Precious, my Precious: Black Female Citizenship, Complexity, and the Politics of Unrelenting Survival

An article by Malkia Cyril from the Center for Media Justice , posted by Samhita, at feministing.com

Nov, 20th, 2009

As I sit against the florescence of the television screen, watching the conservative Fox News pundit Glenn Beck drive political nails into progressive leaders using the fear of U.S. blacks and immigrants of color as his hammer, my memory harkens back to the year in which the book Push was set, 1987. During that time, eugenics theories about the inherent laziness and criminality of black teenagers was rampantly resurgent in the news. Conservative research was cementing stereotypes of the black welfare queen, the crack baby, the HIV infected black woman as the truth that justified the destruction of the safety net as we knew it. Since then, health care has become increasingly privatized. Welfare has turned horrifically to an indentured servitude of workfare. The numbers of black women with HIV have skyrocketed. And the movie Precious, based on the book Push by Sapphire, was released.

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