Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist - Franchesca Ramsey

Date Published: May 20, 2018

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library

Date Read: October 12-14, 2019



Franchesca Ramsey didn't set out to be an activist. Or a comedian. Or a commentator on identity, race, and culture, really. But then her YouTube video "What White Girls Say. . . to Black Girls" went viral. Twelve million views viral. Faced with an avalanche of media requests, fan letters, and hate mail, she had two choices: Jump in and make her voice heard or step back and let others frame the conversation. After a crash course in social justice and more than a few foot-in-mouth moments, she realized she had a unique talent and passion for breaking down injustice in America in ways that could make people listen and engage.

In her first book, Ramsey uses her own experiences as an accidental activist to explore the many ways we communicate with each other—from the highs of bridging gaps and making connections to the many pitfalls that accompany talking about race, power, sexuality, and gender in an unpredictable public space...the internet.

Well, That Escalated Quickly includes Ramsey's advice on dealing with internet trolls and low-key racists, confessions about being a former online hater herself, and her personal hits and misses in activist debates with everyone from bigoted Facebook friends and misguided relatives to mainstream celebrities and YouTube influencers. With sharp humor and her trademark candor, Ramsey shows readers we can have tough conversations that move the dialogue forward, rather than backward, if we just approach them in the right way.


I admit to only knowing about Franchesca Ramsey and her book because she guest hosts podcasts I listen to (such as Keep It with Ira Madison). I liked the second half of this book much more than the first half. The first half deals with her time as a rising YouTuber and honestly it is a bit shallow save for her writing on SWGSTBG (the video that made her well known on the Internet). Unless you are a YT regular viewer, the first half of this book really doesn't anything interesting to say. I almost DNF after that chapter with her and Lena Dunham at dinner (in my defense, I try to avoid all things LD).


Then came the other half of the book and Ramsey's writing shines and she discusses topics outside the social media bubble. She has a fresh voice and approach to a variety of topics, and her humor adds a nice touch to the topics without feeling forced (like in the first half of the book). I hope she continues writing and I would read more from her.