Readers’ Advisory 2: Black Girl Dangerous. Mia McKenzie

Quick Facts

Author: Mia McKenzie

Published 2014 BGD Press, Inc. $16.95US

168pp. 9780988628632

Popular nonfiction, Essays, LGBTQ

Available in print and eBook

Why I Read It

Lately, I’ve found myself intrigued by black and queer writings. Not just black writings, though, all people of color. My role in the library has allowed me to examine the types of books that are being requested, checked out, and never coming back. These are the types of books my community are reading, and I feel like I should be knowledgeable about a wide variety of authors on the topic. Also, I like reading stuff like this. It helps me to refine my own thoughts on the subject.

TLL’s Tag

McKenzie, owner of the popular tumblr blog Black Girl Dangerous, has compiled her most popular posts in this volume.

The Rundown

A collection of essays originally posted to the popular tumblr blog turned phenomena and non-profit organization Black Girl Dangerous.

Here’s what I think

Much like Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist discussed all the ways we can engage and identify, or not, with feminism, McKenzie asks us to think critically about the world around us. In no particular order that I can discern, McKenzie has collected her most popular posts and put them in book form for a wider audience. She hasn’t changed the content of the posts-cum-essays, but she has added “afterthoughts” to a few of them explaining how and why her views have changed, if they have.

In terms of mechanics, the longer pieces are better than the shorter pieces. The short pieces work when placed in their original context as blog posts, but I wish they could have been fleshed out more for the book. The lists, also, work well in the shorter, blog form. That is not to say they do not work here, I just wanted them to be longer. I was reminded of Simien’s Dear White People, even though BGD was written specifically with a people of color audience in mind. The subject is the same, how to survive as a black person in America. Though Simien’s book has a more humourous slant, both books are dangerous and thought-provoking.

Final decision

The pieces are well-thought out, but work better as blog posts. Popular with followers of the original tumblr, website, and those interested in not “navel-gazing” their privilege.

3Q–Readable, without serious defects.

3.5P–Broad general or genre appeal.

Readalikes, courtesy of Goodreads

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, Julia Serano

Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer femininities, Del LaGrace Volcano

Does Your Mama Know?: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories

Appeal Factors

Thought-provoking, engaging

Book talk ideas

Beyoncé and Feminism

Navel-gazing your privilege

Discussing race/class.gender/sexuality on social media

Book discussion questions

1) What does it mean to push back against your privilege in your life? McKenzie gives several examples.

2) Satire is widely used as a way to comment on contemporary life. Name one time when satire went too far.

3) Which essay resonated the most/least with you?

Clues to the Future

Black Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, Mia McKenzie, Dear White People readalikes, queer people of color, essay collections, call to action, isms

Awards and Lists

NA

Links to the Author, Interviews, and Reviews

Author site: http://miamckenzie.net/

Black Girl Dangerous: http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/

Huffington Post Interview: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yolo-akili/mia-mckenzie-the-summer-we-got-free_b_4026186.html

Contagious Queer Review: https://contagiousqueer.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/book-review-black-girl-dangerous-on-race-queerness-class-and-gender/

Philadelphia CityPaper Review: http://citypaper.net/Arts/Local-book-review-Black-Girl-Dangerous/

 

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