Sista Talk Too

by Rochelle Brock (Author)
©2019 Textbook XXXVIII, 148 Pages
Series: Counterpoints, Volume 530


In Sista Talk Too, Rochelle Brock brings meaningful new material which evokes and updates her past examination of Black women in today’s culture. The first Sista Talk: The Personal and the Pedagogical is an inquiry into the questions of how Black women define their existence in a society which devalues, dehumanizes, and silences their beliefs. Placing herself inside of the research, Rochelle Brock invited the reader on a journey of self-exploration, as she and seven of her Black female students investigate their collective journey toward self-awareness in the attempt to liberate their minds and souls from ideological domination. Throughout, Sista Talk attempted to understand the ways in which this self-exploration informs her pedagogy. Combining Black feminist and Afrocentric theory with critical pedagogy, Sista Talk Too frames the parameters for an Afrowomanist pedagogy of wholeness for teaching Black students and strength in dealing with an unpredictable and often unstable view of the future. Rochelle Brock brings us something to be remembered by, chapters and writings from students and colleagues to help us survive and thrive in this world…all in the spirit of love, life, and Oshun.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication Page
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • Words Spoken Beforehand
  • A Note from the Editor about Sista Talk Too
  • Foreword: On Passionate Pedagogies
  • Shout Outs—revised
  • Talk Two … Prologue to Prologue
  • Dreaming of Revolution: My Struggle to Understand the Assault on Blackness
  • I Am
  • Prologue: Crossing the Bridge with Lessons I’ve Learned
  • Transition: A War with Words
  • Chapter One Theories of the Other: Resistance and Acceptance
  • Reflection: scrambled eggs over medium
  • Chapter Two A Conversation with My Goddess Oshun: A Theoretical Framework in the Making
  • Transition: My Manifesto of Education
  • Chapter Three We Said It: The Method to Our Madness
  • Reflection: SILENCE
  • Chapter Four Sista to Sista to Sista: A Story in Three Acts
  • Reflection: “I really don’t breathe, that’s part of my problem”
  • Chapter Five A Pedagogy of Wholeness: Part One—The Theory
  • Transition: Michael
  • Chapter Six A Pedagogy of Wholeness: Part Two—The Practice
  • Transition: Reflecting on Self
  • Chapter Seven The End of My Beginning
  • Continuing the Conversation: Sistas Are Still Talkin’
  • Appendix A The Methodology of Sista Dialogue: Safe Spaces for Being Us
  • Appendix B The Boring but Necessary Stuff
  • References
  • Studies in Criticality

Words Spoken Beforehand

Shirley R Steinberg

Over a decade and a half ago, Black feminist theory added another Elder when Rochelle Brock shared Sista Talk with us. Her to-the-gut truths have echoed through our souls, our cities, our schools, and our lives. Rochelle begins this new edition by revisiting Oshun, responding to questions about her personal and pedagogical progress. As she recollects her life movements from graduate student to professoring, and then to administration, we join her in honesty, reflection, and the notion of journey. Sista Talk began by reflecting on graduate school, critical pedagogies, urban education, and joining the academy as a Black female. In this second edition, Professor Brock adds to her story and journey, which becomes a quintessential Every Black Woman’s path in many ways. Centuries ago, forced journeys began, as millions were stolen from West Africa and enslaved … reflection and stories were forbidden, and over half a millennia later, finding voice, safety, and permanency continues to remain impossible for African Americans.

Black female professoring has been the second line to the band of ivory tower American academics since Black females have been allowed to fall into the march. Making up the strength and power of the music, the second line follows behind. Black feminist theorists have spent decades in their journeys to overtake steps to the front and join in the band. Blocked by the metaphorical instruments of Whiteness, privilege, and sexism, moving up to full first line status is a continual struggle. Sanity and self-worth are reinforced by the narratives and the Sista Talk that Black female professors engage with.

←ix | x→

Professor Rochelle Brock has facilitated her theories by introducing and interrogating the talk of sistas. This new edition includes the words of colleagues and students, discussing the impact that the original Sista Talk made in their lives. This expanded edition furthers the conversation, but reminds us during every step of the march that the talk must continue and a healthy understanding of redefining the journey is necessary.

Shirley R Steinberg is Research Professor at the University of Calgary.

A Note from the Editor about Sista Talk Too

I currently exist in a space of where I need to get my words on paper, something to be remembered by, something that hopefully will help a stranger or a friend traverse and survive (thrive) in this world. I hope the second edition of Sista Talk does just that. Perhaps for those who did not read the first book it will all be brand new and meaningful. For the others who read the first book and are wanting more words and thoughts in the second I pray I am giving them what they need. A new chapter, writings from my students and a colleague. All in the spirit of love, life and Oshun.

Rochelle Brock is Professor and Department Chair of Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations at University North Carolina, Greensboro.

Foreword: On Passionate Pedagogies

Silvia C. Bettez

Sista Talk is one of four key texts in my Passionate Pedagogies class, a course situated in a Cultural Foundations of Education doctoral program which I have taught four times. In this course we examine teaching and learning as embodied practices and study how passion, on the part of both teachers and learners, can become a motivating force for deeper understanding of ourselves and critical social issues in society. As I reread the book again to write this afterword, I was reminded of how much it speaks to me in ways that are so often neglected in the sterile walls of academia. As a professor I constantly read for work; however, my experience when engaging texts is widely varied. I am always learning as I read, but some authors constrain my knowledge while others feed my soul. Rochelle Brock’s book is one of those soul-affirming, grounding, mold-breaking, challenging works that reminds me of the power of embodied learning.

Throughout the book, Brock candidly enacts deep levels of critical self-reflection as she shares parts of her journey to better understand herself as a Black woman in “a confusing and hostile world” and herself as Black woman teacher always striving to more effectively teach students who are also struggling with challenges to their identities in hostile environments. She highlights the dialectic of strength and weakness in Black women’s lives resulting from the constant pain experienced from being othered in a dehumanizing, disempowering society. Her “ultimate aim is to lay out the parameters and characteristics of [her] definition of effective teaching of African American students.” To highlight teaching as a ←xiii | xiv→personal and political act ripe with challenges and possibilities, she literally plays with the text’s structure. Double-border boxes interspersed throughout the book represent her intimate, painful conversations with herself. In Reflections between chapters, Brock exposes personal past experiences, reminding us of the connection between who we are, what we think, and how we teach. Transition sections connect practice to the theory discussed in chapters. Within chapters, she incorporates dialogues between herself, Rochelle and an African goddess Oshun, whom she describes as her “internal other” and “spiritual guide.” Through her book structure, she models the “pedagogy of wholeness” she calls for in action, as she incorporates the combination of personal experiences, Afrocentric and Black feminist theoretical influences, critical narratives, historical contexts, emotions, and dialogue.

To highlight the power of Brock’s book, I speak to it from two interrelated angles. First, I share my knowledge of students’ experiences in engaging with Brock’s book. Second, I speak from my experience with the text as a professor at a predominantly White institution teaching graduate students about social justice education in somewhat racially/ethnically diverse classrooms. When preparing to write this, I happened to be in the process of teaching Passionate Pedagogies. Thus, I was able to ask my students about their thoughts and reflections on the book and they graciously allowed me to draw on their response in my own reflections. I also contacted a few students who had read the book in former courses asking them to provide me with a brief overview of their experience and how they made meaning of the book. The collection of these responses, in addition to my recollections in teaching previous Passionate Pedagogy courses, informs what I share regarding my take on the impact this book can have on professors and students.

My experience in teaching this book is that the vast majority of students find it transformative to their thinking about teaching, learning, and their role as scholars in the academy. Three aspects of Brock’s book tend to stand out to the students with whom I work: (a) Brock’s journey of self-discovery as a Black woman educator, (b) Brock’s discussions regarding how to teach students who experience oppression, especially Black students, and (c) Brock’s insights about how scholars of color (professors and students) experience and survive oppression. As one student stated, “I think a big part of this book is about Brock’s journey of knowing herself as an African American woman, as an educator, and then knowing how she can reach all her students, particularly minority students who have been affected by the oppressive system, to think critically and be aware of their own identity that has been shaped by society.”

Each student has unique personalized reactions to the text: however I have seen patterns emerge regarding the impact of the book, often across White/People of Color lines. White students generally focus on what they learned regarding the racism faced by students of color (especially Black women through the experiences of Brock’s participants) and the impression made by witnessing the resilience ←xiv | xv→and vulnerability of Brock and her participants in the face of oppression. As one White student wrote, “One thing that really made me stop and think was Brock’s discussion of public K–12 education system and how it has systematically failed Black students from the start … This had never really occurred to me (?!@#), and I was under the influence of the dominant prescription of throwing more time and money at the issue as opposed to dealing with the root cause.”


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2020 (January)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. XXXVIII, 148 pp.

Biographical notes

Rochelle Brock (Author)

Rochelle Brock is Professor and Department Chair of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She received her PhD from Pennsylvania State University in curriculum and instruction and is the founding Series Editor for Black Studies and Critical Thinking with Peter Lang Publishing.


Title: Sista Talk Too