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198 Reviews
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great satire, great commentary
I've followed Baratunde on Twitter for a couple years now, and I've been anticipating this book for a while. He's hilarious, and the book is proof of it. With chapters on things like How to Be the Next Black President, how could it not?

While the book is funny - and mostly satirical - it also comments on what it actually means to be black in the U.S. today. The...
Published on January 31, 2012 by Jessica

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative, funny, eye-opening
I heard this book when the author was a guest on an episode of the game show podcast Ask Me Another. It sounded interesting and my library had a copy so I picked it up. I read it after finishing I'd Rather We Got Casinos (and Other Black Thoughts by Larry Wilmore and found this book to have much more substance whereas the former was mostly jokes.

In How to Be...
Published on September 11, 2012 by Book Nympho


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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great satire, great commentary, January 31, 2012
This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
I've followed Baratunde on Twitter for a couple years now, and I've been anticipating this book for a while. He's hilarious, and the book is proof of it. With chapters on things like How to Be the Next Black President, how could it not?

While the book is funny - and mostly satirical - it also comments on what it actually means to be black in the U.S. today. The personal stories that Baratunde shares are heartening, informative, allegorical and more.

The interviews with people like Elon James White and Cheryl Contee are fantastic, too. Basically just a fantastic book.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Race is Hilarious--Seriously, January 31, 2012
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Amazon Customer (SF Bay Area & New York City) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
Race is a tough topic to discuss in the U.S. Baratunde Thurston makes it a whole lot easier with the humor in this book. Both a memoir of growing up black in the late 20th century and a sharp social commentary--not to mention a handy instruction manual--"How to Be Black" is a funny and thought-provoking read.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, I have black friends., January 31, 2012
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This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
This is the book that every lover of all things black (hip hop, basketball, being a good dancer, being a wide receiver in the NFL etc) has been waiting for. Those of you that have stood on the edges, desperately wanting to be more black but have been too scared to take the first step... this book is for you.

The book answers important questions like:

* Once you've gone black, can you in fact, go back?
* What's up with those funny handshakes?
* Can white men really not jump?
* How can Obama be black AND Hawaiian? Confusing.
* What sort of rims should I get on my Escalade?
* What exactly is Grape Drank?

Not really, but it is super funny, very touching, and an all round bloody smart read. Baratunde is the guy from the Onion who gave Donald Trump one of the best smack downs in internet history (Google it). His first book doesn't disappoint in the slightest.

Bottom line: read it if you like funny things, are interested in race in America, or just want to raise eyebrows on the subway a bit (the last one doesn't work for the kindle version, unfortunately).
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blackness for White People, February 8, 2012
This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
I am a white guy who was born and raised in rural southern Oklahoma where racism was still quite prevalent. I never considered myself racist... I had black friends, dated a few black girls and now my family and I have a foster baby who is black. This book is an amazing insight into the world that I never knew but somehow felt. I greatly enjoy listening to Baratunde describe his life and experiences mixed with a little humor and a healthy dose of satire. This is a must read for any one who has ever wondered about blackness but was too afraid to ask.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not about being blacki..., January 31, 2012
This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
This wonderful book is actually not about being black. It's about being you, whoever you might be. In sharing his life journey, wit, and ruminations, Baratunde helps us see that each of us is on our journey to "blackness."
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic "How To" Book, February 1, 2012
I've always concerned myself with being aware of race. I was taught as a child that everyone is the same, but we really aren't. I'm 6'5" and it is very unlikely that more than 1% of you are even within an inch of that height. I'm rather pale, being of an Irish, German, Scottish and northern Italian heritage. That makes me different from other folks. Oh sure, we all are human and have a soul and what not, but we are different creatures from different places and different backgrounds.
Apparently some folks concern themselves with either the color of their skin or the behaviors they exhibit. Sometimes they are told they aren't acting according to a stereotype or opinion held by the observer. This causes a divide for some and a source of angst for others.

So, when Baratunde Thurston asks himself and his panel of Blackness Experts "How Black Are You?", it is a fascinating topic. What does being Black mean to the observer? Do you define "Black" as "Poor Black Child" (thank you Steve Martin)? How about "Militant Urban Activist"? Is your definition based on watching The Wire or The Cosby Show? Listening to Oprah talk or Ice-T? Chuck D or KRS-1?

Reading this book should give you an insight into a singular black experience - as atypical as any other. It should let you better understand that "being Black" isn't about being a thug. Or talking a certain way. It is about being You - just able to dance better than most of your friends.

Tell me - who is more "Black" - Will Smith or Eminem?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "How To Be Black": This Book is Fantastic., January 31, 2012
This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
"How To Be Black" by Baratunde Thurston is a wonderful book by a brilliant writer. Baratunde's story is both insightful and engaging. His wit and wisdom flows through the pages. It's riveting and refreshing writing. Mr. Thurston's book is a must read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent, funny take on race in America., January 31, 2012
This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
"How To Be Black" takes a look at the role of race in America from the perspective of a black male born in the 80's, raised in the 90's, from the perspective of an adult in 2012 - with a little help from his friends and more than a little dose of satire. Baratunde Thurston walks us through the life of a black man who is constantly asked to explain the behavior of his race, while also giving insight into why he looks at things the way he does - the impact his mother had on him, his explorations of different racial hats he would wear throughout his years (inquisitive, militant, satirical), and experiences of tried-and-true bigotry (no story of a black males story in an Ivy League school would be complete without the n word thrown around for good measure).

This book is recommended for anyone with a sense of humor and an interest in race relations in a post-Obama America, from the perspective of a thoughtful, educated, positive individual.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not An Angry Black Man, June 21, 2012
This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
I finished reading HTBB a few weeks ago and enjoyed it thoroughly, except for all the profanity. I realize nowadays people spread profanity around like confetti. There is no shame to their game when it comes to cursing. However, being a non-curser, it still jars me somewhat when all of a sudden it is in my face. That said, I waited until now to write a review to see what still resonated with me after a few weeks. First of all, it is an easy read. I read HTBB in eight to nine hours on a road trip. Second, Baratunde is so smart, honest and funny. How do I know? Just read the chapter about 'How to Be The Black Employee.' I laughed so hard about the watermelon dilemma. This book shows Baratunde's great intellect. Baratunde reminds me of comedian Jerry Seinfield, in how he can take a seeming innocuous subject like swimming and give it such a hilarious look from the Black perspective. Third, I think including the Black Panel was a clever idea. What I am taking away with me from HTBB is that we all need to take the time to understand each other better. We are all different and quirky. When we realize that, we can have so much fun together laughing at ourselves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for everyone, January 31, 2012
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This review is from: How to Be Black (Hardcover)
Funny all around,from one of my favorite tech commentators, but the last few chapters were especially amazing. All about redefining what it means to be ____________.
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How to Be Black
How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
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