As I’ve said elsewhere, one of the good things to come out of 2020 was meeting a whole network of anti-racists, you among them. One of these was Theresa M. Robinson. I enjoyed her truth-telling posts, and was thrilled to hear that she planned to publish a book. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate Martin Luther King Day 2021 than to tell you about it.
The title spoke to me from the start, so I was delighted when she asked me to make a small contribution, and to be an early reviewer. Simply speaking, I loved the book, and at times it felt like Theresa was in my head. Here’s the review I posted on Amazon:
This is not your Mama's antiracism book
“Blaxhaustion, Karens and Other Threats to Black Lives and Wellbeing: A Black Woman's Perspective” by Theresa M Robinson is an uncompromising exploration of Black women’s experiences.
The book promises to call out the "Karen, Kens and their Kin" who have left Black women Blaxhausted - and it certainly delivers. It's a spirited condemnation of anti-Black racism in the many, many arenas where it occurs.
When I first heard the term “Blaxhaustion” it spoke to my spirit. It's about racism fatigue and multi-generational trauma. I was hooked from the first word. The personal section of the intro will tug at your heartstrings, and that's before you get to the main content. Here’s what’s inside:
Act 1: Blaxhaustion™
Act 2: Karens, Her Ken, and Her Kin
Act 3: Coronaviracism™: A Tale of Two Pandemics
Act 4: Great White Lies
Act 5: White Complicity & Performative Wokeness
If you can handle large doses of truth-telling from a powerful Black woman, then by all means read this book. Make no mistake, though, Robinson’s primary audience is Black women, and Black people, and the theme of this book might as well be “I said what I said”. Robinson does not seek white approval, and does not prioririze white comfort, so if you’re a white anti-racist reader, expect to sit with some discomfort.
Blaxhaustion seamlessly switches among a number of forms of language. One minute there’s the kind of girl talk you get round the kitchen table; the next there’s an academic citation covering an aspect of Black life.
The book also includes poetry by the author and others, as well as the voices of 60+ other Black women (sistahQueens) with something to say, in callout “I’m Speaking” sections. As a whole, it’s extremely powerful and empowering.
As a Black woman, I moved between being emotionally floored by the knowledge that someone else had had the same experience as me, to pumping my fist in the air as Robinson dropped yet another truth bomb (for example, check out the “extermination playbook” - whew! - and the “cold hard truths about racism”)
“Blaxhaustion” is a must-read for Black women, and for anyone who wants to truly understand how white supremacy and white privilege harm and extinguish Black lives. Highly recommended.
As you know, I’ve been running a “Meet an Anti-Racism Writer” feature from time to time in the newsletter. It seemed to me that an interview with Theresa would make a perfect addition to this series, and I’m happy to tell you that she agreed with me. That interview will run in a couple of days, so make sure you don’t miss it.
In the meantime, buy Theresa’s book. It will give you some unvarnished insights you won’t get elsewhere.
And once you’ve read it, I’d love to hear what you think, so please come back and leave a comment.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
To get more insight into experiences of racism, and learn what you can do to fight it, check out the anti-racism workshop I’m leading on January 23rd.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.