Shahrazad Ali

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Shahrazad Ali (born April 27, 1954, in Atlanta, Georgia, US), raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, is an author of several books, including a paperback called The Blackman's Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman.[1][2][3] The book was controversial[4][5] bringing "forth community forums, pickets and heated arguments among blacks in many parts" of the US[1] when it was published in 1989.

Book reviews[edit]

Stories about the book appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, and Newsweek. Ali appeared on Tony Brown's Journal, the Sally Jessy Raphaël Show, The Phil Donahue Show, and Geraldo TV programs—and was ridiculed on In Living Color.[6] The book reportedly brought black bookstores new business,[4] while other black bookstores banned it.[1] It also provoked a book of essays (called Confusion by Any Other Name) that explored the negative impact of The Blackman's Guide.[6]

Some passages of her book describing African American women—referred to as the Blackwoman, as is the parlance of the Nation of Islam—quoted in the media include the following:

Although not lazy by nature, she has become loose and careless about herself and about her man and family. Her brain is smaller than the Blackman's, so while she is acclaimed for her high scholastic achievement, her thought processes do not compare to the conscious Blackman's.

Her unbridled tongue is the main reason she cannot get along with the Blackman...if she ignores the authority and superiority of the Blackman, there is a penalty. When she crosses this line and becomes viciously insulting it is time for the Blackman to soundly slap her in the mouth.[1][6]

Ali stated, "I wrote the book because black women in America have been protected and insulated against certain kinds of criticism and examination."[5] Critics complained that book offered no factual data to substantiate her views or information about how she came to her conclusions and was essentially as a vanity-press product that would have been ignored by black people and others had it not been for the media attention its novelty and outrageousness created.[1][6]

Guest commentator[edit]

In August 2013, Ali re-emerged in the media as a guest commentator on the HLN program Dr. Drew on Call.[4] She was also interviewed on The Trisha Goddard Show along with white supremacist Craig Cobb, agreeing with Cobb that the black and white races should be separated.


Ali is the mother of 12 children, nine of them adopted.[5]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • How Not to Eat Pork (Or Life without the Pig), 1985 (ISBN 0933405006)
  • The Blackman's Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman, 1989 (ISBN 0933405014)
  • The Blackwoman's Guide to Understanding the Blackman, 1992 (ISBN 0933405030)
  • Are You Still a Slave? 1994 (ISBN 0933405049)
  • Day by Day, 1996 (ISBN 0933405057)
  • How to Tell If Your Man Is Gay or Bisexual, 2003, (ISBN 978-0933405103)

In addition she has written some books no longer in print.

  • Urban Survival for the Year 2000
  • How to Prepare for the Y2K Computer Problem in the 'Hood


  1. ^ a b c d e Williams, Lena (October 2, 1990). "Black Woman's Book Starts a Predictable Storm". New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  2. ^ Millner, Denene (July 16, 1996). "Waiting to Experience Marriage Books Challenge Black Women to Stop Tarrying & Start Marrying". New York Daily News.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Smith, Elmer (October 28, 1991). "Marriage of Civil Rights, Women's movement is sore point". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Simmons, Sheila. "The Return of Shahrazad Ali". 1 September 2013. Liberty City Press. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Fitten, Ronald K. (December 3, 1990). "Shahrazad Ali Points Finger at Black Women—Controversial Author to Speak at Paramount Theater Tonight". Seattle Times. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Page, Clarence (November 2, 1990). "Black writer's trashy book is target of black humor". Toledo Blade. Retrieved March 17, 2010.