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How to Be Black
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$13.59+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on August 11, 2017
My dad doesn't read but I got him this knowing he'd get a kick out of it and told me he learned some cool things about black history and felt he could relate to the author. Will be purchasing for my grandpa next!
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on August 1, 2017
Love this book. I appreciate Mr. Thurston's transparency and candid approach to how others view Blacks in certain situations. A real stereotype breaker. Thank you.
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on May 18, 2017
Very well-written! He knows how to fuse humor into a subject matter that is riddled with denial, ambivalence and historical atrocities.
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on April 5, 2012
I first heard the author, Baratunde Thurston, discuss his new book on NPR to kick off Black History Month. I was so impressed by his humor and wit that I wanted to support him by buying his book. It did not disappoint. It was filled with such insights into the black-American experience, and how as a child being raised by a single Afro-centric mother in Washington, D.C., he learned to straddle two worlds. During the week he attended predominantly white Sidwell Friends Academy (a few years behind Chelsea Clinton), and on the weekends he attended a program where he was immersed in the culture and history of black people.

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!
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on April 8, 2013
Truly great comedy makes you think just as hard as it makes you laugh (I got a candle in the window for Chapelle's Show). Mr. Thurston has accomplished something I thought would never be done...I actually bought the book. Not the audiobook, not borrowed from the library, but will-take-time-out-of-my-life-to-read bought the book! Why would someone who's got her own books to write do such a thing?

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!
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on December 14, 2015
This is an absolutely hilarious, and truthful, book. My book club read this a few months back and we thoroughly enjoyed it. As an African-American, I found that many of the situations happened to me or people I know. Those ones that didn't fit this category are the ones I've seen play out on television (his commentary on how to get featured on CNN/news shows). I've seriously recommended my non-black friends to read this book because I think it gives insight into what we deal with from family, to culture, to corporate America, but in a witty way.
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on October 14, 2012
I sought out this book much like I seek out black friends to speak for the entire Black population. What I've been wanting to hear since the first conversation I engaged is that while all Blacks share a history in America in a broad context, the "black community" is far more diverse in ideas and lifestyle than Hollywood and the latest Black spokesperson portray. The Hollywood portrayal, filed with shuck and jive, anger, and yes, malapropisms, has been a persistent plague to Blacks, kind of like the movie "Deliverance" is to Southerners. Thurston's book is a breath of fresh air. The book is a truly useful starting point for talking about race in America. You have to read the whole book, though, because the best discussions come near the end. The first part is very funny, and perhaps Thurston gives us permission to laugh so that we can be in the right frame of mind to open it.
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on March 2, 2016
This book fuses biographical notes with sanguine observations and absurdist allegory.

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.
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on May 22, 2012
I came across this book by accident at a book fair waiting for another author's presentation. Barathunde Thurston was three speakers before her and I had the good luck to sit down with my friend at the beginning of his presentation where I heard political commentary, social issues, racial insensitivity, comedy, wit, humor, just a fantastically personable man really drawing in his audience and making us all feel welcome. We both decided we MUST get his book! After reading just a few chapters, I had to get the Kindle version as well, just to be able to sneak in a bit here and there when I'm away from home. I love getting to explore issues of a race not my own in a way that is not angry or confrontational, but with a discerning intellect, and presented in a very slice of life way, with a big spoon full of humor. I can truly say that I could not even get past the first page of the introduction without laughing so hard I gave myself a coughing fit. I really feel like anyone of any race could (and should) pick up this book and benefit from it's wisdom, and laugh like crazy it's humor, and be educated by it's message.
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on March 11, 2012
Great book, with humorous perspective on growing up black in DC in the 70's with a Pan-African mother who sent him to African cultural weekend intensives while attending Sidwell Friend's private school where the Obama kids and Chelsea Clnton attended. Thurston quickly became adept at code-switching during his childhood which turned out to be great practice for the rest of his life as a cultural translator, black ambassador, and go-between for whites and the African-American community in adulthood.

If you have a sense of humor and enjoy drawing potential controversy with a simple flick of the wrist, pull this book out on the train, your local cafe, or in my case, at a largely black public high school in Brooklyn (my students were puzzled and all asked me why I had a book called "how to be black" on my desk (some even said it was racist just judging by the title of the book)- then this is your book!
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