Beacon Press: Living While Black
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Living While Black

Using Joy, Beauty, and Connection to Heal Racial Trauma

Author: Guilaine Kinouani

A Guardian “Best Book of 2021” Selection

A powerful look at the impacts of anti-Black racism and a practical guide for overcoming racial trauma through radical self-care as a form of resistance

Over the past 15 years, radical psychologist Guilaine Kinouani has focused her research, writing, and workshops on how racism affects both physical and mental health. Living While Black gives voice to the diverse, global experiences of Black people, using personal stories, powerful case studies, and eye-opening research to offer expert guidance on how to set boundaries and process micro-aggressions; protect children from racism; handle difficult race-based conversations; navigate the complexities of Black love; and identify and celebrate the wins.

Based on her findings, Kinouani has devised tried-and-tested strategies to help protect Black people from the harmful effects of verbal, physical, and structural racism. She empowers Black readers to adopt self-care mechanisms to improve their day-to-day wellness to help them thrive, not just survive, and to find hope and beauty—or even joy—in the face of racial adversity. She also provides a vital resource for allies seeking to better understand the impacts of racism and how they can help.

With the rise of far-right ideologies and the increase of racist hate crimes, Living While Black is both timely and instrumental in moving conversations from defining racism for non-Black majorities to focusing on healing and nurturing the mental health of those facing prejudice, discrimination, and the lasting effects of the violence of white supremacy.
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“The boldest book on Blackness I have read. The writing is revelatory, necessary, and brilliant. I haven’t felt this seen by a text before.”
—Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

Living While Black is an empowering, inspiring, and much-needed work that unapologetically centers Black joy, healing, and resistance. Kinouani unveils how white supremacy harms Black bodies and psyches, and provides a road map to overcoming racial trauma. This book will change and save lives.”
—Crystal M. Fleming, sociologist and author of Rise Up! How You Can Join the Fight Against White Supremacy

“An incisive and important book that will change the way you think.”
—Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant and author of Brown Baby

“Speaking to those of us harmed most directly by racism, Kinouani lovingly operationalizes what healing can actually look like and reminds us that not only is joy possible in the face of racial trauma but that it is absolutely necessary for our healing.”
—Yaba Blay, author of One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race

“I have followed Guilaine for years on social media precisely because of her passionate persistence in breaking open the falsely presented ‘impenetrable’ nature of how race and mental health interact. This will be a book that I read, recommend, and refer to for years to come. I’m in awe.”
—Kelechi Okafor, host of Say Your Mind podcast

“With clarity and compassion, Guilaine Kinouani testifies to realities the mental health system has long ignored and denied. This is a must-read for all who profess to be trained in and care about healing.”
—Robin DiAngelo, New York Times best-selling author of White Fragility

“A vital resource and powerful book—an unmissable read for everyone.”
—Julia Samuel, author of This Too Shall Pass and Grief Works

Download an excerpt of Living While Black as a PDF.


Centering Blackness
Blackness as a Black Quest
“Black” versus “black”


Discovering Anti-Blackness
Schooling While Black
White Women and Liberal Racism
On Writing Myself In
The Roots of Our Resistance
“I Can’t Breathe!”
Connecting as an Act of Love
Race Reflections
ACTION POINT: Get a Reflective Journal


Black Minds, White Institutions
Case study: Mike
Case study: Rocky
Psychotherapy and Racism
Defining Racial Trauma
Race-Based Traumatic Stress Injury
Racial Trauma: Signs and Manifestations
Intergenerational Wounds: The Baggage Our Parents Left Us
Trauma and the Brain
Healing Trauma
Race Reflections
ACTION POINT: Practice Gratitude


Intersectionality and Trauma
Case study: Fiona
Understanding Intersectionality
More on Shame
The Impact of Injustice
What We Call Home
Case study: Eileen
Denial, Shame, and Injustice
Shaky Homes, Shaky Attachments
Windrush and the Hostile Environment
Race Reflections
ACTION POINT: Strengthen Homeness


Black Bodies, White Fantasies
The White Gaze
Colonialism: The Ongoing Weight of the Past
The Black Body and Boundaries
Case study: Julie
Scapegoats: The Consequence of Naming the Problem
Internalizing Projections
Trauma and the Body
Mistrust and Neglect
Race Reflections
ACTION POINT: Celebrate Your Body


Raising Black Children
School Violence
Absent Dads, Bossy Moms
Talking to Black Children About Racism
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Case study: The school that tried to end racism
Parent-Child Conflicts
Attachment and Historical Bonds
Internalized Racism
Parental Trauma
Protecting Black Children
Language and Self-Care
Race Reflections
Talking to Black Children about Racism
ACTION POINT: Strengthen Your Bonds


Case study: Sara
The Black Body at Work
Case study: Black hair
Being “the Only One”
The Impact of Stereotypes
Imposter Syndrome
Excellence, Exhaustion, and Respectability
Race Reflections
ACTION POINT: Strategize


The Context of Love
Interracial Love
Misogynoir: When Racism Is Gendered or Sexism Is Racialized
Case study: Alicia
Love at the Intersections
Race Reflections
ACTION POINT: Make a Love Pledge


The Pathologization of Black Resistance
Forms of Resistance
Case study: Music as resistance
Black Joy
Triple Consciousness
Learning Your Power
Race Reflections
ACTION POINT: Chart Your Resistance History


Your Radical Self-Care Plan
Appendix: Psychological Tools


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Living While Black

ISBN: 978-080700810-2
Publication Date: 1/24/2023
Size:5.5 x 8.5 Inches (US)
Price:  $17.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.
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