A steady stream of media coverage, political pontificating, and Twitter commentary has made argumentative discourse about racism and transgender rights a part of the daily thrum of modern American life. Delving into the onslaught, the authors conducted research into the perspectives of a particular segment of the population: white, cisgender college students. . . this study represents an important step into opening up the fields of Black studies and transgender studies to learn how those "unaffiliated with [either of these] major social movements make sense of these movements." Based on interview questions that the authors helpfully provide, the book reduces more than 750 pages of transcripts to fewer than 100 pages of analysis and discussion. . . this will make a fine addition to a research-oriented program focused on social movements and could very well be the impetus for a much-needed national study open to wide-ranging demographics. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty.
Black Lives and Bathrooms makes clear the intertwined nature of contemporary movements focused on advocating for transgender people’s social and political inclusion and battling anti-Blackness and police brutality. These movements hinge on surveillance; the watching of bodies seemingly out of place and the potential for violence to be done against those who are deemed to not belong. Sumerau and Grollman uniquely push forward the discussion of these movements not only by placing them in relation to each other, but by drawing attention to how white, cisgender outsiders to these movements – often the very parties perpetuating the logics of surveillance at the root of transphobia and anti-Blackness – understand them. In asking how one responds to a movement that is not about people like you, Black Lives and Bathrooms provides a useful and concise teaching tool for students looking to develop deeper knowledge about how social movements are perceived in the moment and how those perceptions can impact the success of efforts for social change.