How do you learn to be a black man in America? For young black men today, it means coming of age during the presidency of Barack Obama. It means witnessing the deaths of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, and too many more. It means celebrating powerful moments of black self-determination for LeBron James, Dave Chappelle, and Frank Ocean.
In Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith chronicles his own personal and political education during these tumultuous years, describing his efforts to come into his own in a world that denies his humanity. Smith unapologetically upends reigning assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black manhood so that depression and anxiety aren't considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight. The questions Smith asks in this book are urgent - for him, for the martyrs and the tokens, and for the Trayvons who could have been and are still waiting.
©2016 Mychal Denzel Smith (P)2016 Recorded Books
I don't say awesome very often, but This book is Awsome!!! This young black author has his head in the right place!!! His book described his history via politics, sexuality and mental health of our Black Nation in a way that everyone can and needs to understand!!! As an Elementary school Teacher, I saw exactly what he describes!! Everyone, please take the time to submerge into this book!! Thank you Mr. Smith!!
Smith killed it!! I'm so impressed with his honesty and self awareness. The irony is that his analysis of sexism is going to be more persuasive because he is male. Overall the book is relevant, timely and thought provoking. Simply brilliant. Thank you Mr. Smith.
Within the text Smith unveiled the issues facing black America today from racism, sexism, mental illness, classism, homophobia, transgenders, drugs, survivors guilt, love and more. Bringing attention to more than just the obvious but digging deeper, trying to uncover the roots. It's a great read!!!
Senior high and college shapes author differently. Same for me. Author stand on his father's shoulder. Same for me. Even if I am a chinese in China.
Mychal Denzel Smith has an incredible ability to speak from his heart. Not only is he educated, but he uses that education to express his opinions and struggles on being a black man in America. Smith lets his writing flow naturally and it's rawness gives a much appreciated personality to his book. The narrarator, Kevin R. Free, does an excellent job bringing the personable writings to life. From his well placed pauses, to his sarcastic tones, to his solemn finishers, everything came together in a masterpiece.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Mychal Smith’s book is difficult to listen to for a white liberal; i.e. the difficulty is more because of what Smith sees than what he does not see. The necessary truth of what Smith sees is that being black, female, homosexual, or any color but white disadvantages citizens who live, work, and love in America. Smith correctly notes that Barrack Obama did not change that truth. But, for a liberal, Smith’s criticism of Obama is heart-rending.
Smith’s expectation is superhuman. No singularly elected and/or acclaimed person will unwind history’s discrimination. Obama and King are extraordinary human beings by any standard of measurement. That Obama is black and became the first black president of the United States proves being human is the best one can be. Martin Luther King’s “arc of justice” still bends toward freedom and equal opportunity for all; despite the world’s, let alone King’s, and Obama’s failings.
There are many incidents that Smith recognizes as the failure of white America to treat minorities fairly. At the same time, Smith is introspective in acknowledging some of his own human failings. He writes of his fears, his desire to be a great writer, and his earlier-life failure to understand how important women’s rights are in the black community. He writes of his father’s concern over his sexuality and how gender discrimination has some of the same hatred, lack of justice, and human failing as black discrimination.
Hope is not enough for black American’s suffering today. That is Mychal Smith’s message–too many blacks are being murdered; too many blacks are denied equal opportunity; too many blacks are jailed, and too many black families are broken. What Smith fails to fairly acknowledge is who is at fault. All of us share the blame. Human beings must recognize the humanity of all human beings. If evolution is not the answer, then human will (in a Nietzschean sense) must come to America’s aid.
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