THE HABIT OF SURVIVING by Kesho Yvonne Scott

THE HABIT OF SURVIVING

Black Women's Strategies For Life

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An oddly compelling patchwork of meaty interviews with four successful black women and two young black girlsall of it stitched together with Scott's (American Studies & Sociology/Grinnell) theories on how black women form habits to succeed in the face of ``the double whammy'' of racism and sexism. Scott begins with the habits these women developed to arrive at their current, middle-class status after being raised poor, black, and female in the US during the 1940's. The women talk about how they balanced their duties as working mothers (two as single mothers going to school) and also about their sex lives and their frustrations in their role as ``superwomen.'' Scott's interviews with her own daughters most successfully demonstrate her theory that black women must now learn not only how to survive, but how to enjoy life. Monte, age 9, says she wants to emulate her mother and stepfather's equal marriage: ``You were both poor and got an education and got arrested in college and know how to stand up for your rights.'' Jameka, 11, is more critical: ``I don't believe black women were put on their earth to fight, fight, fight.... Mom, fighting all the time is an addiction. I don't see any way ever to be satisfied with yourself.'' Scott's commentary sometimes simplifies the women's own testimony, but that may be because her interviews so successfully elicit complex and honest responses. These gutsy, inner-directed women stand as inspiring models to anyone.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1991
ISBN: 0-8135-1646-3
Page count: 225pp
Publisher: Rutgers Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1991