You Can't Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain

You Can't Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain

Book - 2016
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Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that comedic fodder runs through her everyday life. And as a black woman in America, she asserts, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the nonsense you are handed every day. And Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years, not lest the people who ask her whether they can touch her hair. All. The. Time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page. As personal as it is political, You Can't Touch My Hair is an utterly modern essay collection: one that examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases.
Publisher: New York : Plume, 2016
ISBN: 9780143129202
Branch Call Number: B ROBINSON
Characteristics: xxxii, 285 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm


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Jul 20, 2018

An expressive collection of essays by writer and comic Phoebe Robinson that is at once hilarious and eye-opening. I enjoyed the pop culture references sprinkled throughout (I'd like to think I "got" most of them, too). Looking forward to sampling some of Robinson's other media.

Feb 18, 2018

I didn’t know about Phoebe Robinson before reading this book, but she hooked me right away. She loves 80s music, she is completely open about her feelings, and her sense of humor and mine match! Once I read this, I immediately subscribed to her podcast (2 Dope Queens), and if I had HBO I’d be watching her show.

Let’s face it, white folx are terrible to Black people. Robinson doesn’t downplay the awful racism she’s experienced over her life. But while I don’t believe it’s always true that you get through to people more by being nice than being direct (and I don’t think Robinson does either), the humor and kindness she has helps make the “Oh, crap, I’ve done that before!” wincing a little easier to bear. Robinson is speaking to people who want to be taught and understand Black friends can’t do all the work to get through to white people. She’s compassionate, but her willingness to speak clearly is extremely helpful.

She breaks down a lot of the things that white people don’t understand about Black life, from hair and moisturizer (“to keep from being ashy” - that finally makes sense to me!) to the ridiculous profiling of Black people in stores as shoplifters.

If you’re not sure if <i>So You Want To Talk About Race</i> is your book - Oluo is a lot more blunt than Robinson - this may be the book for you. And I highly recommend everything she’s done.

And, seriously, don’t ask to touch peoples’ hair. Really.

kelly_williams Jul 06, 2017

While fun, quirky, and informative, Ms. Robinson's book is hard to read. Every other word is a pop culture or other reference ("Such-and-such was as wet as the men's bathroom sink!" is unnecessary), which I'm sure would be much funnier on person than it is in print. She is well-informed, that much is true. I'll try this book again when an audiobook read by the author is produced.

LPL_WilliamO May 31, 2017

Listened to the audiobook on a recent road trip and laughed so much and learned a lot! Hilarious and informing, Phoebe doesn't shy away from the personal or political. Loved it dot com!

May 12, 2017

This book had a lot of great content, but the countless pop culture references and tangents made me skip ahead many, many times. I'll bet I missed a lot of great insightful stuff by doing so, this book needed better editing. I've listened to Phoebe's podcast, and it's easier to just wait for her to get back on track after a minute's sidetrack than to force myself through her ranking the hotness of the members of U2 (I cannot comprehend this, and thus cannot make this up) until she comes back to her point.

Feb 02, 2017

Robinson’s essays hit a range of tones, from mostly humourous to mostly serious. I read the book in print form, but I often found myself wondering if some parts of the book would have been better on the audio version, which Robinson performs. Her more serious essays hit home hard in print form, but delivery is a huge part of comedy. I listened to a couple episodes of 2 Dope Queens after I finished You Can’t Touch My Hair, and suddenly I could much better imagine how Robinson would deliver the material she had written. This might be less of a problem for people who are already familiar with Robinson’s comedy and then pick up her book, but this was my introduction to her. However some of the pieces are definitely best suited to print form, for example the second essay is about black hair in the media, and includes a lot of photos.
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LPL_MeredithW Oct 24, 2016

In this often riotously funny book of essays by comedian Phoebe Robinson (best known for the podcasts 2 Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys), the author writes about how race, gender, comedy, and pop culture intersect. Reading this book is like listening to your smartest, funniest friend tell you about her life; you want to hear more, even when the actual story is horrifying. Case in point: the standout essay “Uppity,” about the time a white director called Robinson “uppity” for asking for additional time to prepare for her scene, then claimed not to remember having said it when she called him on it. If comedic memoirs are up your alley, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. (ARC provided by Plume Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)


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Feb 02, 2017

Phoebe Robinson is a writer and stand-up comedian, as well as the co-host of the comedy podcast 2 Dope Queens with Jessica Williams. You Can’t Touch My Hair is a collection of humourous essays that draw on Robinson’s experiences as a black woman, including “How to Avoid Being the Black Friend,” and “Uppity,” an essay that explores coded language and white guilt. In a style replete with pop-culture references and internet slang, Robinson recounts her relationship with her hair, highlights black hair in the media over the past thirty years, and addresses some of the racism she experiences on a day-to-day basis.


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Feb 02, 2017

In fact, throughout the Obama years, there has been, at the very best, resistance to change, and at the very worst, a palpable regression in the way the country views and handles—or more accurately refuses to handle—race.


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