CONVERSATIONS by Johnnetta B. Cole

CONVERSATIONS

Straight Talk with America's Sister President
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Old-fashioned uplift with contemporary focus on race, gender, and class from the first female president of Spelman, the prestigious, historically black college for women. After an account of her family and educational and professional background, Cole addresses her exhortation to young African-American women--her ``sisters''--while hoping that ``eavesdroppers'' will learn something too. ``For too many African- Americans,'' she says, ``things are not right....we are being destroyed...we are destroying ourselves.'' Cole urges awareness and involvement on both local and global levels (``This is our country as much as anyone else's and we have the right and responsibility to mind its business''), meanwhile inveighing against provincialism: failure to pursue interests that don't seem ``black''; intolerance of black diversity of taste and opinion; indifference instead of an ``adventuresome posture to the world.'' Cole, whose background includes work in Women's Studies, discusses the stereotyping and oppression sisters face as black women and urges sisters to reconsider their suspicious distance from the feminist movement. Advocating volunteerism, she criticizes materialism and class attitudes that keep middle-class blacks from a compassionate response to the needy (``...we must learn to give before we go shopping''). She brings anthropological perspective and common sense to contemporary issues in education, urging a world-centric view and lifelong, participatory learning. Dry and overly general, but Cole picks up steam and passion as she goes along, and ends effectively with questions and suggestions aimed at encouraging the sister-reader to use her own mind to address issues raised and to explore her consciousness and her life.

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-42130-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1992