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

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

by Damon Young


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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.”  

And, at its most devastating, it provides him reason to believe that 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062684301
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 21,883
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Damon Young is the cofounder and editor in chief of VerySmartBrothas, a senior editor at The Root, and a columnist for GQ. His work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, Slate, Salon, The Guardian (UK), New York magazine, Jezebel, Complex, EBONY, Essence, USA Today, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Table of Contents

Introduction Living Mile Black is an Extreme Sport 1

1 Nigger Fight Story 15

2 Street Cred 29

3 Bomb-Ass Poetry 55

4 Your Turn 77

5 No Homo 87

6 Driver's Ed 107

7 Three Niggas 127

8 Obama Bomaye 145

9 Broke 159

10 How to Make the Internet Hate You in 15 Simple Steps 177

11 Banging Over Bacon 201

12 Yolo 213

13 Living While Black Killed My Mom 235

14 East Liberty Kutz 249

15 Thursday-Night Hoops 271

16 Zoe 291

Acknowledgments 305

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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I lived, as many, some of the events so this book rang true to me.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous 8 months ago
Really insightful. Things that Black men think about on a daily basis are discussed, explained and validated in this book. Very powerful. I am not alone as shown in the wonderment of the various thoughts and topics written about in this book. THANKS!!! You cover a lot of ground,