Course Culture and Values

CourseCulture and Values

Thereare a lot of similarities and differences between Roxanne Gay’s BadFeminists, Gay Ross’s ‘Some thoughts of Mercy’ and Laymon’s‘How to kill yourself slowly in America’. In “Bad Feminist”,Roxanne highlights his quarrel with feminism because the differentwaves have all under represented black and transgender women. Thethree authors are conscious of racial profiling that takes placeevery day in United States, and that subjects minority groups such asthe black community into despair and distress. While Gay alignsherself with what she denotes as her favorite definition offemininity ““just women who don’t want to be treated’’ sheeffectively exemplifies the culturally sanctioned idea of “womanpower” (Roxanne 1). This paper will seek compare and contrast thework of the authors mentioned above with special reference to thethree pieces of work they have published.

Theatypical and affable back-and –forth in which Gay focuses-exploringfaults in order to embrace that which is fallible- is a featureadopted by Laymon and Ross in their work. She rightly points that thegreatest failure encompasses ignoring the views and interest of womenof color and transgender women. In the same vein, Ross uses hisexperience with the police and his interaction with whites to depictthe sorrow and fear that pervades the American Society (Laymon 1).Just like Gay feels about feminism, he feels that if the inequality,the violence, the corruption and the terror that is subjected towardsparticular groups of people fail to be exposed, the suspicion amongwhite and other ethnic groups will never end. It is this time thateveryone will become conscious of the things they have been doing toother people of different origin, which they do not want to do suchthings.

WhileRoxanne critiques contemporary definition of feminism and how thismyopic definition will limit societal progress, Ross Gay challengesthe black community to fight for their rights without fear. The threeauthors ideas tend to converge on one fundamental fact they carewhat other people think about them. It is this feeling that promptsthem to say that being candid and open and honest is the only way tocreate a better and more equal society. Roxanne states “I ammortified by my music choices, but I care what people think”(Roxanne 1) and Gay points “We all think the worst of each otherand ourselves, and become our worst selves” (Gay 1)

In the essay “How to slowly kill yourself and other in America”Laymon does not talk about suicide per se, it is a compilation ofsweltering treatise about the daily life, hardship, and ‘slowdeath’ of marginalized people in American as they come to gripswith harshness of the social environment. Laymon deals profoundlywith his own personal story, packed with trials and manifestation ofthose trials that shed light on underappreciated aspects ofcontemporary American life. As indicated in the book, the authorattended three tertiary institutions. As revealed in the book he issuspended from the first college after probation following the issuesof a controversial essay he printed on campus. Laymon claims that hiswork is to broaden the scope of American literature by askingquestions (Laymon 1).

Thissame technique is applied to Gay Ross’s ‘Some thoughts of Mercy’.He gives accounts of his life reflecting on the predicament thatblack people face in the new world and issues to do with racism thathave refused to disappear even after slavery and racism wereabolished. Both authors highlight the mythology that has vividlylingered after abolition of slavery in the minds and hearts ofproponents of this vice. Gay and Laymon provide a vivid reflection onthe different aspects that this false mythology about blackcriminality has inflicted upon the black community.

Thethree pieces of work is an astute stand-alone piece in itsexploration of the sources and often violent outcomes of blacksocieties. All three pieces of work are constructed around thecentral themes of racism and how the black community in the UnitedStates has faced the blunt edge of this prejudice. The three authorsseem to agree on two main points that racism is the main factorsthat fuels the rift between whites and black community in the UnitedStates, and that if there is to be a change in society, there must bea radical change not only in the perception of the white communitybut also from the determination of the minority groups to highlightsthe predicament that pervades their daily lives.

Roxanneexemplifies what she thinks suits the definition of feminism whileGay and Laymon are concerned about the welfare of the black communityin America. Roxanne sticks to informing the reader the truth abouthow women who support feminism should behave, but in the process herlanguage goes beyond the realm of decency. This is the only negativeaspects about her essay. It is given if a candid manner that itthreatens to offend the reader, especially one who believes in genderequality “. Such phrases include &quotBitch you gotta shake ittill your camel starts to hurt&quot (Roxane 1).

Whileshe agrees women should be treated better by men, she appears tocontradict herself when she says that she listens to thuggish rapmusic even when such music is degrading to women and offend her tothe core ((Roxane 1). Laymon and Gay express their sincere feelings,reflections, and past events that highlight the predicament of acommunity under the yolk of racism. Even though they seemover-obsessed by the fact that black are wrongly associated withcrime, they provide vivid illustrations that support their thesis.


Gay,Roxane. Bad Feminist: Essays. , 2014. Print.

Gay,Ross. Some Thoughts On Mercy.2014. Retrieved from:

Laymon,Kiese. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: Essays.2013.Web.