Black Women Shifting

Shifting is a winner of the 2004 American Book Awards
Shifting The Double Lives of Black Women in America
Shifting has been seen and read on a major media outlets

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America has been read and reviewed by Today, The Washington Post and seen on CSPAN

SHIFTING: The Double Lives of Black Women in America

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden and Cover Photographs by Joy Gregory.
1st Editon (2003) New York: HarperCollins Publishers

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America is based on the African American Women's Voices Project, Shifting reveals that a large number of African American women feel pressure to compromise their true selves as they navigate America's racial and gender bigotry.



Co-author of Shifting:The Double Lives of Black Women in America,
Kumea Shorter-Gooden and Kim Singleton, author of Broken Silence: Opening Your Heart and Mind to Therapy--A Black Woman’s Recovery Guide, talk about their books and answer questions from the CSPAN audience.

Black Women in America

Psychologists talked about their books on the lives of black women, the role of women in the black community, racism, and gender equality. Kumea Shorter-Gooden was the co-author of [Shifting: The...


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African American women "shift" by altering the expectations they have for themselves of their outer appearances.

“Searing...as I read Shifting... I wanted to rip out chapters and send them to nearly everyone I know.” - Gwen Ifill

... this book only served as a reminder and an emphatic confirmation of what African American women have to endure while navigating life in these here United States. - Desiree


Jacqueline Jones reviews Shitfing and considers the chapter, "Seeking a Voice: The Language and Messages of Black Women" to be especially good as it explains the concept of "code switching / shifting".

Heavy Duty

SHIFTING: The Double Lives of Black Women in America By Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden. HarperCollins. 340 pp. $25.95 We frequently hear that black women shoulder a "double burden" of discrimination -- that they suffer from prejudice based on both their gender and their race.


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African American women modify their speech. They shift "White" as they head to work in the morning and "Black" as they come back home each night. They shift inward, internalizing the searing pain of the negative stereotypes that they encounter daily. And sometimes they shift by fighting back.

“Always moving, at times haunting, and often inspirational, Shifting provides a richly textured look at the lives of Black women.” -
Bebe Moore Campbell

This is not a light hearted look into what it means to be African American and female in this modern world. This is a hard, educated look into the modern African American educated culture, the plight of the educated Black Woman, our relationships with the men in our racial group and how we relate to the "outside" world. - Kimberly


Tami Winfrey Harris examines that a black accent is judged as less desirable thereby changing to a "white" voice can be beneficial and desirable in society.

What's So Wrong With "Sounding Black?"

Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a call for translators fluent in Ebonics. Cue the hair pulling and rending of garments. Some folks worried that such a move by a government agency would encourage "hip hop" speak. Others confused Ebonics with "jive." Still, others fretted about coddling ignorance.


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With deeply moving interviews, poignantly revealed on each page, Shifting is a much-needed, clear, and comprehensive portrait of the reality of African American women's lives today

“Poignant…based on research garnered from the African American Women’s Voices Project, the largest study to date of black women.” - BooklistOnline.com

Deals with the duality of being black and female, encountering problems that neither black men nor white women face or coud emphatize with. - CKE387


Imani Gandy discusses Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden concept of "shifting" in the workplace and how black women dont necessary know that they shift, definently excellent commenatry from by Gandy about black women shifting int he workplace.

Black Women Are Already Leaning In - Rewire.News

To be a Black professional woman in a white-centric corporate space is to be constantly aware of how you fit in-or don't-and to be constantly battling the preconceptions that your white colleagues have about your character and capabilities due to the pervasive negative stereotypes about Black women.


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Shifting reveals that a large number of Black women feel pressure to compromise their true selves in order to fit in to American society.

"A deeply moving, intimate and important book about the emotional costs for Black women in white America." - Harriet Lerner

... an eye-opening nonfiction book supported by countless interviews and a major study along with references to other studies that shows how black women "shift" — change themselves in one or several ways to appease white America and return to their true selves in black America — and the dangerous effects of those actions. - Kibkabe


Hannah Eko writes an eye opening article about what it is to literally be a black women in todays society. Eko highlights masculine language used to describe black women such as "strong"., "invulvernurble to pain" to "indestructible" and shares her own personal experience of being misgendered.

As A Black Woman, I'm Tired Of Having To Prove My Womanhood

"Male or female?" the stranger asked me. I was 21, standing in a brightly lit 7-11. All I wanted to do was buy my siblings Slurpees. I was so surprised by the casual way this person had decided to interrogate my gender that I accidentally blurted out, "Male!"


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Deals with the duality of being black and female, encountering problems that neither black men nor white women face or could empathize with.

“Urgent...compelling and educational…a real contribution.” -
Publishers Weekly

The life and times of black women in America having to endure dual "isms" against women and African Americans. - Kelli


A new UC Berkeley study explores how being a “strong black woman” affects the health of African American women coping with racial discrimination

Does being a 'superwoman' protect African American women's health?

The stereotype of the "strong black woman" is more than just a cultural trope: Many black women in America report feeling pressured to act like superwomen, projecting themselves as strong, self-sacrificing, and free of emotion to cope with the stress of race- and gender-based discrimination in their daily lives.


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ShiftingBlackWomen.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com meaning I get a commsion if you decide to make a purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.


The concept of shifting can have a devastating effect on a woman's body and soul.

“Meaningful and poignant...this well researched and beautifully written book is a must read.”- William Pollack

The breadth of this book along with the research that forms the foundation, make this a great book for exploring the challenges of being a black woman today.- Gail


Black women work in a variety of jobs and industries at all different levels. Yet, many black women still confront the same misperceptions about their work that have formed at the intersection of racial and gender biases for decades. As a result, Black women face unfair expectations, unique challenges writes Jocelyn Frye

Racism and Sexism Combine to Shortchange Working Black Women - Center for American Progress

Author's note: CAP uses "Black" and "African American" interchangeably throughout many of our products. We chose to capitalize "Black" in order to reflect that we are discussing a group of people and to be consistent with the capitalization of "African American."


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ShiftingBlackWomen.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com meaning I get a commsion if you decide to make a purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.


Authors Jones and Shorter-Gooden initiated the African American Women's Voices Project and recorded the experiences of 333 survey respondents and 71 interviewees.
The results are here compiled to form an urgent narrative, doggedly chasing the hypothesis of the book's title:that the twin bigotries of race and gender force black women to constantly "shift" between identities in order to accommodate the expectations thrust upon them by black men and white America.

“Stress is a common theme...the authors found good news...’We’re learning that we don’t have to lose ourselves.’”- Essence

A lot of this book hit close to home for me, and maybe that is a good thing. It explains a lot of what I have gone/continue to go through as a Black woman in modern society. - Christie


10 incredible black women you should know about.

Black History Month: 10 black women you should know about

These trailblazers excelled in fields that, until they made their mark, had been off-limits to black women.


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ShiftingBlackWomen.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com meaning I get a commsion if you decide to make a purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.


From one moment to the next, African American women change their outward behavior, attitude, or tone, shifting 'white', then shifting 'Black' again, shifting 'corporate', shifting 'cool'.

“Jones and Shorter-Gooden are wise, warm and candid, breaking new ground.... An important and powerful book for us all." - Mary Pipher

This is a MUST read for every Black African woman as well as the individuals that love them. This book helped me understand my place & spaces as a Black African woman in America. - Shay


About me

Hi my name is Jasmine and thanks so much for stopping by.

I created this site because the book Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America really resonated with me.

With me being part African American on my father's side and part Indian on my mother's, I felt that I've 'shifted' a lot in my young adult life and have continued to do so without really delving into it.

This book has really made me understand and realize that its very common among black women to do this.

Hopefully my site does justice to the concept of 'shifting' as I continue to find more relevant information to add to this site, similar to the high standard work that was painstakingly carried out to create the book by both authors, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me back directly below


contact me


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Black Women Shifting

About the Authors

Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden

Charisse Jones is a national correspondent for USA Today. A former staff writer for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, she has been a commentator for National Public Radio and has been a contributing writer for Essence magazine.

Kumea Shorter-Gooden, Ph.D, is a licensed psychologist, former Chief Diversity Officer & Associate Vice President of University of Maryland College Park.
Kumea is now Owner/Principal of Shorter-Gooden Consulting. www.Shorter-GoodenConsulting.com

www.BlackWomenShifting.com
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Black Women Shifting

ShiftingBlackWomen.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com meaning I get a commsion if you decide to make a purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.

about the book

Shifting is a winner of the 2004 American Book Awards
Shifting The Double Lives of Black Women in America Back Cover
Shifting has been seen and read on a major media outlets

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden and Cover Photographs by Joy Gregory.
1st Editon (2003) New York: HarperCollins Publishers

The term 'Shifting' is defined when Black women present themselves differently depending on what group or environment they're in at a given time. A good example of this would be seen in a professional setting compared to a more personal environment. According to authors Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden, Black women “shift in one direction at work, then in another at home”.

One major aspect that Shifting revealed, was that a large number of Black women feel pressure to compromise their true selves in order to fit into American society.

Shifting is based on data collected via the African American Women's Voices Project from interviews and questionnaires from over 400 women across the United States and from many walks of life.

Jones and and Kumea Shorter-Gooden also set out to shed light on the everyday occurrences of, "the rude sales clerk, or a cab driver who refuses to pick you up, or the constant messages from the broader society that said you were less attractive, less capable, less valuable simply because you were black and female" and how black women deal with it and how it also takes it toll.

The roots of shifting -- The pain of gender silence : "I am Black but ain't I a woman?" -- The many shifts of Black women -- Seeking a voice : the language and message of Black women -- The Sisterella complex : Black women and depression -- Doing double duty : Black women in the world of work -- "Mirror, mirror on the wall" : Black women and beauty -- Forging a delicate balance : romance and relationships between Black women and men -- The ABCs of shifting : mothering Black children -- "Can I get a witness?" : Black women and the church -- Afterword -- Appendix: The African American Women's Voices Project.

Publisher: New York Harper Collins Publication Year:2003
Subject: African American Women -- Psychology Adjustment (Psychology) -- United States Racism -- United States -- Psychological aspect.

Sources: HarpersCollins Publishers and The Smithsonian Libraries

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Black Women Shifting

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If you have questions about my privacy polices, terms of use, ftc compliance and affiliate disclosure you can contact me here

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