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

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

Written by Damon Young

Narrated by Damon Young


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

Written by Damon Young

Narrated by Damon Young

ratings:
4.5/5 (56 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 26, 2019
ISBN:
9780062898227
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Editor's Note

Cringe, cry, contemplate…

Awkward and neurotic in all the best ways, this darkly comedic memoir from one of the internet’s funniest social critics (Very Smart Brothas cofounder Damon Young) will have you cringing, crying with laughter, and contemplating what it means to be a black man in America today.

Description

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.”

At its most devastating, it provides him reason to believe 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.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 26, 2019
ISBN:
9780062898227
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Damon Young is a prize-winning philosopher and writer. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including The Art of Reading, How to Think About Exercise, Philosophy in the Garden, and Distraction. His works have been translated into eleven languages, and he has also written poetry, short fiction, and children’s fiction. Young is an Associate in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.

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What people think about What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker

4.6
56 ratings / 11 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    It was so funny, but not funny, you know. The way young infused humor in these tough issues of race, poverty, sexism, gentrification, politics, etc. just made it so relaxing and relatable for me.
  • (5/5)
    Great read. Very insightful. I loved it and will read his other books.
  • (5/5)
    The right balance of humour and seriousness. This book challenges ignorance, stereotypes, racism and sexism in truly powerful way.
  • (5/5)
    Damon's voice is so unique. His perspectives are deep and cathartic. He will make you laugh and cry.
  • (5/5)
    Superb .. I recommend highly recommend this gem to anyone who wants to gain insight on how it feels to be 'living while black' & as a person of colour , specifically as an African American. Funny observations and anecdotes
  • (5/5)
    Very interesting, entertaining and insightful. It gives people of other races the opportunity to see things from a black persons perspective.
  • (5/5)
    Incredible book. Made me laugh so much out loud. Really informative and beautifully written. Thank you Damon :)
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Great anecdotes from Damon’s life that have tremendous relevance given race relations and privilege, and pop culture and hoop references are aplenty as well. Emotional and humorous and smart and relevant. All that we’ve come to expect from Damon.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)
    A heavily padded magazine article, but still good. Did Slade really need to go into the history of the American Revolution? There are hundreds of capsule portraits of characters who disappear by the next page—fortunately, Slade doesn't draw them out too far. Slade constantly misuses the word "exponential," as in: "Wind speed and force have an exponential relationship, meaning that as the wind notches up, its force doubles, then triples, and then quadruples, and so on. It’s based on a simple formula: wind pressure per square foot = 0.00256 (wind speed)^2." This makes me wonder what other basic facts she gets completely wrong. Another flaw is that the narrative is strongly biased, especially against the corporate owner of the El Faro. To me, it seemed like most of the blame fell on the captain for heading right into the hurricane (based partly on mistaken weather reports), and some of what Slade assails as corporate doublespeak sounded completely reasonable. I'd like to know the truth, but we mostly get one side here. Also, despite all the padding elsewhere, the chapter on recommended safety improvements following the investigation is too brief. I am glad it is there. Also, not the author's fault given the publication date, but I would like to know whether these recommendations have been adopted or not. Despite these criticisms, the story is definitely spellbinding, and it reads quickly. Recommended.
  • (4/5)
    This is an excellent recounting of the horrifying wreck of an American container ship in a 2015 hurricane off the coast of Puerto Rico. Since the "black box" recorder on the ship's bridge was retrieved (at great peril and expense), the author is able to document the hour-by-hour combination of human hubris and mechanical failure that caused the deaths of 33 mariners. And since she attended the post-accident inquest, Slade is also able to pin the tail on the corporate donkey. There's plenty of neglect and avarice to be spread around. Quote: "The word "experienced" often refers to someone who has gotten away with doing the wrong thing more frequently than you have."
  • (5/5)
    This was an absolutely riveting and tragic account of El Faro, the container ship that ran into Hurricane Joaquin while enroute to Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, Fl, in October 2015, and disappeared, resulting in the loss of 33 lives. The first half of the book tells of the mariners and the final hours aboard ship (possible because of the subsequent find of the ship’s VDR that had recorded hours of conversations on the bridge). The second half details the search and subsequent infuriating investigation. The author is a journalist and the book has a “you are there” feel - it’s impossible not to feel deeply as ill formed decisions are made. It’s a page-turner of a book even as you know it’s going to end tragically. This isn’t a technical story, it’s more a story of people - the mariners and coast guard personnel - who work the water. Highly recommendedMy thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for honest review.