You Can't Touch My Hair

You Can't Touch My Hair

And Other Things I Still Have to Explain

Book - 2016
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"Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities every day. Comedian Phoebe Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: shes been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the black friend," as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; shes been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isnt that... white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; shes been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page--and she's going to make you laugh as she's doing it. Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is "Queen. Bae. Jesus," to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, You Cant Touch My Hair examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise." -- Publisher's description
Publisher: New York, New York : Plume Book, [2016]
ISBN: 9780143129202
Branch Call Number: BIO Robinson, P 2016
Characteristics: 285 pages ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: You can not touch my hair


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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.

Jun 29, 2017

I really like reading about nerdy women - it makes me realize more and more that I'm not alone or weird. I appreciated a lot of the pop-culture references, though there were some I didn't get. I also enjoyed her insight into racism and her personal experiences of oppression.

Would DEFINITELY recommend reading this book for the geekery, humor, and for non-black who want to educate themselves more on the struggles of black women.

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.

MomoT Mar 09, 2017

Phoebe Robinson made a fan out of me within about three pages. She's wickedly funny, scathing and more than a little bit goofy while tackling pretty important issues like racism and sexism. I learned a lot about African American hair from this as well as what sexism looks like to a female comedian. I LOVED this book (even though I cannot fathom why she put The Edge at the top of her "which order I would have sex with the members of U2 in" list. The Edge. REALLY?). It's a humorous mixture of pop culture, social awareness and general badassery. Highly recommended.

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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Jan 10, 2017

As a white male, I feel the least I can do right now in this fraught political moment is try to understand other points of view (And, no I don't really care about understanding Trump voters.), particularly those of women and minorities. The last few years have seen a flood of books dealing with both and Phoebe Robinson's collection of essays can sit on the shelf with books like "Shrill," "Bad Feminist," and "Sex Object." Robinson, who hosts "2 Dope Queens" with Jessica Williams, deals mostly with race and gender in a way that is both funny and heartfelt. She's much younger than I am, so I don't always get her references or writing style, but it's a book that tackles important issues and gives you a much-needed perspective on these issues.

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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folake Aug 21, 2017

folake thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 17 and 24


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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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