Melissa Harris-Perry helping others see the beauty of difference

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Multitasking is something that we all find ourselves doing from time to time. Melissa Harris-Perry has made a lifestyle of it. She is an author, a political science professor at Tulane University, and the host of a television program on MSNBC.

Perry’s new book, “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America,” looks at four main stereotypes of black women in culture: The Jezebel, The Mammy, The Sapphire and The Strong Black Woman.

During a guest appearance on the Colbert Report, Perry stated that one of the best ways to combat racism is to be up front and conversational about it. “The talking is always better than the ignoring,” she said.While Perry believes that there are steps being taken toward a society with less racism, she also fears that productions like “The Help” may perpetuate the idea that black people are inherently lower-class. Still, she realizes that a large part of change must start within individuals.

“The real point of the book is that it matters how we feel about ourselves, ” Perry said.

If black women can change their ways of thinking about themselves and their place in the world, Perry believes that they will be better able to assert themselves into the “American story.” This will enable them to take an active role in the many decisions that affect their lives.

Throughout all of her work, Perry seeks to spark a conversation that may one day shed light on the real existence of not only black women, but people of all different races.

Without asserting that any one group is the underdog in the land of stereotypes, Perry wants to share her specialized knowledge of the existence of black women, trying to work toward a solution for what she sees as a looming problem.

With her work in the classroom, as an author and on her new television program, Perry’s main goal is to reach all kinds of people to let them see the beauty of differences and to encourage them to let those differences thrive.

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