Do They Cope Better? Edgewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1980.
Olsen, Tillie. Foreword. Black Women Writers at Work. Ed. Claudia Tate. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1983. ix-xi.
Sanders, Fran. "Dear Black Man." The Black Woman. An Anthology. Ed. Toni Cade. New York: The New American Library, Inc. 1970. 73-79.
Tate, Claudia. Introduction. Black Women Writers at Work. Ed. Claudia Tate. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1983. xv-xxvi.
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