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Bad Feminist: Book Discussion Series

Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist - March 2018 Library Book Discussion, sponsored by ISU Library's Committee on Diversity & Inclusion

Week 4

Topic: Politics, Gender & Race

Topic Leader: Erin Thomas

Meeting:  March 29, 3:30-4:30, Rm 304

Selected readings, from Politics, Gender & Race section:

  • The Politics of Respectability" -- pages 303-307

  • "When Twitter Does what Journalism Cannot" -- pages 309-314

  • "The Racism We All Carry" -- pages 343-347.

You can always read more from the Politics, Gender & Race section, but these are the essays we will focus on in our discussions.

 

Discussion Questions

1. Gay defines respectability politics as “the idea that if black (or other marginalized) people simply behave in “culturally approved” ways, if we mimic the dominant culture, it will be more difficult to suffer the effects of racism.” (pp. 304-5) Why does she find this concept so troubling? What examples does she give for how this concept is/is not reflected in reality?

2. In 2013, Gay wrote about the ways in which the reporting of major news networks differed significantly from news shared through social media, differences that she describes as “more pronounced and more pathetic with each passing day.” (p. 312) Do these statements still hold true in today’s era of social media “fake news”?

3. Gay contends that most people are “a little bit racist,” but follow unwritten rules about when and how to “be racist.” (p. 343, 345) Why does she make this argument? What examples does she share?