Sunday, April 15, 2018

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

This is one of those books where it feels wrong to say that I "enjoyed" the book because it is a book about inequality and oppression, and anger and pain, and I didn't exactly have a grand old time reading it. On the other hand, I found it fascinating and interesting and important, and even though it isn't necessarily something someone would read for fun, it should be read and I'm very glad I received a copy of it to read and review for my blog.

I am a feminist, but I'll be the first to agree that feminism as we know it comes from a predominantly white, cis-het perspective. There are a lot of oversights and holes in the doctrines, and ELOQUENT RAGE sheds some light on those holes, particularly as they apply to women of color. It was so wonderful reading a feminist book from a woman of color's perspective because she brings up so many things feminist books exclude.

Some of my favorite essays were the one about using one's anger productively; the essay on politics of black hair; the essay on BLM; the essay about the Obamas; the essay on sexuality; and the line about "woke" guys who talk the talk but continue acting like misogynistic "not all men" a-holes. This latter especially happens to be a major peeve of mine. Some of her essays were a bit drier than others and I liked the ones that had her personal touch, like the scene with a student in the beginning that ended up providing the inspiration for this essay's title or the one about her grandmother gleefully recounting her sexual prowess. Those were great.

I think some people are going to have difficulty swallowing these essays because they're probably going to make you uncomfortable. I felt a little uncomfortable while reading this, but in a good way, because books like these force you to ask important questions of both yourself and society. A lot of people think that if something makes them uncomfortable, it is "bad" and I'm sure there's going to be a number of reviewers saying, "Oh boy, another book attacking white people, how racist!" But the thing is, this book isn't attacking white people. It is a book that condemns people, some of whom happen to be white, who continue to omit black women from feminist and progressive dialogues. The anger is justified, and, yes, eloquent, and serves as a call to action to change that.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

3 out of 5 stars

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