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He Talk Like a White Boy Hardcover – April 25, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Phillips is not your typical Republican: he's a television actor, a sometime stay-at-home dad—and a proud black man. At his best, riffing on the difficulties of not conforming to stereotypes in a nation that refuses to shed them, Phillips is thought provoking and moving. With a memoirist's eye for incident, he writes about sitting out eighth-grade pickup football games, caught between the team of white boys he'd grown up with and the team of black boys who complained he lived in "Honkyville."He's acute on the absurdity of racial perceptions, as when he gets scripts that call for "an African-American neurosurgeon with street smarts." But his political essays often read like blog entries, heavy on outrage and rhetoric (the latter sometimes snappy), and feather-light on nuance and evidence (the latter sometimes dubious). They may draw cheers from those who share his faith in G.W. Bush, but won't persuade those who don't. Phillips's opinions (e.g., on faith, character and the pitfalls of affirmative action) may be the driving force behind his writing, but it's his lived experience that is likely to persuade readers of all colors—black, white, red or blue—that he has something to say. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Phillips, probably best known as the straitlaced son-in-law on the Bill Cosby Show, but lately a columnist and commentator on public radio, reflects on his life and politics from the perspective of a black conservative in Hollywood. He offers an honest look at his personal journey, exploring areas of character, family, faith, idealism, and identity. Phillips was raised in predominately white or integrated areas of Denver, where his diction earned him criticism from some blacks for talking "like a white boy." He recounts other personal experiences in an integrated setting that set him apart from other blacks in the post-civil rights era. A child of divorce, Phillips was also forced to cope with his mother's suicide. His father, a doctor, was stern, and the two didn't develop a close relationship until Phillips became an adult. His struggle to reconcile his life with his ideals led Phillips to become a conservative Republican and to a personal analysis of what it means to be authentic. Readers interested in different perspectives on race and identity will enjoy this revealing memoir. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; First edition (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762423994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762423996
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,569,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ronald E. Miller on July 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished "He Talk Like A White Boy," and I am moved beyond words by what Joseph C. Philips has written. As a black man who moves more easily in white circles, not necessarily by choice but because of the fixed notions of politics, race and culture that exist in the African-American community, I feel like I've walked in his shoes. This is the first book I've read from cover to cover in a long time because I found myself enthralled by his story, which is so much like my own. His courage, candor and eloquence only made it more compelling. I sincerely hope that this book flies off the shelves and fattens his bank account. He deserves the financial blessings that come from a work well done. Thank you!
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Format: Hardcover
I couldn't wait to get my hands on He Talk Like A White Boy by Joseph C. Phillips. As a fan of his work as an actor, I was interested in what he had to say. I was also intrigued by the title. As the mother of a black daughter who is told that she "talks like a white girl" ... I wanted to hear what he had to say about it and wondered if it was similar to what I had to say about it. It was.

While I was interested in the book for the reasons stated, I have to say Mr. Phillips has a lot more to say and he knows how to say it. He can definitely turn a phrase. His writing style keeps your attention and I caught myself laughing out loud, nodding my head in agreement, and even reading particular passages out loud to anyone that would stand still and listen. I even handed the book over to my oldest daughter at one point just so she could read what I had been saying all along about boys and their relationships with girls ... but from a man's perspective.

Now, of course, Mr. Phillips did have some things to say that I didn't agree with. We didn't agree on Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. We somewhat agreed when it came to Ronald Reagan and we agreed with each other completely when it came to Colin Powell. Even though I don't agree with some of his politics and was kind of discouraged to read some of the same old Republican talking points, I really did enjoy the book and what Mr. Phillips had to say. He also reminded me that while we won't always agree with someone on everything, there is still value in their opinions. Unless it is regarding Bill Clinton and then I will just have to call hogwash, hogwash. ;)

He Talk Like A White Boy is not just about politics and race. It is about family, love, faith, community, and a multitude of other topics.
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Format: Hardcover
Reflections on Faith, Family, Politics, and Authenticity

"...I was determined that if I didn't learn to like rap, I would at least develop a working knowledge of the music so I could discuss it intelligently. I dashed out to the music store and bought CDs by Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, and a list of other artists who were hot at the time. The only ground rule I set was that I had to play each album all the way through at least once. As an illustration of my lack of commitment, I soon decided that playing an album all the way through didn't necessarily mean I had to be in the same room while it played. Strictly speaking, so long as the album played all the way through. I didn't even have to be in the apartment. I will never forget putting NWA (Niggaz with Attitude) on the stereo. I almost broke my neck sprinting across my apartment to turn the volume down when 'F**k the Police' began blasting through the building."

The above quote is one of the many reasons completion of this book was mandatory (for me). By its very title, this book makes a provocative statement which is ably reinforced by its content.

The book is a collection of essays divided into the following themes:

- Character

- Family

- Faith

- Idealism; and

- Identity

The author's love of his country is interwoven throughout the book. His dispair for the incremental demise of the family rings loud and clear as well as his battle to be all he can be: as a man who is black, is educated, is a conservative, is a husband, is a man of God--but most of all as a man who wants to be a good father.
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Format: Hardcover
This book introduces a conceit of the black community: To be black, not only do you have to talk a specific way, but act a specific way. Neither of these ways necessarily works with other people who are non-Black. Phillips humorously and seriously hits home with tales of growing up enjoying his heritage while defending the principles that formed America, disputing (with strong references and opinion) the notion that being Black is to be professionally angry and socially undecipherable to anyone other than another Black. Liberals may not enjoy Phillips' conservative views, but this is not a book on politics as it is on what it means to be who you are, regardless of what a majority of a minority consider kosher within itself. Insightful reading for everyone.
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Format: Hardcover
In He Talk Like a White Boy, Joseph C. Phillips proudly, even defiantly, proclaims that he is an American, a husband, a father, a man of faith, and a Republican. So what? Well, Mr. Phillips is black, an actor and lives in the blue city of Los Angeles. He is supposed to believe that America is inherently and irredeemably racist. He is supposed to believe that black men should not be expected to overcome the obstacles that this racist society throws in their path. He most certainly is not supposed to be a Republican.

With searing honesty and self-deprecating humor, Mr. Phillips explains why he is who he is and believes what he believes. He loves America because it offers freedom and opportunity. He rejects the idea that that opportunity does not extend to blacks. He notes that all black Americans have a share of the "sweat equity" in America earned by earlier generations.

For Mr. Phillips, marriage and fatherhood have been hard work. However, he leaves no doubt that it is his most important work. If this book is about anything it is about the difference that commitment to family can make - for adults and children. As a regular on The Cosby Show, Mr. Phillips worked with one of the great television husbands and fathers of all time, Bill Cosby. Many of Mr. Phillips' family stories would have made good Cosby episodes. But it's his real life.

Okay. He's patriotic and a family man, but a Republican? How can he embarrass his family like that? Read the book and find out. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his politics, you will not be able to deny the right he asserts as a human being to reach his own conclusions. More importantly, you will not be able to deny him his birthright as a black American.
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