Author Damon Young's Black Survival Glossary


Damon Young is done explaining shit to white people.

“I feel like the ones who need to hear it aren’t listening,” says Young, the editor-in-chief of our colleagues Very Smart Brothas. His new memoir, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, is a testament to just how exhausting it is to be black in America.

The collection of essays covers more than 20 years of his life, including being a teen in Pittsburgh. “There might be certain terms, certain dialects, or certain colloquialisms that are unique to black Pittsburgh,” he says. “They’re inserted so I can tell my story the best way I possibly can.”

In the video above—that’s definitely not an explainer—Young talks about the power of language, breaks down the terms unique to his life, and shares why avoiding code-switching is a form of resistance.

Senior Producer: Jennifer Perry; Creative Producers: Santiago Garcia, Marvin Van Buren, Lisa Fischer

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