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How to Be Black Hardcover – January 31, 2012
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“A hilarious blend of razor-sharp satire and memoir...Using his own story and humor, Thurston demonstrates that the best way to ‘be’ anything is to simply be yourself.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Terrific...How to Be Black is an assault on nostalgia--a satirical, biographic attack on the idea that ‘blackness’ or any label should be derived from historical description.” (Fast Company)
Struggling to figure out how to be black in the 21st century? Baratunde Thurston has the perfect guide for you...Fans of Stuff White People Like, This Week in Blackness and other blogs that take satirical shots at racial stereotypes are sure to love How to Be Black. (The Root)
“A hilarious look at the complexities of contemporary racial politics and personal identity.” (Booklist)
“One of the smartest and funniest books I’ve ever read.” (Christian Lander (via Twitter))
From the Back Cover
Have you ever been called "too black" or "not black enough"?
Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you.
Raised by a pro-black, Pan-Afrikan single mother during the crack years of 1980s Washington, DC, and educated at Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University, Baratunde Thurston has over thirty years' experience being black. Now, through stories of his politically inspired Nigerian name, the heroics of his hippie mother, the murder of his drug-abusing father, and other revelatory black details, he shares with readers of all colors his wisdom and expertise in how to be black.
Beyond memoir, this guidebook offers practical advice on everything from "How to Be The Black Friend" to "How to Be The (Next) Black President" to "How to Celebrate Black History Month."
To provide additional perspective, Baratunde assembled an award-winning Black Panel—three black women, three black men, and one white man (Christian Lander of Stuff White People Like)—and asked them such revealing questions as:
"When Did You First Realize You Were Black?"
"How Black Are You?"
"Can You Swim?"
The result is a humorous, intelligent, and audacious guide that challenges and satirizes the so-called experts, purists, and racists who purport to speak for all black people. With honest storytelling and biting wit, Baratunde plots a path not just to blackness, but one open to anyone interested in simply "how to be."
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Some of his passages will have you holding your sides, as will his chapter headings like How to Speak for All Blacks. I have since bought this book for a few people, both black and white. As a white woman who lives in a white bread community in Connecticut, my cool factor has been raised immeasurably by reading this book. Thanks, Baratunde!
Mr. Thurston is the other voice in the room saying 'this is crazy! does anyone else think this is crazy?'. it proves that truth is stranger than fiction, not to mention ironic. and it's taught me not to allow the world's view of me to impact who i am. we don't have to be who the tv says we are, and we don't have to be ashamed of ourselves because we've never stepped into a tanning salon. take time out of your life to buy and read it. and look up Thurston's interview with Terry Gross. btw, i have never met this guy and he wouldn't know me from eve, and i'm a writer trying to get my own stuff out there. i have nothing to gain from recommending this book, but i'm telling you to get this book!
A light read that belies a heavy subject and grants some insight and counterprogramming on the current state of white privilege/cultural dominance even for the most melanin deficient reader.
It's good is what I'm saying.