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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.



About the Author

Damon Young

I'm an Australian philosopher, author and columnist.I'm the author or editor of seven books, including five adult nonfiction and two children's books.I'm an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, and Founding Faculty at the School of Life, Melbourne.In 2013 I was awarded the AAP's Media Prize for my work in public philosophy.I live in Melbourne's eastern suburbs with my wife, son and daughter.Nonfiction BooksMy new book, for UK Pan Macmillan's School of Life series, is How to Think About Exercise. It's out now in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, India. Other territories may follow.My last book was Philosophy in the Garden, described by The Australian as "fluent and stylish and never marred by cliches or cliched thinking." The UK edition, Voltaire's Vine and Other Philosophies, will be published in April 2014 by Rider, an imprint of Random House. Editions will follow in Holland (Ten Have) , Turkey (Can) and other territories soon.My first book was Distraction, published in Australia, the US and UK. The UK's Financial Times called it "lucid and optimistic". It's also published in Mexico, in Spanish.I'm also the editor, with Graham Priest, of Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness. My next book with Graham, Philosophy and the Martial Arts: Engagement, will be out in 2014 with Routledge.Nonfiction BooksMy first children's picture book, My Nanna is a Ninja, will be published by UQP in March 2014. My second will follow in 2015. Both are illustrated by Peter Carnavas.Opinion, Features and ReviewsI've published opinion, features and reviews for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Australian Literary Review, Herald-Sun and BBC. I'm a regular columnist for the ABC and Canberra Times. My work is published in The Best Australian Science Writing 2013.I've also written poetry and fiction for Overland and Meanjin magazines.Radio and TelevisionI regularly comment on radio, including a monthly spot as a 'Modern Dilemmas' panelist on Radio National's 'Life Matters'. I was a regular guest on 'Mornings' with Alan Brough on ABC 774, 'philosopher-in-residence' on 'Afternoons' with James Valentine on ABC Sydney 702, and 'sports philosopher' with Francis Leach on SEN 1116. I've also spoken on television: ABC's 'The Drum' and 'Hack' and Channel 7's 'Sunrise'.Academic BackgroundI have a PhD in Philosophy, after a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Literature. I am an Honourary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, where I was a Research Fellow in Aesthetics from 2005-2007.



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