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For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color

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The founder of Latina Rebels’ “electrifying debut” (LA Times) arms women of color with the tools and knowledge they need to find success on their own terms   For generations, Brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of sexism, racism, and classism, often feeling alone in the struggle. By founding Latina Rebels, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez has created a commun The founder of Latina Rebels’ “electrifying debut” (LA Times) arms women of color with the tools and knowledge they need to find success on their own terms   For generations, Brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of sexism, racism, and classism, often feeling alone in the struggle. By founding Latina Rebels, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez has created a community to help women fight together. In For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, she offers wisdom and a liberating path forward for all women of color. She crafts powerful ways to address the challenges Brown girls face, from imposter syndrome to colorism. She empowers women to decolonize their worldview, and defy “universal” white narratives, by telling their own stories. Her book guides women of color toward a sense of pride and sisterhood and offers essential tools to energize a movement. May it spark a fire within you.


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The founder of Latina Rebels’ “electrifying debut” (LA Times) arms women of color with the tools and knowledge they need to find success on their own terms   For generations, Brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of sexism, racism, and classism, often feeling alone in the struggle. By founding Latina Rebels, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez has created a commun The founder of Latina Rebels’ “electrifying debut” (LA Times) arms women of color with the tools and knowledge they need to find success on their own terms   For generations, Brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of sexism, racism, and classism, often feeling alone in the struggle. By founding Latina Rebels, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez has created a community to help women fight together. In For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, she offers wisdom and a liberating path forward for all women of color. She crafts powerful ways to address the challenges Brown girls face, from imposter syndrome to colorism. She empowers women to decolonize their worldview, and defy “universal” white narratives, by telling their own stories. Her book guides women of color toward a sense of pride and sisterhood and offers essential tools to energize a movement. May it spark a fire within you.

30 review for For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarita

    I started this last night and it’s fucking brilliant. I wish I had this book in college/grad school. This is the book I always knew I needed but couldn’t find. Highly recommend. Para nuestra Latinx this book was written for you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Never in my life have I read a book that reflected such similar experiences to those that I have gone through. As a Latina daughter of immigrants, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez excellently captures my struggles and that of other Brown and Black women. She covers topics such as colorism, feminism, and societal values through beautiful and moving writing. I was blown away and truly recommend this eye-opening piece. Especially to my fellow women of color, this love letter powerfully arms us with t Never in my life have I read a book that reflected such similar experiences to those that I have gone through. As a Latina daughter of immigrants, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez excellently captures my struggles and that of other Brown and Black women. She covers topics such as colorism, feminism, and societal values through beautiful and moving writing. I was blown away and truly recommend this eye-opening piece. Especially to my fellow women of color, this love letter powerfully arms us with tools to maneuver life on our own terms. Thank you Net Galley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    “Remember who you are, and the rest will come.” For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez is a book, that everyone should read. I hesitated to pick this book up because I wasn’t sure if it’s where I, a white reader, belong. The last thing I wanted to do is claim a book that was not intended to target a white audience in the first place. This book is not an objective take on white supremacy or an analysation of racism and oppression of BIPOC – That’s exact “Remember who you are, and the rest will come.” For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez is a book, that everyone should read. I hesitated to pick this book up because I wasn’t sure if it’s where I, a white reader, belong. The last thing I wanted to do is claim a book that was not intended to target a white audience in the first place. This book is not an objective take on white supremacy or an analysation of racism and oppression of BIPOC – That’s exactly what makes it stand out. Divided into different chapters, the book breaks up major topics, such as decoloniality, toxic masculinity or the politics of respectability. In the process of reading, I became more and more aware of institutional racism and the ground that it’s built on. Prisca’s writing style is very declamatory and emphatic: to read of such painful experiences as hers is not easy but at the same time it’s reality and this book just shows one more time, that society has to face that reality. White people need to do more then just rely on their privileges; there are major problems that must be addressed and dealt with. While reading this book I learned a lot – probably more than I ever did in school or at university, regarding the above-mentioned topics. This book opened my eyes and I hope that, as Prisca herself mentions, for all BIPOC who feel helpless or alone, it can be a support and a guideline on how to demand their space in the places that they belong and on how to shine, even though white supremacy doesn’t want them to.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Vidal

    To be a working class BIPOC in academia in a PWI (predominantly white institution) is a wild ride. The posts from @latinrebels made me smile every day I was not sure if my reasons to pursuit graduate school were still valid, namely: "I am doing this because I am not supposed to be here." I was studying Comparative Literature in an elitist institution in the UK, and I was confronted by the first time with well-intentioned highly educated white people who would raise their hands to argue things su To be a working class BIPOC in academia in a PWI (predominantly white institution) is a wild ride. The posts from @latinrebels made me smile every day I was not sure if my reasons to pursuit graduate school were still valid, namely: "I am doing this because I am not supposed to be here." I was studying Comparative Literature in an elitist institution in the UK, and I was confronted by the first time with well-intentioned highly educated white people who would raise their hands to argue things such as: 'but postcolonialism is offensive for Europeans', and white professors would make jokes about 'postcolonial novels being the same boring story'. I am not new to white fragility. I had been racialised in Europe countless times, taken for a gipsy: 'gipsies are animals, they stink', said to shut the fuck up because my political opinions are ridiculous, told to educate myself, or even 'flattered' as it follows: 'you don't look Peruvian because Mayas and Incas are disgusting and ugly', etc. The typical daily casual racism where I just laugh because otherwise everything becomes too absurd: 'You can't get a tan', 'you don't need sunscreen', 'you don't need make up for your skin tone', 'you would be considered Black by many Scottish', etc... But in many ways I am new to the racism embedded within what I have always considered safe spaces (if compared with the wide big world). I don't think it is easy for white people to understand how exhausting it is to participate in this dance where Brown girls must proof to possess a fantastic sense of humour, which is measured with our own humiliation. I don't think upper middle class white people (the vast majority in academia) can even relate with the feelings of many doors shut to those of us who have neither money for internships nor a security net. It is not one or two years playing in an uneven field, it is a life of always having to pretend that yes, we are equals. And I am ok with that. Hey, we are after all privileged Brown people who got an education in countries where most people can't even dream about going to university. As Prisca puts it, our parents crawled so we could run. But what is really infuriating is the fact that white people can't stand feel excluded from the conversation, for once. They desperately try either proof that identity politics will only lead us to tribalism or try to focus on ridicule 'the oppressed Olympics' in order to make all oppression even. Say "you are a black woman but I am a queer white man, we are the same." And it is not. Prisca's talent is to put that anger to work in order to write a love letter to all Brown women who had to deal with colorism, toxic masculinity, abusive backgrounds, and the consequent feeling of not being good enough in spaces that are not meant for us, etc. She gives a fuck about 'hurting' white people's white feelings because this book is not addressed to them. It is not about convince white people of anything. This book is about giving tools to Brown girls so none of us is gaslighted on a daily basis, and especially not by our own friends and family. We are not locas or histéricas. I read it in a couple of days as my sharp heart needed to be reminded that my academic burnout shall pass, because after all, taking up space in the ivory tower is not a whim of my ego, it is a duty.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eduvigues Cruz

    Thank you for the words I didn’t know I needed. This is 100% a book for US, for the brown girls. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please please read this. ***thank you to seal press for sending this finished copy my way***

  6. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    This is legit a story/book for brown girls!! Through out the book, I realized how many times I kept saying “YES!” When the author talked about her lived experience and what I have gone through myself. The biggest part, or what I am taking from this book, is about the long hard journey we have to go through- but will have to continue to go walk. This book is the definition of “I see and hear you brown and black girl.” The only thing that I would have liked, was that this was written while I was g This is legit a story/book for brown girls!! Through out the book, I realized how many times I kept saying “YES!” When the author talked about her lived experience and what I have gone through myself. The biggest part, or what I am taking from this book, is about the long hard journey we have to go through- but will have to continue to go walk. This book is the definition of “I see and hear you brown and black girl.” The only thing that I would have liked, was that this was written while I was growing up and going through undergrad. To know that I wasn’t alone, that my group of friends were not alone.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ness (Vynexa)

    Thank you Perseus Books for providing me with an early copy of For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts When I requested this non-fiction novel, I had this preconceived idea that it was going to be a fluffy, heart warming read. I was incorrect. Instead, it was angry and demanded to be read and acknowledged. Which is exactly what I did. Reading this work of non-fiction was like sitting in front of a TV, hearing the sound of the VCR and the sound of electric current passing through, seeing Thank you Perseus Books for providing me with an early copy of For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts When I requested this non-fiction novel, I had this preconceived idea that it was going to be a fluffy, heart warming read. I was incorrect. Instead, it was angry and demanded to be read and acknowledged. Which is exactly what I did. Reading this work of non-fiction was like sitting in front of a TV, hearing the sound of the VCR and the sound of electric current passing through, seeing many parts of my life. I am a first generation Cuban American. My mother along with her siblings and mi Abuela came from Cuban to Miami when my mother was in her early teens. So it was also seeing what life was most likely for them when Miami wasn't really the Miami we know today. This book covers so much and there were many topics that I could not connect with because I had not lived through them, such as immigrating to the States, going to college or getting married. However, I felt seen in so many topics of having low expectations placed on me because I am Hispanic, I present as a woman, whenever I express how a person has hurt me especially when they're white. This book was just... a lot for me personally. It was a lot in the sense that I felt seen like I haven't before. I thank Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez for writing this and thank the publisher for deciding to put this out into the world. I'm sure that so many Brown Latinx folks and even other Brown people who aren't Latinx will find themselves and also find themselves self reflecting and doing more research like me. Will be buying a physical copy once the paperback is out and will annotate the hell out of that one, too. I typically do not rate non-fiction ,but it felt wrong leaving this one without 5 stars. ⭐️5 STARS⭐️

  8. 4 out of 5

    TKP

    WOW. What a book! Totally unapologetic about her background and this is exactly how I feel how books should be. The author is clear that she is an ethnic minority writing a book for ethnic minorities, so stuck she is to this that she uses the words that fit her mouth the best (Spanish) which she does not explain nor does she italicise. I love that about this. Those who wrote classics did not write them for black or brown people and I think it's high time books were written for us an audience and WOW. What a book! Totally unapologetic about her background and this is exactly how I feel how books should be. The author is clear that she is an ethnic minority writing a book for ethnic minorities, so stuck she is to this that she uses the words that fit her mouth the best (Spanish) which she does not explain nor does she italicise. I love that about this. Those who wrote classics did not write them for black or brown people and I think it's high time books were written for us an audience and for other people after. I absolutely loved this book, it spoke to me so much and I wish I had this book when I was in my formative years. I will be buying a hardcopy version of this book. 4/5

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sofia Mendoza

    For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tenders Hearts: A love letter to WOC is exactly that. The most intimate, loving, raw love letter to us brown girls in the U.S. who are caught at the intersection of race, class, and gender. Prisca is a brave and courageous genius for incorporating her life stories with sociopolitical concepts that are only offered to those in academia. She unapologetically exposes white fragility, US intervention in creating and maintaining conflict and poverty in other count For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tenders Hearts: A love letter to WOC is exactly that. The most intimate, loving, raw love letter to us brown girls in the U.S. who are caught at the intersection of race, class, and gender. Prisca is a brave and courageous genius for incorporating her life stories with sociopolitical concepts that are only offered to those in academia. She unapologetically exposes white fragility, US intervention in creating and maintaining conflict and poverty in other countries (countries like hers and where my parents are from). She compassionately admits to her own perpetuation of white supremacy with a self awareness that only comes by through acknowledging and working through her own traumas. With a lump in my throat (my body’s signal for something that desperately needs to be said) I said to my husband, “can you imagine all the liberated brown girls and women and how they will shape the world? Can you imagine our daughter growing up with this liberation?” Prisca is a brilliant author, writer, and storyteller. Her words are precise and piercing as she writes through her wounds and delivers through the most tender parts of her hearts and existence. It’s no surprise that the parts of the book that had the most impact on me were the Author’s note (“Dear brown girl”) that had me in tears within the first few lines, and in her conclusion where she spoke of desahogandonos, letting it go - a literal undrowning. Her call to action is that of self-preservation in the service of our self-love, healing and commitment to the work. And I accept wholeheartedly. Gracias por tu sabiduria, medicina, courage, and words Prisca. Gracias por desahogarte primero.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karla Cruze-Silva

    Have you ever read something that spoke to your soul? That made you feel seen? That made you feel validated? That made you think, “fuuuuuck, me too.” Well this was the book that made me feel all those things plus so much more. I laugh, I cried, I paused. This book has made me reflect on my own journey, especially in academia. This book covers a variety of topics such as voluntourism, colorism, intersectionality, imposter syndrome, and much more. For too long, brown girls have dealt with racism, Have you ever read something that spoke to your soul? That made you feel seen? That made you feel validated? That made you think, “fuuuuuck, me too.” Well this was the book that made me feel all those things plus so much more. I laugh, I cried, I paused. This book has made me reflect on my own journey, especially in academia. This book covers a variety of topics such as voluntourism, colorism, intersectionality, imposter syndrome, and much more. For too long, brown girls have dealt with racism, sexism, all the isms. This book tells brown girls that we are seen, that our experiences are valid, that we are knowledge holder, and that the US system will do everything in its power to bring us down. BUT we have power and collectively we can work to dismantle the oppressive systems. It won’t be easy but we can fight, together. Gracias Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez (@priscadorcas ) 💜. This love letter is powerful. Gracias por compartir tus experiences with us. Gracias por recordarnos que rest is necessary y que siempre hay que luchar.

  11. 5 out of 5

    CR

    This was a wonderful memoir that is for our time. This book is so important and was such an easy read that I think all readers should pick it up. This book brings the story to life, about fears, hopes, and more for many brown girls, POC. This story had a great voice.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amber Williams

    I love the rawness that Prisca provided in this. It’s something every woman of color should read. “Adulthood as a woman of color required that I harden myself and keep my heart shielded.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

    Spanish is also the language of oppression, and I am aware of that reality constantly. When I hear other Spanish speakers express frustration toward US-born Latinx people who do not speak Spanish, that rings especially true. We forget that we were force-fed Spanish by Spanish people, Europeans. Spanish is the tangible reality of our colonization. Conversely, Spanish is also a language of liberation, because what our countries have individually done with it is artful... We have taken this thing th Spanish is also the language of oppression, and I am aware of that reality constantly. When I hear other Spanish speakers express frustration toward US-born Latinx people who do not speak Spanish, that rings especially true. We forget that we were force-fed Spanish by Spanish people, Europeans. Spanish is the tangible reality of our colonization. Conversely, Spanish is also a language of liberation, because what our countries have individually done with it is artful... We have taken this thing that was imposed on so many of us, and we have transformed it into a beautiful expression of survival. When you learn to dream and think in both languages, when your migration has scripted two languages into your essence, you learn to feel safest with those who can speak both fluently. Those people get me. They understand what it means to translate complicated documents for their Spanish-speaking parents, abuelxs, and tixs. They understand what it means to grow up too quickly because you were reading court summons, filling out government aid documents, or just hearing an English-speaking doctor talk about you mami like she deserved whatever illness she came in with due to her lack of English comprehension. Learning to take blows for your parents, and learning not to translate the ugliness that comes with language hierarchies, means you cannot pretend those hierarchies don't exist. Bilingual people understand that English-only speakers never had to unlearn their native language, never had to have their cultura taken from them. This is a book I wish I had in my formative years. Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez is a brown girl writing to and for brown girls, and she clearly states her audience at the beginning of this book. She is completely unapologetic about who she is, where she comes from, and her personal experiences. Her writing style is raw and poignant and she seamlessly weaves personal stories with difficult topics such as colorism, toxic masculinity, white fragility, etc., and while her stories may not be universal, even within the Latinx community, what she says rings true for many brown girls. As a US-born Latina, I cannot relate to the author's (or my family's) migrant experience. I did not struggle with adapting and learning English because I immediately learned it alongside Spanish, and even know it better because I had a formal education in it. I was lucky enough to grew up in a community surrounded by Latinxs, many of which, including myself, were encouraged to seek higher education. Like the author, however, I was the first in my family to go to college and then grad school, but even with all that encouragement, I still had moments when I felt out of place in the world of academia and still occasionally experience them in my workplace. I am also not new to microagressions and white fragility where white people feel the need to immediately defend themselves and blame me for taking their offense comments "the wrong way." Personally, I have always been proud of my heritage and never shied away from it, but I'd be lying if I said I've never toned myself down to fit in because I don't want to come off as too much. Mostly it's something I've done subconsciously in new classes in college or new jobs because I am often one of a few POC. It's done in the ways I dress and accessorize my body or how articulate I am when I speak. This book validated my thoughts and experiences in ways I have only recently been able to vocalize. It arms us with tools and language we need to go through life on our own terms. Thankfully, being unapologetically ourselves is something I see more and more Latinas doing and it warms my heart.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Divya

    This series of essays, written by the woman behind Latina Rebels had me in my feelings. Truly therapeutic reading for brown girls. I really appreciated how the author states right from the beginning that this is her target audience so if anyone reading this doesn't identify and feels some type of way about it, then it's not for them. Some of the little details, like the shame that comes from body hair policing and the transformative power of red lipstick sped past the sharp edges and hit me direc This series of essays, written by the woman behind Latina Rebels had me in my feelings. Truly therapeutic reading for brown girls. I really appreciated how the author states right from the beginning that this is her target audience so if anyone reading this doesn't identify and feels some type of way about it, then it's not for them. Some of the little details, like the shame that comes from body hair policing and the transformative power of red lipstick sped past the sharp edges and hit me directly in the most tender parts of my heart. While this book has very unapologetically been written specifically for brown women, I have been recommending it to everyone who has an interest in expanding their understanding of intersectionality. Like the author, I find that academia doesn't have all the words for expressing these nuanced experiences, and I think we can all benefit from reading this book, which is grounded in the author's lived experiences.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jojo

    WOW! I didn’t think it was possible to relate to a book so much. Prisca talks about things that I can’t imagine saying out loud out of fear of what people might think. Everyone should read this book. It’s full of what it means to be a Non-Black Woman of Color. An extra hit closer to home was the fact that we are from the same country with similar backgrounds.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I'm a 44 year old brown girl. This book is absolutely a love letter to all of us. Prisca is the voice of so many of us and this is our story. Thank you, Prisca. What an incredible gift you've given us all. I'm a 44 year old brown girl. This book is absolutely a love letter to all of us. Prisca is the voice of so many of us and this is our story. Thank you, Prisca. What an incredible gift you've given us all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I did not like this book. As a Latina female I could not relate to the author. Although I shared some of her personal experiences of discrimination in my youth I did not let it define who I was. I was also lucky my Father and Mother were highly educated people whose expectations were that college was the only way to be self sufficient. I am proud of my heritage and where I came from. I never let anyone tell me I can’t or won’t succeed because my skin is brown. Rating 2 out of 5

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    Borrowed this on a whim from the library since it was still Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month and thought it would be a good read. I don't know much about the author, the book, etc. but it seemed like it would be a good read, not just for the month but for a change of pace and self-care. Part manifesto, part commentary, part analysis, etc., the author talks about of the many many issues that Latina (and other WOC) face from racism to colorism to sexism and misogyny to classism and more. It's a mix o Borrowed this on a whim from the library since it was still Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month and thought it would be a good read. I don't know much about the author, the book, etc. but it seemed like it would be a good read, not just for the month but for a change of pace and self-care. Part manifesto, part commentary, part analysis, etc., the author talks about of the many many issues that Latina (and other WOC) face from racism to colorism to sexism and misogyny to classism and more. It's a mix of her experiences, thoughts, analysis, history, etc. Sometimes some of it really resonated, sometimes it's really more of a stream of consciousness that isn't really clear on what the aim or goal is but rather the author just talking. It's definitely not for everyone. That's about it. This wasn't for me. I couldn't identify with a lot of what she wrote about (and that's okay!) but what bothered me more was what felt like a jumbled mix of thoughts. These are not easy conversations or issues to talk about, which might be part of it but I also did not really understand what the author was trying to get across. That said, there are plenty of people who felt it worked for them and I do think it's a good book on hand. I would imagine it'd be a great book to have at a high school library (could some of the material be a little too much for the high school set? Maybe I'd lean towards having it available than not). Borrowed from the regular library and that was best for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    avantika

    This is a beautifully written and informative book. I cried quite a few times while reading. 5/5. Full review to come.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ale'Ta Turner

    I truly enjoyed reading For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez. Hearing Prisca's perspective and personal story was powerful and provoking. I found myself nodding my head in agreement and sitting in silence with her heartfelt words that touched the depths of my soul. Thank you Prisca for your vulnerability and powerful narrative. I truly enjoyed reading For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez. Hearing Prisca's perspective and personal story was powerful and provoking. I found myself nodding my head in agreement and sitting in silence with her heartfelt words that touched the depths of my soul. Thank you Prisca for your vulnerability and powerful narrative.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "I had no one around me to acknowledge my struggle with Americanness. As an immigrant, I was constantly reminded that I did not belong and I felt like I was always fighting America. America was like the abusive girlfriend: she said she was here to provide opportunities across the board, but on the ground and in my life, everything felt harder to accomplish. When I failed at becoming the American Dream, I was blamed for not working hard enough. America was never America to me, because America was "I had no one around me to acknowledge my struggle with Americanness. As an immigrant, I was constantly reminded that I did not belong and I felt like I was always fighting America. America was like the abusive girlfriend: she said she was here to provide opportunities across the board, but on the ground and in my life, everything felt harder to accomplish. When I failed at becoming the American Dream, I was blamed for not working hard enough. America was never America to me, because America was never the America she said she was." "My graduate program taught me life-changing terminology that finally freed my worldview from internalized sexism, classism, racism, ableism, xenophobia, and so on. I needed the lnowledge, but the exchange almost killed me. I suffered tremendously because I hated how I was seen and treated in those spaces." "I do not think that we should be required to give up our dignity in order to access life-changing knowledge. No one should have to prove to the privileged that you are one of the "good" Brown people. With this book I am attempting to bring this access to you, without having to endure racist standardized testing, prohibitive tution, the "universal" dead-white-men canon, and the dominating white gaze." "When I say that I am Brown, I am referring to a slew of experiences that marked me, kept my head low, made me apologize, convinced me to wear colored contacts-the list goes on. When I say that I am Brown, I am standing in the pain and disowning it." "My oppression and subjugation are not in competition with Black and Indigenous people. Rather, I hope to fight alongside these communities." "Liberation starts with knowledge. And it takes painful work. Freedom is not destination; it is a communal journey. This book is for you, by someone like you. Through storytelling. I hope to give give you more tools for your own liberation." "The current state of so-called underdeveloped countries is the result of greed and exploitation from developed countries. The grief, hunger, and horrors that people in the Global South face is directly related to the abundance of food, happiness, and comfort that these voluntourists have back home." "Generational trauma is really at the core of my anger toward voluntourism, colonialism, and American interventions. American interventions are accepted facts that are historically supported, the United States has interfered and actively participated in the demise of what Donald Trump referred to as "shithole countries." "To understand voluntourism you have to understand the legacy of outside interference on generations of Indigenous and Black folks. Let's start with catastrophic genocide and forced Christianization in Latin America by visitors who called themselves pioneers, explorers, conquerors, priests, and Christians." "A tree cannot live without roots, and neither can many people." "The Americna often install heads of state in the countries they are exploiting, because that is how an empire continues its reign. To the United States, this is a basic business transaction. But those business transactions forever changed my country and numerous countries across the globe." "The white people I met there were well-meaning, well-read liberal folks who happened to know all the ins and outs of racism and colonialism, but somehow positioned those problems outside of themselves rather than anything ownership of them. They did not understand themselves to be part of the problem, and they did not see themselves as benefitting from these systems of oppressions. Many saw themselves as strictly allies." "I realized we had little in common because they saw themselves as saviors while I was seen as someone who needed to be saved. I realized in that instant that we were not friends, and that I would forever be their token Brown friend. I was just there to fill a role in legitimizing their allyship." "I live with my eyes wide open, no veil coverin them and no admiration for America despite the nationalist propaganda that is prevalent always but especially during election time. I have fallen in love with my people now that I know what we have survived to be alive today. I have healed through knowing, and by knowing I can move toward possible solutions. I am no longer stuck in the trauma and the confusion that trauma creates. Rather, I have learned to exist and resist. I work hard, on a daily basis, to find joy despite everything that we made to take that joy away." "After completing graduating school, I returned home. I was experiencing a lot of the trauma that comes with existing as a nonwhite person in predominantely white spaces." "Coming back home was terrifying, but I had no real job prospects at that point. Nobody tells working-class students of color that our reality will not change much even after getting multiple fancy degrees. No one mentions in the "stay in school" propaganda that even when we have our education, the assumption of our inferiority persists. No one told me I had been fooled into believing in a system that was fundamentally designed to destroy me." "Adulthood as a woman of color required that I harden myself and keep my heart shielded. When I mourn, I seek solace innature: I applied for jobs while sitting on a towel on Miami Beach, and it was there that I wrote often." "Colorism is a child of racism, and both are strategic constructions meant to give whiteness superiority over all other racial identities." "In this day and age, it is common to hear a liberal white person speak proudly about traces of diverse racial heritage, as discovered through commercial DNS tests. There is this fixation today with being more than just white. As if waves of Europeans immigrants who were reviled as nonwhite-the Irish, the Italians, the Polish-hadn't yearned over generations to become just white. As if their ancestors did not work tirelessly to contribute to the national identity of whiteness by erasing their cultures and differences." "...I chose to ignore obvious obstacles like classism and anti-immigrant chatter; dreaming while under attack was most likely a survival skill that I picked up..." "I understood in high school that other people did not see potential in me, but somehow I saw potential within me. Even when I was able to do things that were firsts for my family line and ancestors, I had little doubt internally in my own ability to do well. There was a spark within me that was probably naivete, but also some willpower that I was able to harness." "Performing well professionally for BIPOC requires oversoming low expectations; if you do well, white peers now believe you are an exception to a cultural rule." "Why not try graduate school?" ina flippant way that I can only decribe as Elle Woods-like. I felt so reassured and valued, through representation and grades, that I managed to somehow see a place for myself within academia. Even when I did not really know what grad school emtailed and who was there guarding the entrance." "I did not score well on my GRE, because standardized tests are racist, classist, ableist, and designed to weed out those who do not belong inside the pristine walls of academia. Still, I was able to find a program that knew those flaws in standardized testing, and I was admitted into an elite graduate institution: Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee." "In my attempt to assert my worth, I was ridiculed. There was a lack of understanding from my peers in what it meant to be the first in my family to achieve this level of academic success, and a lack of understanding of what it meant to enter elite spaces that signal your "otherness" often." "I had been taught, and had believed in, things like perfectionism and meritocracy-teachings that made me believe there was only one right way to do things, and that hard work paid off. None of that served me when I was trying my hardest and doing my damnedest and still could not compete in this academic environment." "When I had once felt invincible, I began to want to be small, to be invisible. It felt like I was in an abusive relationship with an institution, seeking its validation and only receiving criticism, and none of that made sense to me." "I felt that I couldn't be good enough, and the white gaze felt suffocating. Waiting for validation from white people was sucking my ability to value myself outside of their gaze." "American society dictates that whiteness, and proximity to whitness, was always going to be the measure of success." "We rarely have control of the ways imposter syndrome traps people of color. To assimilate requires erasing your ethnicity; you have to perform in a way that puts white people at ease, to the point where you earn honorary whiteness: "You're not like the others." "What does it mean to live with imposter syndrome? For me it is about armament. Living in a city that is dominated by whiteness and white people means that whenever I step outside the safety of my own home, I am wearing armor. Armor can take many forms, and can change depending on where you are and where you are going on any given day." "The subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle racism disguised as well-intentioned curiosity has consistently left me feeling disarmed, vulnerable, and exposed." "Racism comes from a place of willful ignorance. I am not one who us willing to tirelessly educate white people on how to approach me." "Most people are not able to work so hard that they are no longer poor. Some of the hardest working people I know were born poor and will die poor. It's imprtant to accept that hoping to be the exception is not a solution. Radicalization can only occur after realizing that we are cogs in a large and powerful machine." "I believed in a meritocracy, deeply, and then I did not believe in it. When I finally stopped believing in it, I found my way back home." "Systemic oppression and internalized racism keep many of us down. So, to the ones who somehow make it out: it is our duty to become cheerleaders and advocates for those who are struggling." "What I learned was that if I was an AP student, the school would place a higher value on my Brown immigrant body, and they would invest in my future. The gatekeeper knew this and saw me as unworthy." "The gatekeepers in a society just get more heartless and harder to outsmart..." "Resegregating schools between AP students and regular students was a way to separate by class and race. This system benefits white, wealthy parents because their kids are isolated in a bubble of privilege, and it benefits schools because they get more funding. The only people who lose are the "regular" children, whose potential will never be tapped because their parents are poor, immigrant, Brown, or Black. They lose because they cannot outsmart a system meant to reward their docility and punish any resistance." "Just like BIPOC are overrepresented at the poverty line, we are underrepresented in academia-for some reasons. I finally understood that it did not take ability and hard work to be where I was. No gatekeeper had decided to create a path for sucess for people like me; in fact, I was expected to fail. Since institutional support would never materialize, that meant I had to innovate my own strategies for succeeding." "Since a bachelor's degree had zero impact on my marketability for a job, I somehow believed that a master's degree would give me access to better-paying jobs. I had to make it, and I had to find new strategies." "The people who make it to these institutions to teach are often so disconnected from the experiences of working-poor people of color that they simply cannot help, because they cannot even fathom the full extent of systemic inequality in this country. They cannot fix what they cannot understand, and in their ignorance they maintain those gates as strong and unmovable." "Remember that we have been outshinning and outliving their low expectations for some time now. And now, we are entering these spaces en masse and showing them what all of this diaspora excellence looks like. It is their strategy to make us forget. It is their strategy to keep us at bay, keep us quiet. They will use every tool in their gatekeeper fanny pack to stop us." "I have to be soft and kind and approachable, because for Black and Brown people to succeed, to play the game, to make it, we need to make white people feel "comfortable" around us. White people tend to feel most comfortable around people who look like them, who dress like them, who sound like them-people they can recognize." "White people will go out of their way to claim themselves as victims, as if the entire system is not built for their benefit." "Respectability politics" was coined by a Black woman, Evelyn Higginbotham, and it was intended to describe the experiences of Black women and a strategy they have adopted to subvert stereotypes. My resistance to respectability politics is not a criticism of what has been a survival skill; rather, it is how I have chosen to move through the world, consequences and all, as a non-Black person of color." "Not only am I a woman of color experiencing misogyny through the demands of respectability, I am also bilingual, which adds another layer. Code-switching, which is often required to gain respectability, has a deep history that includes bilingual people who have had to switch between their two languages." "Everone has to perform for white audiences, makking white, middle-class status and privilege the norm, even if that is not the lived experiences of most Americans." "When you learn to dream and think in both languages, when your migration haas scripted two languages into your essence, you learn to feel safest with those who can speak both fluently." "White people's cpmfort levels seem to be the priority for everyone, especially for themselves. And their discomfort means that we must, in turn, alter ourselves in order to enter their spaces-and they have claimed a lot of spaces." "I lacked the ability to adjust my presentation to accommodate the white gaze, because I was not raised around white people. So, after immigrating here, I had to learn to not scare white people." "When we ignore the insistent requests to get rid of any signs of our migration, we are pushed aside. But you see, this entire side of the world belonged to our ancestors before yours even arrived, so although we can speak your forced languages, we will speak them however we please. You're on stolen land anyway." "I do not smile at white people. I do not let them think I am welcoming to anything, well-intentioned or otherwise. Too often, my humanity is a matter they believe is up to their judgment, and I have learned to not get affirmed by them. I affirm myself." "Traveling back home is a luxury that many of us aspire toward. But some of us have to make concessions to take this type of healing journey." "They were just intellectuals doing what intellectuals do, and that is ignore context, emotions, and pain and continue talking just to hear themselves talk. Talking in circles about everything and nothing, all at once-that is masculine intellectualism. I am afraid to say I disappointed them, but I will not put myself into situations that trigger my own trauma for anyone's entertainment, and so I did not engage and did not cooperate." "When I first encounter any authority figure, I'm still visibly insecure. I tend to assume that I bring nothing to the table. I get flooded with childhood memories, and I have to work hard to stay focused and present." "In my own tragedy, I had to find ways to honor my strengths and my ability to take care of myself, despite the monster under my bed." "This is for all the girls who have had to love themselves despite everyone telling them otherwise." "Black, Indigenous, and women of color do not have the option to separate their oppression due to racism from oppression due to sexism; they experience both, from all communities." "Sometimes I think I just assumed that displacment was always going to be my reality due to my migration. I had to learn to carve spaces for myself by reading the work of Black, Indigenous, and women of color. I first had to learn about intersectionality before I could even gein to do that work." "White people taught me about my otherness, and then I challenged them with it-because white people will still claim colorblindness to avoid admitting their own privileges." "If you cannot articulate all the ways society has erased you, you begin to think your voice is being ignored because you did something wrong. BIPOC often find ourselves invalidating our own experiences and memories." "You cannot force someone to see your humanity after they have already decided you are inferior." "As a non-Black women of color, it is up to me to reject anti-Blackness even when I can stand to benefit from it. I remind myself constantly that no matter how enticing whiteness can seem, and how much safety can be promised through proximity to whiteness, those allures are all an illusion, and history has shown that time and time again." "In the United States, People like to think that because you are on their conquered land, they can take your name and make it fit into their language." "But I run. I run from my own good. I run and carry the women in my line in my heart, even as they stand in shock at my behavior. I run for me and for them, and for all the women who were taught to stay. I had to unlearn "staying," and learned to run." "Academics have mastered the art of saying enough big words to justify some pretty heinous things." "I realize now that white fragility means that it is not just that white people's feelings must constantly be considered (when our feelings never are). In order to avoid a white person's meltdown and cries of victimization, the only solution is to accommodate their entitlement to always be centered." "I have this survival instinct to make myself small when I feel unsafe." "The thing about tolerating racism is that when I am done tolerating racism, any small infraction will carry all the other instances when I resented my own silence and complicity." "I am not comfortable in rooms that are predominantly white, because white people can be racist and the only acceptable response is to laugh it off and hide my humiliation." "I am mi mami's revolution, I am the dreams she dreamed, and I am the possibilities she spoke into my Brown body." "Some of us have to play this game of life with no cards, and surviving is the goal, not winning. The game was rigged to begin with." "Colonization is about nation-states who dominate, kill, and oppress people to gain economic growth and power."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Servin

    I so badly wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t. As a Latina female, I really could not relate to the author. Although I share some of her personal experiences, I’ve always been proud of my heritage and where I come from. I never let the color of my skin define my success. It’s a memoir that has a tone of harshness and anger when reading it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brown Girl Bookshelf

    "For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts" is a beautiful book about Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez's experience as a Latinx woman. What differentiates this book from others I've read on identity, feminism, and racism is its subjective approach to address white fragility, intersectionality, impostor syndrome, and the oppression of BIWOC. Rodriguez’s book features deeply personal anecdotes on topics like code-switching and healthcare equity through the lens of a Brown person, intended t "For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts" is a beautiful book about Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez's experience as a Latinx woman. What differentiates this book from others I've read on identity, feminism, and racism is its subjective approach to address white fragility, intersectionality, impostor syndrome, and the oppression of BIWOC. Rodriguez’s book features deeply personal anecdotes on topics like code-switching and healthcare equity through the lens of a Brown person, intended to uplift Brown women like her. Rodriguez flips the script on international aid trips that are often seen as inspirational. She describes being a child in Nicaragua when white volunteers took photos of her without her permission, an experience she believes is dehumanizing and performative voluntourism. Similarly, scholarship programs that send Americans abroad, Rodriguez argues, can reward these white savior complexes. Some readers may search for a call to action or for solutions to the situations Rodriguez outlines—but I would urge you to consider that this is not the responsibility of Brown women to formulate. Many may not relate to or even agree with Rodriguez's writing. She has a message for them, too. If the stories are those you cannot understand, then just know this book was not written with you in mind. As a Brown girl, this felt similar to reading a love letter from a friend. I felt supported, empowered, and experienced a deep sense of belonging.

  24. 4 out of 5

    virgo_reads

    'Brown Girl, this world does not want to see you survive it, so defy it and dare to thrive' This book was stunningly brilliant. Never have I read a book that so perfectly encapsulates the experiences and feelings of being a POC in a Westernised world. Prisca is an Indigenous WOC born in Managua, Nicaragua. She describes her life experiences after immigrating to the US and how at first she felt she had to fit into the dominant white gaze. It was so great to find a book that focuses on brown people 'Brown Girl, this world does not want to see you survive it, so defy it and dare to thrive' This book was stunningly brilliant. Never have I read a book that so perfectly encapsulates the experiences and feelings of being a POC in a Westernised world. Prisca is an Indigenous WOC born in Managua, Nicaragua. She describes her life experiences after immigrating to the US and how at first she felt she had to fit into the dominant white gaze. It was so great to find a book that focuses on brown people without discounting the experiences of black people. From discussing her lived experiences of academia, racism, sexualising, familial relationships and abuse, the white male gaze and decoloniality, Prisca shifts her readers persepctive to bring to light the injustices and harmful narratives formed by white people about BIPOC people. I really encourage you to read this, as you will learn a lot about marginalised communities and the society we live in. ~ thanks to NG for the chance to read this ARC

  25. 5 out of 5

    Saoirse

    This is a wonderful beginner book for people, specifically women, of color on social justice and structural discrimination. It is accessible and easy to understand. I would strongly recommend it to teenagers or young adults, especially. My only gripe with this book is that the author dismisses critical race theory (and theoretical work in general) as inaccessible and difficult to understand. She does have a point but that doesn't mean those theories don't have value. Their difficulty is due to t This is a wonderful beginner book for people, specifically women, of color on social justice and structural discrimination. It is accessible and easy to understand. I would strongly recommend it to teenagers or young adults, especially. My only gripe with this book is that the author dismisses critical race theory (and theoretical work in general) as inaccessible and difficult to understand. She does have a point but that doesn't mean those theories don't have value. Their difficulty is due to their specificity and complexity. And actually, that inaccessibility is the gap this book fills - its an introductory text which I was hoping would better prepare its readers to engage with social justice thinking on a deeper, more involved level. But it dismisses the people who are doing that thinking as "inaccessible." Overall, its a well-written book with some amazing ideas. I would give it to many teenagers in my circle. But I would also pair it with a "further reading" list.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Amazing book honestly. It made think about my existence, my relationships, how I should stand up for myself and just how my life is. Chapter 9 was extremely hard for me because of how close it hit home. I had to sit on that chapter until I found the words and means to even try to fix this problem within my life. There is still a long way to go with it, but it definitely helped me start with figuring out the values I hold and how to combat white fragility. Definitely suited more towards Indigenous Amazing book honestly. It made think about my existence, my relationships, how I should stand up for myself and just how my life is. Chapter 9 was extremely hard for me because of how close it hit home. I had to sit on that chapter until I found the words and means to even try to fix this problem within my life. There is still a long way to go with it, but it definitely helped me start with figuring out the values I hold and how to combat white fragility. Definitely suited more towards Indigenous and Women of color not necessarily Black women because there is a missing element for what we experience but it will still come close to home so even a good read. If non-poc decide to read, they have to understand that its not an attack towards them individually and try to learn from what people tell you. Don't come in nor ever read this being defensive or you'll miss the entire point of the text.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lola Hernandez

    Full disclaimer: I haven’t finished reading this book yet, but I’m a huge fan of Prisca’s work. What she does in this book is incredible. She gives language to the everyday micro (and macro) aggressions Brown girls feel in their families, communities, and this country. She lets us know we are not alone and what we feel matters. Most importantly, what we do about those feelings matters. She empowers us with her words. This is a Brown girl’s manifesto. A pathway for other Brown girls to write their Full disclaimer: I haven’t finished reading this book yet, but I’m a huge fan of Prisca’s work. What she does in this book is incredible. She gives language to the everyday micro (and macro) aggressions Brown girls feel in their families, communities, and this country. She lets us know we are not alone and what we feel matters. Most importantly, what we do about those feelings matters. She empowers us with her words. This is a Brown girl’s manifesto. A pathway for other Brown girls to write their own manifestos. She lights the spark within us that this country tries to extinguish everyday and she fans the flame. Even though I’m only half way through, I love this book so much. They are no barriers with weird academic language, no gatekeeping with terms and definitions only available to college students. She takes intersectional feminism and makes it accessible to everyone, especially those who need it most.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monica Chenier

    This is DEFINITELY a Top 5 book of the year for me. Highly recommend, 5/5. Especially if you are a BIWOC. It was an interesting combo of autobiography and discussions/analysis of the "-isms." Each of the 10 chapters is about a topic like "colorism" or "white fragility" or "the male gaze" and then the author talks about her experiences with each and more broadly how they impact BIWOC. Her writing style is so intimate and vulnerable with such clear and gorgeous prose. She mentions that she wants t This is DEFINITELY a Top 5 book of the year for me. Highly recommend, 5/5. Especially if you are a BIWOC. It was an interesting combo of autobiography and discussions/analysis of the "-isms." Each of the 10 chapters is about a topic like "colorism" or "white fragility" or "the male gaze" and then the author talks about her experiences with each and more broadly how they impact BIWOC. Her writing style is so intimate and vulnerable with such clear and gorgeous prose. She mentions that she wants to make these topics and these discussions accessible to everyone, outside of the gatekeeping of academia so it's written in a very straightforward manner and so powerful as a result. Truly fantastic, can't say enough postitive things about this book. I want to gift this book to all my pals.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    I waited and waited for this book as soon as the author announced on her Instagram that it was happening. I pre-ordered it and waited on pins and needles. I found myself nodding yes and talking out loud to my book, sharing my reactions to such similarities in our experiences. My heart is overwhelmed with appreciation as I have just finished this book. I am not alone in my experiences with the church and being a brown woman! This book grabbed me immediately, shook me, and held me. Thank you Prisc I waited and waited for this book as soon as the author announced on her Instagram that it was happening. I pre-ordered it and waited on pins and needles. I found myself nodding yes and talking out loud to my book, sharing my reactions to such similarities in our experiences. My heart is overwhelmed with appreciation as I have just finished this book. I am not alone in my experiences with the church and being a brown woman! This book grabbed me immediately, shook me, and held me. Thank you Prisca for your creation and for sharing your experiences with us!!! I enjoyed reading the bibliography and adding books to my want to read list!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ariadna Arredondo

    Had the wonderful opportunity to be able to read this book earlier this year before it's debut and have the author herself on my podcast! And I must say, from start to finish, I was blown away. Reading her book felt like listening to thousands of stories that have been needing to be brought to light a long time ago. Her voice, her boldness, her kindness, her realness is something wonderful to presence! Totally recommend this book for those who want to be seen, be heard and just know that you are Had the wonderful opportunity to be able to read this book earlier this year before it's debut and have the author herself on my podcast! And I must say, from start to finish, I was blown away. Reading her book felt like listening to thousands of stories that have been needing to be brought to light a long time ago. Her voice, her boldness, her kindness, her realness is something wonderful to presence! Totally recommend this book for those who want to be seen, be heard and just know that you aren't alone. She reminds me of Elizabeth Acevedo and Lola Akinmade Åkerström, cheers to the your epic journey and having your voice be heard!

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