Author: Mia McKenzie
Published 2014 BGD Press, Inc. $16.95US
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.
McKenzie, owner of the popular tumblr blog Black Girl Dangerous, has compiled her most popular posts in this volume.
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.
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
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
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
Philadelphia CityPaper Review: http://citypaper.net/Arts/Local-book-review-Black-Girl-Dangerous/