Impressions of Katrina Bell McDonald Embracing Sisterhood: Class, Identity, and Contemporary Black Women

This critique of Embracing Sisterhood is written from a male perspective

“…today’s African American women feel strongly that despite improved visibility in certain professions, the public generally views them as problematic. They understand that the public’s views continue to be highly influenced by popular images that distort black women’s sexuality; demonize their maternal character; and devalue their physical, intellectual, and spiritual attributes.”

In her debut book, Johns Hopkins University associate professor, Katrina Bell McDonald, shares and examines the stories of nearly 100 black women.

McDonald writes with deep empathy and respect for individual experiences.

Katrina Bell McDonald Embracing Sisterhood expertly unravels interconnected stories to create a tapestry depicting an image of what black sisterhood is.

“We were also, at the time I began this, entering the 21st century, and so much of what I knew was historical, from slavery forward. I wondered, is there any currency to the idea of black sisterhood as we enter the 21st century?” – Katrina Bell McDonald

This book challenges the perceived differences between black women of different classes in the 21st century. McDonald asserts there are more threads binding black women together, regardless of class, than stereotypes suggest.

Regardless of social status, class( “afristocracy” or “ghettocracy“), or whether a criminal or model citizen, similarities not only can be found, but are abundant, despite the typical dividing lines.

This thesis rings in stark contrast with imaging portrayed in film and media.

Celebrating Powerful Women of African Descent

As a history enthusiast, I was pleased Embracing Sisterhood was not completely devoid of pre-colonial African history. Without historical context, it would be difficult to draw accurate modern day congruencies in regards to any specific group.

Katrina Bell McDonald saw the importance of this and noted a few key historical arguments of importance. One such argument being whether colonization was responsible for class consciousness in the African.

McDonald does an excellent job of starting a conversation regarding the state of the relationship between contemporary black women.

Embracing Sisterhood is a unique find with a theme that aims to dissolve stereotypes by highlighting similarities.

Katrina Bell McDonald Embracing Sisterhood is available here for purchase on Amazon.