Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery

Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery

In this 13 chapter self-help book, bell hooks honestly, but gently, confronts the ills which prevent healing in individual lives. Anyone can relate to the many concepts of healing dissected here; however, it’s the special intersection of sexism and racism that is of particular interest to black women. The difference between bell hooks and other self-help books is that she doesn’t only want to see black women doing well, but she wants recovery of self to manifest into a social and political movement. According to her, they are intertwined.

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Though bell hooks published this book in 1994, it is still most applicable today. Some use “radicalized” as a bad word, but in this case, it is apt and quite positive. Hooks has many memorable quips in this book that can revolutionize the way personal healing is viewed and its relation to social and political liberation. She seamlessly ties past slave survival behavior into how today’s generations continue to exhibit the same behavior under different circumstances. The link is revealing – not only to black readers seeking her wisdom for self-healing, but for white readers eager to unpack racism in understanding the psychological effects of white supremacy that continue today. She makes clear the importance of honesty to self and to others. Hooks seeks to empower black women through healing with the ultimate goal of liberation. The book addresses racism, sexism, and class exploitation through the lens of the personal healing journey. Hooks posits personal healing is linked to politics and she makes that connection like no other self-help book does. Everything is political as bell hooks beautifully displays through all 13 chapters. Not only is this book now considered a classic, but it is also a must-read.


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