When They Call You a Terrorist
The emotional and powerful story of one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter and how the movement was born.From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors' story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.

When They Call You a Terrorist Details

TitleWhen They Call You a Terrorist
Author
ReleaseJan 16th, 2018
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250171085
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Race, Social Movements, Social Justice, Biography Memoir, Biography

When They Call You a Terrorist Review

  • Megan Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    when they call you a terrorist is a recounting of the life of one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, and many of the experiences that led up to BLM and subsequent actions that the movement has participated in and led thus far. I consider myself to be fairly aware of BLM, and black history but I have learned so much from this memoir. I have realized even more of my privilege as a white woman in the US. Even in my times of poverty, I've never been as impoverished as these brave men and women. when they call you a terrorist is a recounting of the life of one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, and many of the experiences that led up to BLM and subsequent actions that the movement has participated in and led thus far. I consider myself to be fairly aware of BLM, and black history but I have learned so much from this memoir. I have realized even more of my privilege as a white woman in the US. Even in my times of poverty, I've never been as impoverished as these brave men and women. I've never cowered in my home in fear of the police. I've never had to worry about getting my mentally ill family members to the hospital myself because they had previously been tortured (literally) in a prison. This book is not to be taken lightly. This is not just a list of facts to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. Patrisse Khan-Cullors shares the joy and the pain that she has experienced, but there is more pain than most of us (white people) have ever known. Yet in the midst of this pain is such love and bravery and truth. The intentional family and community is beautiful, and I almost wish that I could know that for myself, but I dont know that I'm strong enough to endure what this community has endured. Every single white person needs to pre-order (or request from the library) this book. I don't care how much you think you know, or how much you deny the necessity of the black lives matter movement, I beg you to give this book a chance. I dare you to read it. I guarantee that it will make you uncomfortable. Sit in that discomfort and imagine it was you, your children, loved ones and community. What would you do? What would you want others to do?
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  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book yesterday morning in the mail, thinking that I would just take a peek inside before finishing my homework last night. Well, I didn't finish my homework. But I did finish this book, and while I'm not in any position to comment with authority on the Black Lives Matter movement (I'm blindingly white), I needed this book. After all, there are loads of misconceptions about what it means to grow up black—and female, and queer—in America, and no matter how far I've come I I received an ARC of this book yesterday morning in the mail, thinking that I would just take a peek inside before finishing my homework last night. Well, I didn't finish my homework. But I did finish this book, and while I'm not in any position to comment with authority on the Black Lives Matter movement (I'm blindingly white), I needed this book. After all, there are loads of misconceptions about what it means to grow up black—and female, and queer—in America, and no matter how far I've come I still feel as though I have a long way to go. Yes, I'm female and queer, but I am also a child of privilege. And Patrisse Khan-Cullors does a fantastic job helping her readers recognize such things. There's a time and a place to weaponize the language of resistance, and while that's not Khan-Cullors' central goal in this book, she does a fantastic job of elevating a whole chorus of voices—of both those who protest peacefully and those who are driven by circumstance to more aggressive attempts at reform—by naming them, recognizing their contributions, and welcoming them into her own narrative of self-evolution. This is a work of contextualization—Khan-Cullors' own contextualization within a world most of us can barely begin to imagine, a family shaped by systemic abuses of power, and a literature of protest—and the contextualization of the Black Lives Matter movement within an America which has seen a whole litany of civil rights protested, achieved, and often undone.Patrisse Khan-Cullors is strikingly, profoundly, even unmeritedly gracious. She calls out wrongdoing when she sees it, yes, but her righteous anger is tempered by an enormous capacity for empathy. This book, like much of her life's work as a community organizer, is a kindness in and of itself. We—whether the Republicans voters who elected a man who singles out black activists as "sons of bitches," the Democrats who failed to represent and advocate for our black, queer, and female fellow citizens, or those who recused themselves from the polling booth altogether—do not deserve forgiveness for upholding a broken system. But Khan-Cullors offers us a way forward anyway. To combat police violence and the unmerited (not to mention disproportional) search, seizure, and surveillance of black communities. To combat violence against queer (especially Trans) people of color. To combat our own worst selves, which have allowed this to become the norm.Khan-Cullors' memoirs may not be perfect, but they are necessary. And good. Damn good. The kind which embrace a good and actionable empathy we need in 2017.
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  • Stacie C
    January 1, 1970
    When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele We live in a world where we need to tell people that Black Lives Matter. It’s not meant to say other lives don’t matter, we simply need to address that Black lives do in fact matter and their deaths, murders and killings should be addressed, their lives should be whole and they shouldn’t be forced to live in fear. This book isn’t a discussion on whether you should believe or even appreciate that When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele We live in a world where we need to tell people that Black Lives Matter. It’s not meant to say other lives don’t matter, we simply need to address that Black lives do in fact matter and their deaths, murders and killings should be addressed, their lives should be whole and they shouldn’t be forced to live in fear. This book isn’t a discussion on whether you should believe or even appreciate that stance. This book is about the life of the one of the women who started the Black Lives Matter movement. This book is split into two parts. The first reveals Patrisse’s upbringing in a poor neighborhood in Los Angeles. She describes how she witnessed her brothers being approached by the police for doing nothing more than playing outside. She details her experiences going to different schools outside of her community in affluent neighborhoods during both middle school and high school and the affect that had on her upbringing. Patrisse also talks about her parents: the mother who was ostracized from her parents and her religion for having sex and becoming pregnant outside of marriage and her father who struggled with addiction most of his adult life. Patrisse also talks about being Queer, coming out and the family’s struggle with her brother’s mental illness and stints in jail. The second part of the book brings with it many of the topics introduced in the first part but it delves deeper into the organizer that Patrisse has become. Her personal experiences dealing with law enforcement and the criminal justice system with her father and brother’s cases helped drive her to make a change. She works with different organizations working directly with youth, and eventually is called to even more action after the killing of Trayvon Martin and the decision made to let his killer go free. Patrisse, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi would eventually begin the Black Lives Matter movement, an organization that would eventually have over 40 chapters across the globe. I was automatically drawn to this book after reading the title. I was well aware of the Black Lives Matter movement after the marches in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s death, but I feel like there was a lot of confusion and no credit was given to the original founders Patrisse, Alicia and Opal. It wasn’t until recently that I learned their names and heard some of their actual story. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read a memoir written by one of the founders. It centers the narrative of someone who throughout her life has been part of a world that was actively working against her and the people she had in her life, because she was black and poor. Khan-Cullors has created with this memoir a passionate, well written, documentation of the abuses she has personally experience. It is heartbreaking and sobering and grounded in reality. Not everyone will share these same experiences with her but that does not take away how valid each of these experiences are and how they need to be addressed. This is such a relevant book in this political climate. This is a book that will make people stop and think before they try to center themselves and utter All Lives Matter. This is a book that will force people to rethink the way the criminal justice system in the U.S. really works. This is a book that will make you question how people are taught to police and carry out their duties. This is a book that will make you think about mental illnesses, how they are discussed and treated throughout the U.S. And it will make you think about the roles of women and what it means to be Queer or Trans in this continual fight for change. Necessary, well thought out, emotional and direct. This is a book I highly recommend.
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  • Jesica DeHart
    January 1, 1970
    Read this book and commit the experience of reading it to memory. #blacklivesmatter is not just a hashtag or a movement but it is an anguished plea to stare reality in the face and acknowledge its existence.
  • N.
    January 1, 1970
    Memoirs can be painful to read, light-hearted, or a blend. When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors is of the "rip your heart out and stomp on it" variety because, oh my gosh, what this book says about how we treat people in America is absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking. Beginning with her childhood in the Los Angeles area, the author describes what it was like to grow up impoverished, hungry, black, constantly dogged by law enforcement, and without much parental guidance. Wi Memoirs can be painful to read, light-hearted, or a blend. When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors is of the "rip your heart out and stomp on it" variety because, oh my gosh, what this book says about how we treat people in America is absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking. Beginning with her childhood in the Los Angeles area, the author describes what it was like to grow up impoverished, hungry, black, constantly dogged by law enforcement, and without much parental guidance. With a mother who worked 2 or 3 jobs constantly just to get by and a father who became unreliable when he lost his job and was unable to find comparable-paying work, Patrisse Kahn-Cullors looked up to her big brothers. At an early age, the author became aware of how black people were targeted by police, treated differently in court, and how even the school system treated black children like potential criminals (something I was well aware of in my children's schools, where a poster listing crimes and their likely punishments hangs on the office walls of middle and high schools -- I tried unsuccessfully to get them removed). The author is bisexual (her preferred description is "Queer"), her eldest brother has a severe mental illness that took years to treat, and the entire family has been impacted by the targeting of blacks that began during the "War on Drugs," so she's got a lot of different topics to tackle, but everything in her background leads into how she became an activist at a young age and the various movements that she participated in before she and two other women founded the Black Lives Matter movement. What an eye-opening read. I had no idea the Black Lives Matter movement was a women's movement -- founded by women, led by women, with male participants but no real male leadership. The author expressed her frustration that the press has overlooked the fact that BLM is a women's movement and I found myself nodding. I would never have realized it, if not for this book. In addition to the attempt to bring awareness to the fact that black people are treated differently by our justice system, the author talked about other efforts -- some of which were experiencing some measurable success before the recent election of our 45th president -- such as the attempt to minimize the building of prisons and funnel the building funds into programs that positively impact impoverished communities and demilitarize police forces. I found her brother's challenge with severe mental illness particularly interesting because his experience illuminates a subject that's not talked about enough: the fact that police officers are either not trained to discern the difference between mental illness and deliberate violence or too focused on racial profiling, both of which lead to the imprisonment and/or deaths of many young men who are mentally ill (often due to trauma related to their poverty, being targeted by police, having parents who are imprisoned, etc.). From the author's experience, the mentally ill are not even treated once they're imprisoned. It took quite a few terrifying years of dealing with her brother's mental illness on their own and two imprisonments before the family finally had an official diagnosis, and even then it has been a constant challenge to find the right medical treatment and keep him on his medication. That alone would be enough to traumatize an entire family, much less all the other challenges they face.I spent a good portion of my reading time with tears in my eyes. Much of the work of the community activists Khan-Cullors leads has been undone in a matter of months, and this is acknowledged in the final chapter of the book. One can only hope that this memoir will help open a few more eyes to the fierce inequalities faced by black American citizens in America, every day.
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  • Brenda Ayala
    January 1, 1970
    Black Lives Matter will not be known as a terrorist group. When it makes it into the history books, it will be known as a movement to decrease prejudices and raise awareness of institutionalized racism.The author does a great job of balancing this book with its position as a memoir and a call to arms. It’s strong, effective, and incredibly important. It’s a well written book that hits all the important aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful writing from one of the founders of Black Lives Matter. Covering her childhood up through recent/current history, she clearly delineates the differences between growing up white and growing up black in a society which claims racism is dead. It's not. It's just evolved.Highly recommend especially to those, like me, raised in a much different environment.
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  • Tonstant Weader
    January 1, 1970
    When They Call You a Terrorist is the memoir of Patrisse Khan-Cullors, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter. She grew up in Los Angeles in a Black neighborhood that was subject to the same over-policing and criminalization of Blackness that has filled prisons across America. She writes about how she came to proclaim #BlackLivesMatter.It’s an example of the narrow-minded jealousy of racism that people interpret that to say “only Black lives matter” rather than “Black lives matter, too.” I When They Call You a Terrorist is the memoir of Patrisse Khan-Cullors, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter. She grew up in Los Angeles in a Black neighborhood that was subject to the same over-policing and criminalization of Blackness that has filled prisons across America. She writes about how she came to proclaim #BlackLivesMatter.It’s an example of the narrow-minded jealousy of racism that people interpret that to say “only Black lives matter” rather than “Black lives matter, too.” If that phrase offends you, you are trapped in the binary idea that if Black lives matter, it hurts you somehow. How can valuing any life hurt you?Khan-Cullors tells her story from childhood to adulthood to activism and it’s a difficult story to read. Growing up in a majority Black neighborhood, Khan-Cullors experienced policing far differently than White Americans. For White Americans, the police are not omnipresent. We generally only see them when we solicit their help when we feel threatened and in need of protection. They serve us, they protect us, so when they are criticized, we wonder what’s wrong with people.But, our reality is not the only one. We are not policed the same way Black people are policed. We won’t get arrested for waiting with friends at a bus stop because that won’t be seen as being part of a gang. Going to our mother’s house on Thanksgiving won’t be a crime as it is in the many “exclusion zones” created to criminalize Blackness. Our shirts, pants, shoes, and hoodies are not seen as criminal acts and yes, if someone is designated a gang member, they can be arrested for the clothes on their back. Stop and frisk was not directed at us. We don’t get pulled over for driving the wrong way when we pull out of a driveway as a friend of mine was. Our ten-year-old daughters are not driven to a quarry and interrogated by police and then left to walk home as my former supervisor’s daughter was. The adult Dylann Roof can shoot nine people, get arrested without injury, and treated to a burger while the child Tamir Rice was shot down in two seconds without police doing one thing to ascertain whether or not his toy gun was real. The injustices come in multitudes and Khan-Cullors provides a clear, unapologetic explanation of what it is like to grow up in a hostile occupied community, terrorized by police, and expected by a hostile nation to be grateful for it.I expected When They Call You a Terrorist will to be a moving, angering, heartbreaking memoir. I did not expect its beauty. There is a poetic heart at the center of this book. The language is beautiful and powerful. Her life story is emblematic of too many people in America, their dreams deferred by inadequate schools, their families broken by addiction and mental illness, their lives shortened by poor nutrition in educational, opportunity, and food deserts, circumscribed and alienated by an occupying force whose purpose is to herd them into prisons where they can provide cheap labor and never compete for power.And yet, this book is not bitter. Angry and impassioned, yes, but rich with love, compassion, and empathy. This is a book that will inspire you if you will only read it.When They Call You a Terrorist will be published January 16th. I received an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher through a Shelf Awareness drawing.When They Call You a Terrorist at St. Martin’s Press | MacmillanPatrisse Khan-Cullors on Twitter and her websiteAsha Bandele on Twitterhttps://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    This memoir hit close to home since I am close to the same age as Patrisse and grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. But, whereas her family was black and poor, my family was middle class and white. I did not have to fear the police or risk arrest for being a teenager. I did not have to watch my dad suffering through a drug addiction picked up in the Vietnam war because my dad, when he was in the army, was stationed in Alaska, not sent to combat. I was able to go to safe schools that, while not This memoir hit close to home since I am close to the same age as Patrisse and grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. But, whereas her family was black and poor, my family was middle class and white. I did not have to fear the police or risk arrest for being a teenager. I did not have to watch my dad suffering through a drug addiction picked up in the Vietnam war because my dad, when he was in the army, was stationed in Alaska, not sent to combat. I was able to go to safe schools that, while not fabulous, were good enough to prepare me for college without me having to bus in from a distance to get there. I have long felt that our society is unfair and unjust, but this book really put it into context the way so many little things (and not so little things) can compound on each other over time to lead to a lack of opportunities and an injustice that is so tangled and deep it feels impossible to escape or survive. This book is enlightening for anyone who wants to know more about the movement but, more importantly, it's necessary for anyone who thinks they "get it" and yet really doesn't understand what it means to be black in America and to understand, conversely, the privileges that come with being white in America. I am pleased I read this book and will be recommending it to my students, friends, and family.
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  • Morgan Tallman
    January 1, 1970
    While I didn't love the first half of this book -- the second half I could not put down. If you want a book that makes you think -- pick this one up. (On January 16, 2018 -- since it's not out yet!)
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