“If corporate media and pop culture are active volcanoes,
Tamara Winfrey Harris is a clear-eyed excavator
who can help us make sense of their constant, painful eruptions.”

– Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director at Women in Media & News

There were no children among the enslaved in antebellum America, just property that had not yet come into its full usefulness. What people who believe that slavery ended in 1865 do not understand is that the mind-set created by that atrocity lives now.

“The racism that was an integral feature of American slavery robbed black girls and boys of their childhoods. And as I weigh the experiences of modern black girls in the United States, I am forced to ask: what has changed? They are rarely presumed innocent, treated gingerly, or given the benefit of the doubt outside black homes and communities (and sometimes not even there). In 2017, black girls still cannot be children.

“If America Had Believed Black Girls Were Girls”

from The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery, Feb 2018

Tamara’s latest in The LA Times:

Today, Black communities around the country are celebrating Juneteenth, a holiday marking June 19, 1865, the day Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation that had abolished slavery more than two years before. The holiday is ingrained in Texas and Southern culture and is recognized in 47 of the 50 United States.

But this year’s celebration is different: It comes as America wakes up to the fact that the liberation of Black people is incomplete.

“As midterm elections and their accompanying political commentary approach, understanding America and its challenges requires seeing both the working class and black America in their fullness and recognizing where they intersect. It requires acknowledging the experiences of black Midwesterners, even when this means adding unflattering nuance to the stories we’ve long been told about their white neighbors.”

Stop Pretending Black Midwesterners Don’t Exist
The New York Times, June 2018

For struggling students, a new charter school sees identity as the solution
Columns | The University of Washington
Mar 2019

“According to Opportunity Atlas, a tool that estimates social mobility by census tract, the average future income of a child growing up in the neighborhood around pilotED is $21,000 a year. Ten percent of children from the neighborhood might expect to be incarcerated; that percentage jumps to 14 for black children. This is a struggling neighborhood in a city where the gulf between have and have-not is gaping and climbing out of poverty is particularly tough. Indianapolis ranks 46th among the nation’s top 50 metro areas in terms of upward mobility. If you are born poor here, you are very likely to remain that way.

“But pilotED and the people who work there belie those dire predictions. The school is an oasis—a warm and welcoming space with a young, energetic staff, brightly painted walls, an urban farm and a lovable miniature pinscher named Winston. Children are greeted in the morning with positive affirmations, and classroom conversations are dedicated to students and their experiences—new baby sisters or final immigration papers. “

“[I]t is easier to rail against “hoes” and “THOTS” than to change ideas about male and female sexuality that actually put women at risk. […H]ow dare anyone get het up about adult women demonstrating sexual agency. We are allowed so little of it.”

“For The Dick” is a Challenge to Stop Policing Black Sexuality
Bitch Magazine, October 2017

“Black women’s uncomplaining fealty is so taken for granted that Black women are expected to operate outside the basic tenets of America’s one true religion—capitalism. We alone are supposed to reward brands with our dollars whether or not they target or value us as consumers.”

Killing the Mammy Myth: Shea Moisture Needs a Reminder that Black Women Built its Success
Bitch Magazine, May 2017

“To understand the pressure for physical perfection is to empathize with our sisters. It is tempting to scoff at women who chase prettiness, or call them vain and self-loathing for tweaking, plumping, or nipping. But not being beautiful is a punishable offense, no matter your talents or achievements.”

Get Beautiful in Two Not-So-Easy Steps
Shondaland, September 2017

The Ugliness of This Campaign Won’t Go Away, No Matter What Happens On Election Day

NY Magazine, Nov 2016

Some of Us Are Brave

Bitch Magazine, Apr 2017

The Real Work of Being an Ally

NY Magazine, Jan 2017

“Centuries later, black female sexuality is still a source of moral panic because change takes ages, and stereotypes — especially entrenched ones — are hard AF to undo.”

What We Get Wrong About Black Women’s Sexuality

Cosmopolitan, Feb 2016

A Black Mom-in-Chief is Revolutionary

Clutch Magazine, Sept 2009

Making Peace with Tyler Perry

Clutch Magazine, Sept 2009