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Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength Paperback – June 19, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''Too Heavy a Yoke is a much-needed, thoughtful, and nuanced examination of the 'Strong Black Woman' stereotype--a significant new contribution to multiple disciplines of pastoral care and counseling, psychology, sociology, African American and womanist-feminist studies, and constructive theology. Walker Barnes draws on both womanist and Trinitarian theologies to examine how the church can play a part in healing and liberating black women from 'the burden of strength.' Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this book belongs on the shelf of every minister and pastoral counselor, and indeed every woman who knows in her soul the burdens of being a 'StrongBlackWoman.'''
--Pamela Cooper-White, Ben G. and Nancye Clapp Gautier Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care, and Counseling, Columbia Theological Seminary

''Well done! This book is a much-needed gift to the field of pastoral theology. It is a well nuanced and explicated research volume and a practical guide for caregivers, pastors, those who love women struggling with the ideology of the 'StrongBlackWoman,' as well as those in recovery.''
--Marsha Foster Boyd, President Emerita, Ecumenical Theological Seminary

''A prayerful, prophetic, poetic, pastoral, powerful womanist analysis of the StrongBlackWoman, from an interdisciplinary, experiential perspective names the context, content, complexities, and pathology of many Black women's embodied archetypal, systemic oppression and posits hopeful options for a paradigmatic shift of recovery. Woven with artistry and passion, Too Heavy a Yoke is a must-read for clergy, therapists, caregivers, and any persons or groups committed to the liberation of black women, ultimately the liberation of all society.''
--Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, Professor of Religion, Shaw University Divinity School --Wipf and Stock Publishers

About the Author

Chanequa Walker-Barnes is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, Georgia. She is a licensed psychologist and a candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church. Her articles have been published in a wide range of scholarly journals, including Journal of Pastoral Theology, Child Development, and American Journal of Community Psychology.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Cascade Books (June 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620320665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620320662
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book I've read on black female identity and spirituality. I've read many books on "strong women" but none of them have understood or described the black female psyche as well as Walker-Barnes does.

The author deftly integrates history, theology, psychology and health sciences to help black women (and the people who care about them) understand why so many black women cling to the unhealthy and oppressive identity of the "StrongBlackWoman" -- an identity that is excessively independent, caregiving and emotionally strong. At first glance, this identity might seem liberating and empowering, but Walker-Barnes expertly dismantles that notion and shows that true freedom lies in interdependence and emotional authenticity.

As a recovering StrongBlackWoman, this book has helped me see how my black feminine identity has been greatly impacted by hegemonic societal forces, and has helped me take off the StrongBlackWoman mask and live free.

I'll be giving this book to all of my black female friends, but they're not the only ones who should read it. Pastors, friends, and relatives of black women should read this book too!
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Format: Paperback
Chanequa Walker Barnes writes an excellent book for a broad audience, yet most will initially consider it a niche book for Black Women. It is a book to read regardless of gender or race. Walker-Barnes’ work is theological, sociological, and practical, which as her book will show are three things never meant to be separated. She provides a 12-step roadmap for StrongBlackWomen to walk toward lifelong healing; each chapter provides pastoral care givers a set of reflective questions to discover how they engage the SBW stereotype consciously and unconsciously. Too Heavy a Yoke will help readers discover God’s liberating power for StrongBlackWomen and God’s liberating power that comes as we undo stereotypes.

Walker-Barnes’ work is important for church leaders in this day. She highlights at the macro level the power that stereotypes hold, and how stereotypes affect both those who propagate them (dominant culture people) and those who live within them. She highlights specifically how the StrongBlackWoman (SBW) stereotype creates a false sense of power and control for Black women and how it reduces our collective ability to be authentic and vulnerable with one another.

Walker-Barnes also narrates how external forces, especially those in the church, discourage full humanity for SBW and hence for others. She does excellent research amplifying the health concerns that face StrongBlackWomen in the face of these pressures. Her theological and sociological exploration is poetic and prophetic. I became aware of how I have adopted and propagated the SBW stereotype to the detriment of black women, myself, and others.

Walker-Barnes offers a book for pastors, church leaders, Christian mental health professionals, seminary professors, and students.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Walker-Barnes uses theology, history and personal stories to create a mirror to the soul of Black women who struggle with tendencies of over-responsibility, care-taking, and over extending oneself. The 12 step approach provides suggestions to the path to freedom. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book made me more aware of the pressures society places on Black women and their origins - and why it's dangerous and unhealthy to reinforce these lenses.
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Very insightful. Gives a perspective on a condition that I as a man have never considered. I dare say that very few women have either. I hope wife reads it.
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