Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. Black women’s eloquent rage is what makes Serena Williams such a powerful tennis player. It’s what makes Beyoncé’s girl power anthems resonate so hard. It’s what makes Michelle Obama an icon.
Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don’t have to settle for less. When Cooper learned of her grandmother’s eloquent rage about love, sex, and marriage in an epic and hilarious front-porch confrontation, her life was changed. And it took another intervention, this time staged by one of her homegirls, to turn Brittney into the fierce feminist she is today. In Brittney Cooper’s world, neither mean girls nor fuckboys ever win. But homegirls emerge as heroes. This book argues that ultimately feminism, friendship, and faith in one’s own superpowers are all we really need to turn things right side up again.
White privilege works by making the advantages white people have invisible while making the supposedly “poor” choices of people of color hypervisible.
Eloquent Rage is a well-written, almost academic look at the intersection of Blackness and feminism. Although it includes many personal anecdotes, it also expands to paint a wider picture of modern American society as a whole and the way that race, class, and gender affect our perception of someone’s actions. If you (like me) are white, this book might make you a little bit uncomfortable. It might make you say, “Hey, I don’t do things like that!” But there is a difference between not doing those things and actively working against them.
My only criticism of this book is that it sometimes takes a while to get to the point. Aside from that, it’s interesting, informative, and important.
When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America—and the co-founding of a movement that demands justice for all in the land of the free.
Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.
Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.
Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering in equality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country—and the world—that Black Lives Matter.
When They Call You a Terrorist is Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele’s reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.
In my notes, I summarized this book in one word: powerful. This is the absolutely heartbreaking story of Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ struggle to find justice for her mentally ill brother and the innumerable other Black men and women who have been treated despicably by a system that claims to help them.
This book touches on many important topics, such the disparity between how Black and white children are disciplined in school, the struggle that Black people face to find help for mental illness, and the criminalization of behaviors that would likely send a white person to a mental health facility. Her words are honest and direct and sometimes painful to hear.
The only reason that I didn’t rate this book five stars was that I found the timeline confusing, as she sometimes hops between time periods without making that clear. But really, this book is incredible. If you have any interest in how Black Lives Matter began, please give this book a try.
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
Publication Date: September 7, 2017
Adam Kay was a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010, before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. He kept a diary throughout his training, and This Is Going to Hurt intersperses tales from the front line of the NHS with reflections on the current crisis. The result is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain, sacrifice and maddening bureaucracy, and a love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives in their hands.
I’ve had This is Going to Hurt on my TBR for a long time and finally got a chance to pick it up from my library. I’ll start this with a warning: this book is a sassy, sarcastic, irreverent look at the daily life of a doctor. It’s filled with stories of patients that I probably wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t spent seven years working in a hospital. (Nothing surprises me anymore.) But beneath all of that sardonic humor, it’s clear that Adam truly cared about his patients and truly loved his work.
I liked this book a lot, but I will say that it gets a little… grating, maybe, at certain points. It’s kind of like, yes, we get it, sometimes patients are dumb. And yes, we get it, sometimes coworkers do stupid things. His reasons for quitting, though, become very obvious as the book goes on. I had, of course, heard that the treatment of medical professionals in the UK was terrible, but I hadn’t quite realized the extent of it until I read this book.
Highly recommended if you have any interest in medicine.
Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR?
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