Friday, August 21, 2020

Angela Davis, Gerda Lerner, Toni Morrison, and the myths of the Black rapist and the bad Black woman

In her 1981 book Women, Race & Class, Angela Davis quotes Gerda Lerner's Black Women in White America: "The myth of the black rapist of white women is the twin of the myth of the bad black woman." Toni Morrison edited Davis's 1974 autobiography, and the title character of Morrison's 1973 novel Sula – whose promiscuity leads her to be seen as a "bad woman" – confronts her friend Nel's husband Jude with her own ferocious spin on those myths: "They [white women] think rape soon’s they see you [Black men], and if they don’t get the rape they looking for, they scream it anyway just so the search won’t be in vain."  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 21 August)

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