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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays (2019)

de Damon Young

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1672127,091 (3.86)5
A Finalist for the NAACP Image Award Longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay An NPR Best Book of the Year A Washington Independent Review of Books Favorite of the Year From the cofounder of VerySmartBrothas.com, and one of the most read writers on race and culture at work today, a provocative and humorous memoir-in-essays that explores the ever-shifting definitions of what it means to be Black (and male) in America For Damon Young, existing while Black is an extreme sport. The act of possessing black skin while searching for space to breathe in America is enough to induce a ceaseless state of angst where questions such as "How should I react here, as a professional black person?" and "Will this white person's potato salad kill me?" are forever relevant. What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker chronicles Young's efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him. It's a condition that's sometimes stretched to absurd limits, provoking the angst that made him question if he was any good at the "being straight" thing, as if his sexual orientation was something he could practice and get better at, like a crossover dribble move or knitting; creating the farce where, as a teen, he wished for a white person to call him a racial slur just so he could fight him and have a great story about it; and generating the surreality of watching gentrification transform his Pittsburgh neighborhood from predominantly Black to "Portlandia . . . but with Pierogies."   And, at its most devastating, it provides him reason to believe that his mother would be alive today if she were white. From one of our most respected cultural observers, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker is a hilarious and honest debut that is both a celebration of the idiosyncrasies and distinctions of Blackness and a critique of white supremacy and how we define masculinity.… (més)
Afegit fa poc perbiblioteca privada, FleetSparrow, mw724, CrayolaCrayon, Kyla_Ke, kwjr, benkroll, LoisCK
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This is a powerful entry in the Black Lives Matter truth and reconciliation literary canon - plus it's UPROARIOUS! Meaning that the author, of the VSB (Very Smart Brothas) blog, is a humorist, a realist, and a powerfully vulnerable Black man. It's not written for white people or even for white allies specifically, which is a welcome relief, because the reader is being informed here but not schooled; not taught how to be anti-racist, but just taught about what it means to be a Black man. The chapter on Young's Pittsburgh childhood and about what he feels are the inevitable setbacks that can be expected in any Black family are the most wrenching, and reveals truths hidden from white Americans. His discourse on the two variations of the 'n-word' are eye-opening and provide a wealth of responses to share with those racists who don't understand why they can't say either. One of the most appealing chapters is a recounting of his two decades of weekly basketball games where his is the only Black man, and why none of these teammates, whose court skills he admires, have ever been to Damon’s home. His overwhelmingly persuasive denunciation of the repressive masculine standards that define American Black men is unforgettable. A must-read.

Quotes: "It was more the type of gratitude that occurs when a seven-year-old nephew draws you a really sweet picture of Rosa Parks slam dunking a football."

"Dad said, "Don't break yourself trying to appease white people. Martin Luther King was killed in a suit"

"If you're poor and Black, America acts like you emerged from the room twenty-seven years old, with four kids, five predicate felonies, and a lit Newport already between your lips. White babies get to be babies. Poor Black people are born Avon Barksdale."

"There is the privilege of mistakes."

"For the first two hours following the election of Barack Obama, I knew how it felt to be a white American. But all the whiteness I'd felt moments earlier and all the pride I felt moments earlier were neutralized by worry, tension, and dread. All I could think of were the wails I'd hear from the street when our Black-ass president-elect was assassinated. My president was Black. But for my sanity's sake, I wanted him to be invisible."

"The world's rapiest vat of Cheez Whiz had somehow managed to become the next president."

"It's just too fucking much to always have to be angry and alert. To always have to be ready and willing to challenge whiteness." ( )
  froxgirl | Aug 11, 2020 |
A wonderfully complex and cathartic book about being a black man in our current American landscape. I think I was more impressed with how verbose and hilarious each essay was. This collection was like therapy in a book for the confused and traumatized black man. I appreciated Young's ability to inject criticism, satire, irony, and experience in each story he told. I don't have a particular favorite essay because I believe readers should evaluate the collection as a whole. I can only say that his voice is needed in a world where blackness is often reduced to some kind of ENVOGUE, FASHIONABLE experience. Young accomplishes the goal of great writing: self-evaluation, evocative thought, critical commentary, and universal points of connection. ( )
3 vota HaroldMillican | Dec 15, 2019 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Damon Youngautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Chong, Suet YeeDissenyadorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
huny young, sarahCover design, author photoautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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I was fucking verklempt...He screamed nigger but he might as well have screamed “Bingo!” or “Yahtzee!” or “Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts!”. (Nigger Fight Story)
Cozy sometimes has s connotation of slight condescension, a working and backhanded commentary on an item’s size.
It was assumed that they were a bit rougher and a bit less inhibited and a bit more adult than the average kid. While ch is a presumption that exists for black kids, and black people, in general. And the poorer the person, the stronger the presumption. If you’re just black, America adds a decade of age, a vat of sass, and a coating of Kevlar to your skin because of course niggers don’t feel any pain. If you’re poor and black, America acts like you emerge from the womb twenty-seven years old, with four kids, five predicate felones, and a lit Newport already between your lips.
This hookup was, without a doubt, the most Caucasian thing that ever happened tome. It feltbwhiter than a Patagonia fleece.
My president was black. But for my sanity’s sake, I wanted him to be invisible. (Obama Bomaye)
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A Finalist for the NAACP Image Award Longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay An NPR Best Book of the Year A Washington Independent Review of Books Favorite of the Year From the cofounder of VerySmartBrothas.com, and one of the most read writers on race and culture at work today, a provocative and humorous memoir-in-essays that explores the ever-shifting definitions of what it means to be Black (and male) in America For Damon Young, existing while Black is an extreme sport. The act of possessing black skin while searching for space to breathe in America is enough to induce a ceaseless state of angst where questions such as "How should I react here, as a professional black person?" and "Will this white person's potato salad kill me?" are forever relevant. What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker chronicles Young's efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him. It's a condition that's sometimes stretched to absurd limits, provoking the angst that made him question if he was any good at the "being straight" thing, as if his sexual orientation was something he could practice and get better at, like a crossover dribble move or knitting; creating the farce where, as a teen, he wished for a white person to call him a racial slur just so he could fight him and have a great story about it; and generating the surreality of watching gentrification transform his Pittsburgh neighborhood from predominantly Black to "Portlandia . . . but with Pierogies."   And, at its most devastating, it provides him reason to believe that his mother would be alive today if she were white. From one of our most respected cultural observers, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker is a hilarious and honest debut that is both a celebration of the idiosyncrasies and distinctions of Blackness and a critique of white supremacy and how we define masculinity.

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