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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."
Top customer reviews
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It is funny, smart, and leads the reader through a thoughtful social commentary, using humor and details from the author's life throughout. Starting out, it is laugh out loud funny, becoming more serious as the novel progresses.
Race is not a comfortable topic for most Americans. The recent election exposed a dark, ugly side of America that I didn't know existed (in such great number). Thought provoking with a healthy dose of satire, I highly recommend this book to others.
He comes from a neutral perspective to give an insight on how black people are portrayed by Whites as well as other Blacks. This entire book pays tribute to Blacks who might be in the "middle of the pack," or in other words "educated negro."
I am paraphrasing a bit, but the one excerpt that stood out to me the most was his feelings of not "being black enough" or being "too white" are simply the struggles that come along with having a bright education and future.
I am not here to write a long extended review but to simply tell you if you feel like you are irrationally treated by both groups, this book can simply give you a second chance. Baratunde goes into a unspoken dynamic of social issues that are unheard of and at the same time gives a good laugh here and there. BUY THIS BOOK AND SUPPORT THIS AUTHOR, DONE!
I found myself laughing at the absurdity and crying at the truth of those same absurdities.
For the full review, please go here: http://eurydicehowell.com/2015/09/16/baratunde-thurstons-how-to-be-black/