Sunday, November 8, 2020

[Book Chat] Attorney Taetrece Harrison, author of B*TCH HUNT

by Cyrus Webb


B*tch or the “B” word, as I grew up calling it, is not something we have ever used freely on my radio show or in the pages of our magazine. 2020, however changed that when I was introduced to attorney and author Taetrece Harrison. Her book B*TCH HUNT is not just provocative. It’s a book I think everyone should read. I had a chance to talk with her about the book, her own personal experiences and what she wants readers to take away from it in this engaging conversation.

Taetrece, you already knew the book title was going to be thought-provoking and get attention. Why did you feel like this was an important title for this book?

I knew it was going to provoke something where people wanted to find out ‘What is this about? What does this mean?’ I came up with the name as a play on witch hunts that took place back during Salem, where white men were basically persecuting women for allegedly being witches. And so the play on that was taking out the ‘w’ and putting in the ‘b’ for black women and it becoming B*TCH HUNT.

Part of the story that you share in the book is your own story, which I'm glad that I got a chance to know more about you and your journey in this. I think this is an interesting conversation for us in 2020. When did you decide to write this book? It is so timely. I'm curious as to when you actually decided that you wanted to write it.

Well, I actually came up with it right after the incident happened with me. So not too long after my trial ended, and I ran for judge. That would have been around April or May of 2018 when I actually started writing this book.

It definitely strikes a chord with where we are today. I think when people look at you today: being an attorney, author and a person who's out there letting her voice be heard, they would not necessarily think of someone who's been stifled or targeted. Not to give anything away for those who haven’t read it, but what has that been like for you to share your story?

I felt like it was important, because of the fact that because I am an attorney, people would not suspect that I would be in this type of situation. I felt that it was important to then highlight the fact that this could basically happen to anyone. And that's why it was so important to tell this story, to be able to let people know this is what I got dealt with, and how I maneuvered through it. I also want them to know that they can do it as well. They can stand up for themselves, just like I stood up for myself.

And standing up for oneself is so important. And a lot of what happens in your story ties into the narrative that we're hearing nationally about representation. I want to talk to you about the subtleness of this, because one of the things that was brought to my attention was when something happens to a black person and the press is involved, typically the pictures that are shown of them are not the most flattering versus with a similar situation with whites. The pictures typically are different. You actually addressed that in your chapter of the book. It seems like such a “small thing”, but what do you want people to know about that? About representation and what that shows, especially when it comes to the media?

That happened to me, where my picture was depicted one way in a certain newspaper that is known for being biased, and you have a white attorney who had gotten arrested, whose picture was shown in a whole different light. Not to negate what I did or what he did. Mine was basically based off of ‘he say, I say’, where his was based off of the fact that he was accused of being a pedophile.  [In the newspaper] he got the nice picture, and I get the mugshot picture.

The whole book basically is highlighting colorism and also racism throughout, because it's what we're dealing with now.

And it's just interesting, because I actually tried to get the book out like last year, but I had some difficulty. Things happen for a reason. The book came out on Juneteenth of 2020, which is just amazing in itself. And then it came out in the thick of what's going on with the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement. It just highlights again why the movement is so important, because this is a prime example of the things that we talk about as black people, about how we are treated differently in the media. If you're going to highlight someone who has been arrested, then do it across the board the same way. Don't treat one person differently than another person.

 Last question for you, Taetrece, going back to your story. What helped you to fight? We both know when some people are confronted with obstacles, it breaks them. What is it about you that refuse to be broken?

I have a strong mother, and I had a strong grandmother. That's all of the females in my family.  We're not ones to be weak. We're not weak-minded people. We're very, very strong. We don't deal with bullies. We definitely don't back down when we know it's right.


The book B*TCH HUNT is available on Stay connected with Taetrece online at www.taetreceharrison as well as on social media at .

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