By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said
The way our society talks about black women and marriage–from the daily paper to the pulpit to movies and self-help books–is flawed, sexist and damaging. When black women tell their own stories, a more thoughtful truth emerges.
I am working on a project juxtaposing the authentic experiences of African American women with the tragic common narrative about black women and marriage — a narrative that narrows lives, turns black female successes into failures and unfairly burdens us alone with responsibility for the success of black male/female relationships, black families and the black community. My goal is that my efforts will result in a published book.
I am currently working to identify black women to have frank discussions about how they navigate relationships, sexuality, singleness, marriage and divorce. If you, or someone you know, is willing to be a part of this effort, please contact me at Tamara@BackTalkBook.com.
Some things to know:
I am interested in interviewing black women of all ages, backgrounds, geographic locations and experiences. One goal of my effort is to illuminate the lives of women often erased in discussions of the black marriage rate, including married women, divorced women, women who don’t wish to marry, lesbian women, women in interracial relationships and others.
Subjects should be willing to participate in multiple one-on-one interviews both in person and through technology. Initial interviews will be conducted by phone in November. While I will not require an inordinate amount of time from interviewees, I will need to interact with them enough to understand their stories, experiences and perspectives.
Elements of participants’ stories, including quotes, will be included in a published work, written by me. Women have the option of being referred to by their full, real names; first names only or a pseudonym.
Beyond the ABC specials, “think like a man” romantic advice tomes and panic-inducing women’s magazine articles, exist the real stories of black women—too often told from another perspective and voice. Everyone is talking about black women and marriage. I want to talk back.
Please help by responding to and sharing this call for participants through your networks. Please direct questions about this project to Tamara@BackTalkBook.com.