Sunday, November 18, 2018

Review of When They Call You a Terrorist

Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele's When They Call You A Terrorist is a powerful memoir by the woman who started Black Lives Matter. BLM is so demonized by the right that many people likely know nothing about it but form negative opinions anyway. The book is so eloquent because it just describes a family, whose lives the state has really decided don't matter. Her brother has schozaffective disorder, but is arrested and then tortured (in ways that rival Abu Ghraib) in prison because no one is interested that his episodes can be effectively treated. In general, prisons are there to make money and the lives within them literally do not matter. Black lives in particular simply do not matter--men are automatically guilty and women have to pick up the pieces with inadequate resources. Children suffer all the consequences and too many live without hope.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors dedicated her life to organizing against discrimination and hate, in the face of all kinds of structural obstacles, all the more challenging as a queer woman. She gains and then loses her biological father, gains and loses the other father who had been in her life at times. She deals with the prison system in ways most of us with comfortable (and white) lives simply cannot imagine.

The media generally treats BLM as radical, but the only radical idea here is that people should literally be treated equally. You don't see rancor in this memoir. There's far more worry and longing, with hope sprinkled in. You should read it.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP