Copyright (c) 2000 The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice
The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice
ARTICLE: Cassandra and the "Sistahs": The Peculiar Treatment of African American Women in the Myth of Women as Liars
3 J. Gender Race & Just. 625
Marilyn Yarbrough with Crystal Bennett*
This article is the result of one of those clarifying moments when out of the blue I was reminded that despite ample indicia of achievement in this society, I continue to lack credibility in the eyes of many. 1 As I examined and explored with others the incident that sparked that thought, several explanations emerged, but one of them, that I am an African American woman, lingers. In 1997, I became the defendant in a lawsuit. One of the issues in the suit concerned the value of property that the plaintiff and I jointly owned. Because the suit was filed in a jurisdiction far from my present home, I engaged local counsel to represent me. We communicated through telephone, fax messages and occasionally by mail. I sent documents and correspondence that both supported my claim and identified what I felt were misleading and downright dishonest claims by the plaintiff. In a conversation several months after our association began, my lawyer told me that he had actually visited the property in question and that he was surprised by its good condition and agreed that the plaintiff's appraisal was clearly erroneous. 2 I was stunned. The basis of my resistance to the lawsuit was that the property was indeed in excellent condition and of obvious value. I had assumed that my lawyer, familiar, I thought, with my reputation in the community, believed me. The facts at issue were easily verifiable, yet not only did he not believe me, but ...
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