"When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir" by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and

Updated: Jan 30, 2020


TITLE: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

AUTHORS: Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press

PUBLISHED DATE: January 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1250171085

PAGES: 272

When They Call You a Terrorist is a soon to be classic in black literary thought and canon. This is a stunning memoir that poignantly captures the vitality of Patrisse and her family's strong spirit and determination struggling against brutal and relentless injustice. bandele's signature writing style is prevalent and gives Khan-Cullors narrative an almost poetic feel. This memoir packs all of the fire, all the receipts and brings down the full weight of harm perpetuated in the black community.

Khan-Cullors tells the story of her hard working mother, often working three jobs to provide for her children. Though she works three jobs, she is barely able to pay rent and put food on the table, and definitely finds it difficult to be present in the lives of her children. At 12 her children, as Khan-Cullors notes, like a lot of black children in poor disenfranchised communities, become the targets of a vicious police state using every tool in their arsenal to incarcerate and perpetuate lifelong servitude, guilt, and worthlessness within the black community. With striking prose, Khan-Cullors articulates how she saw loving members of her family brought down by the drug war, tortured during incarceration, and the object of excessive police presence and brutality. Through all of the inequality and maltreatment, hers is a story of love and acceptance. A story about a queer black woman who through the queer and trans community learned to accept all people and advocate for all people - traits dismally absent in the strict Jehovah's Witness community and respectability politics of her mother's middle class black family.

When Kahn-Cullors speaks of her community...a community where helicopters are abundant, a community where black lives are expendable - only useful as forced labor in privatized prisons...you feel it. You feel the heartbreak of her mother frantically trying to find her 14 year old brother, and not knowing where or how to reach him. You feel how hopeless most people feel about their ability to change the system. You feel the difference in how crime is treated in the