Thick: And Other Essays

Tressie McMillan Cottom

For sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom, the word thick has layered meaning. It’s a term she associates with her body and her way of taking up physical space: “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less.” It also characterizes the nature of description itself: in her line of work, a “thick description” is one that provides proper context. In her affecting and amusing nonfiction collection, McMillan Cottom explores both definitions, applying “thickness” like a filter over her view of the world. Whether addressing white fragility or black misogyny, Malcolm X or Migos, brutality or beauty —which often go hand in hand— McMillam Cottom places her personal frustrations and pains in a broader context.

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