Battle Cries: Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse

Battle Cries: Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse

Battle Cries: Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse

Battle Cries: Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse


Winner of the 2009 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies

Recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Humanities-Intellectual & Cultural History

It has become an accepted truth: after World War II, American Jews chose to be silent about the mass murder of millions of their European brothers and sisters at the hands of the Nazis.

In this compelling work, Hasia R. Diner shows the assumption of silence to be categorically false. Uncovering a rich and incredibly varied trove of remembrances- in song, literature, liturgy, public display, political activism, and hundreds of other forms- We Remember with Reverence and Love shows that publicly memorializing those who died in the Holocaust arose from a deep and powerful element of Jewish life in postwar America. Not only does she marshal enough evidence to dismantle the idea of American Jewish "forgetfulness," she brings to life the moving and manifold ways that this widely diverse group paid tribute to the tragedy.

Diner also offers a compelling new perspective on the 1960s and its potent legacy, by revealing how our typical understanding of the postwar years emerged from the cauldron of cultural divisions and campus battles a generation later. The student activists and "new Jews" of the 1960s who, in rebelling against the American Jewish world they had grown up in "a world of remarkable affluence and broadening cultural possibilities" created a flawed portrait of what their parents had, or rather, had not, done in the postwar years. This distorted legacy has been transformed by two generations of scholars, writers, rabbis, and Jewish community leaders into a taken-for-granted truth.


I use myself as an example. I was dealing with the issues of being
Black, a descendant of Black people that have been enslaved, be
ing a person displaced from their country, dealing with incest of
my dad, dealing with rape, with depression and suicide. How the
hell are you supposed to get out from under? And you're Black,
too? And I think I had more variables than some Black women.
For some people it's easy to say maybe I deserved it, maybe I did
wrong by fighting back, maybe I was too strong…. Or if you're
dealing with the issues, you're also trying to raise kids, and the
kids become the priority instead of you. You don't even take a
chance to heal because you're too busy taking care of everybody
else. And that's what you're supposed to do, somebody says. I
think for Black women it's harder. They deal with imaginary ex
pectations as well as real expectations.

—Lola, age 42

Popular rhetoric often portrays Black women as being strong, independent, and resilient. Although these are seemingly positive qualities to possess, they also have the potential to stereotype Black women in ways that can restrict their seeking help or needed support. The motivational speaker Debrena Jackson Gandy describes this as the Strong Black Woman Syndrome. The syndrome is steeped in the historically powerful images of the Mammy or the Matriarch who “was the nurturer, 'the omnipotent caregiver,' the always-listening ear, the 'everlasting arm.'… She was the Rock of Gibraltar, the Strong Black Woman who constantly gave out love, attention, and affection but who didn't ask for it, appear to . . .

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