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This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and… (2018)

by Morgan Jerkins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3412259,314 (3.93)27
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.… (more)
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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
She does not try to submit to white standards of respectability and that is why I love this book. I note other reviews that are critical, oft from white women who except respectability politics.
But she is honest. Honesty is not respectable. Honesty is I believed this and I grew. I believe this now and I am growing. These are my fears and these are how they've changed. Honesty is not respectable. ( )
  elisalr22 | Jul 11, 2021 |
A collection of wide-ranging essays about the author's experience with race, gender, and striving to succeed in a world designed to hold her back and hold her down. She fearlessly relates intimate moments, doubts, fears, and the cultural pressures that have shaped her. This was a deeply affecting look into a world that I have limited experience with and I truly appreciate the author's willingness to open herself so fully to those who may or may not understand her. She is an inspiring figure and a truly evocative writer. ( )
  Juva | Nov 18, 2020 |
For the most part this was really well done. I especially loved the chapter for Michelle Obama. Other chapters though, the overall impact seemed really young. Not quite juvenile but not really mature either. I can't wait to see how she does as she continues her journey. ( )
  Chris.Bulin | Oct 1, 2020 |
Sigh. I don't know what to say. This collection of essays is very good. Jerkins goes into the highs and lows of being a black woman in America. She goes into what it means to be a black woman while on travel (Russia and Japan). She goes into being a black woman trying to be successful, but still treated like she's from another world since many black men out there don't know what to do with a black woman who is out there being a success and doesn't have time for their foolishness.

Jerkins goes into the cycles of black women in America. When you are just a kid and realize that your hair is going to take a lot of your time/sanity to deal with since you get treated a certain way if your nice is "ethnic." How she felt being one of the smartest girls in her school and how that caused backlash among other black girls.

From there she goes into going to Princeton college and finding herself un-dateable. I had the opposite problem when I went to the University of Pittsburgh. I just used to lie and tell people I was in a relationship to be left alone. I was focused on finishing undergraduate and that was it. When I did get into graduate school was when I went and found a dude who wasn't worth anything. I am still mad that I loaned this boy (seriously he was such a child) money and he had the nerve to act like I was not being a "good" black woman since I refused to cook for him after coming home from an internship and classes. A few years ago he sent me a Facebook friend request. I was never so happy to block someone in my life.

A lot of Jerkins essays though go in unexpected ways. Her essay about Michelle Obama actually made me sad and mad. I still cannot believe how much Michelle Obama was attacked by the media and conservatives out there. I don't blame her for not running for office in 2020. I would be sitting on a beach and just drinking all the wine.

Another essay I loved was the one Jerkins wrote about how powerful Beyonce is to black women out there and how her latest album, Lemonade, touched a lot of us in many ways. You start to think you are the only one out there struggling with things, because as black women we are taught to keep our pain inside. Keep on walking, stay strong, don't ask for help, etc. Constantly being on guard to make sure you speak "right" around mixed groups, to not be the "angry black woman" so people can dismiss your points is exhausting as hell.

Though I gave this four stars, I still marked it as a favorite. The only reason why I gave this four stars is that in some of the essays, Jerkins jumps around a lot that can get a bit confusing if you don't have context for some of the things she is talking about. Though I liked her essay on "Black Girl Magic" she goes into what the movement was about, how some people attacked it, and then a personal subject about a medical procedure she decided to undergo. It was a bit crowded in there for me in that chapter. I would have liked it if it was broken up.

I also just liked the "How to Survive: A Manifesto on Paranoia and Peace" was not for me. I liked "How to be Docile" much better since she uses similar writing styles in both essays.

I have never heard of Jerkins before, but am going to go out and take a look at some of her writing as soon as possible. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
A phenomenal collection of linked essays about living as a black woman in America. Jerkins’s writing voice is incisive, evocative, and honest – she examines race and gender, exposing how misogyny, racism and exclusionary white feminism intertwine into one insidious entity that harms black women in today’s society every day. Very educational. ( )
  tetiana.90 | Apr 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
(starred review) " Her writing is personal, inviting, and fearless as she explores the racism and sexism black women face in America"
added by karenb | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 13, 2017)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morgan Jerkinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kerner, Jamie LynnDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosokoff, SylvieCover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.

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