DIVIDED SISTERS: Bridging the Gap Between Black Women and White Women by Midge & Kathy Russell Wilson

DIVIDED SISTERS: Bridging the Gap Between Black Women and White Women

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An informative but dully written book on one of the thorns in female society's side: divisiveness on the basis of race between women who otherwise would gain tremendously from an alliance. Poet/scriptwriter Russell and psychologist Wilson (coauthors of The Color Complex, 1992, with Ronald Hall) take on a huge subject and break it down into equally huge categories--""Childhood,"" ""Issues of Beauty and Style,"" ""Sexual Tensions,"" ""Social Activism,"" and so forth--in an attempt to give historical and cultural context to the conundrum of even the most sympathetic woman's inability to comprehend her counterparts of another race. The book is an excellent illustration of the feminist credo that the personal is political, as it is the most personal information--the time and money black women traditionally spend on hair care, for example--that illuminates most clearly the social situation of difference. (""Many White women may have 'bad hair' days, but they do not have 'bad hair' lives"" is one of the book's few lighthearted sentences.) Unfortunately, Divided Sisters is simplistic in syntax and older-sisterly in the bland and superior way that inevitably annoys younger sisters, no matter how ""helpful"" one's advice. Best is the quoted material--both from literature (strands of prose and poetry by Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Sojourner Truth, et al.) and from personal interviews conducted by the authors. And readers will probably find the answers to questions they didn't even know they had, answers presented in such a way as to truly start ""bridging the gap""--first in imagination, then in real social relations. Like a large gray overcoat--necessary, useful, and uninspiring.

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1996
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday