This will be my undoing : living at the intersection of black, female, and feminist in (white) America / Morgan Jerkins.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: In her collection of linked essays, Jerkins takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to "be"-- to live as, to exist as-- a black woman today? Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle, that are rarely acknowledged in our country's larger discussion about inequality. Jerkins exposes the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.
    • Content Notes:
      Monkeys like you -- How to be docile -- The stranger at the carnival -- A hunger for men's eyes -- A lotus for Michelle -- Black girl magic -- Human, not black -- Who will write us? -- How to survive: a manifesto on paranoia and peace -- A black girl like me.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references (pages 255-258).
    • Other Titles:
      Living at the intersection of black, female, and feminist in (white) America.
      Essays. Selections
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:


Booklist Reviews 2017 December #1

"White people see it as a compliment when they do not ‘see' you as a black person . . . because in white society, blackness exists only as a punishment. They do not understand that blackness doesn't undermine but rather vivifies our humanity." Jerkins' insightful response to the question of why she calls herself a black woman rather than simply "a human" encapsulates the themes of this tender, melodious essay collection. Whether parsing the pitfalls of the "strong black woman" trope, marveling at the obtuseness of white friends who casually introduce her to a skinhead, or navigating the layers of meaning around black hair in white spaces, Jerkins speaks firmly and unapologetically of "misogynoir"—the myriad ways black womanhood is demeaned and debased in American society. Jerkins' forthright examination of her own experiences leads to a triumphant reclaiming of blackness in all its power, and her heartfelt love letter to Michelle Obama glows with familial pride in "the beacon that reminds us that the ascendancy of a black woman . . . is possible." Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2017 December #1

Jerkins provides a critical view of American culture, similar to Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, which is about the intersection of race and feminism in British culture. Here, the pop culture essayist examines her life as a feminist woman of color while sharing insight on her faith as it relates to contemporary culture. Weaving personal narratives with historical, social, and cultural anecdotes, Jerkins discusses such topics as body image, race identification, fitting in, dating, sexuality, faith, disability, and the Black Girl Magic movement. Each chapter provides insightful, personal, and frank analysis of how several identities can and do overlap with one another; especially being a black women of faith in white America. Jerkins provides awareness into her own complexities—college-educated, black, female, Millennial, feminist—in an attempt to figure out where she fits in and in an effort to uncover the intricacies of her multilayered identity. VERDICT For those interested in a younger perspective on black studies and feminism.—Tiffeni Fontno, Boston Coll.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2017 November #2

Jerkins's debut collection of essays forces readers to reckon with the humanity black women have consistently been denied. Her writing is personal, inviting, and fearless as she explores the racism and sexism black women face in America: "Blackness is a label that I do not have a choice in rejecting as long as systemic barriers exist in this country. But also, my blackness is an honor, and as long as I continue to live, I will always esteem it as such." In her opening essay, Jerkins recounts the moment the division between black girls and white girls became clear to her, when she was told by a fellow black girl that "they don't accept monkeys like you" after Jerkins failed to make the all-white cheerleading squad. This marks the first of many times that Jerkins asserts that a black woman's survival depends on her ability to assimilate to white culture. A later essay addresses the paradox of the explicit sexualization of black women's bodies and the cultural expectation that black women must be ashamed of their own sexuality in order to be taken seriously in a white world. At one point in the book, Jerkins lauds Beyoncé's Lemonade as art that finally represents black women as entire, complex human beings. One could say the same about this gorgeous and powerful collection. (Jan.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.