Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

The Quotable Black Scholar: Melissa Harris-Perry on Airing Dirty Laundry

February 27th, 2012 by Ajuan Mance

Melissa Harris-Perry (b. 1973)



I vigorously object to the oft-repeated sentiment that African-Americans should avoid public disagreements and settle matters internally to present a united front. It’s clear from the history of black organizing that this strategy is particularly disempowering for black women, black youth, black gay men and lesbians, and others who have fewer internal community resources to ensure that their concerns are represented in a broader racial agenda. Failing to air the dirty laundry has historically meant that these groups are left washing it with their own hands.

–Melissa Harris-Perry, in the essay “Breaking News: Not All Black Intellectuals Think Alike,” published in The Nation


Biographical Notes: Melissa Harris-Perry is a professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. Professor Harris-Perry earned her B.A. at Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. in political science at Duke University. A political commentator, she appears regularly on MSNBC and she has a regular opinion column that appears in The Nation.

Posted by Ajuan Mance


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