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How to Be Black Audiobook

How to Be Black

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2013

If you don't buy this book, you're a racist.

Have you ever been called "too black" or "not black enough"?

Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person?

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 30 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 listeners 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, author 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".

©2012 Baratunde Thurston (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (710 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elaine Reed 04-16-12
    Elaine Reed 04-16-12 Member Since 2005
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    "A humorous reflection on how-to-be-black"
    Would you listen to How to Be Black again? Why?

    The book is well-organized into socially relevant sections. Each is dealt with by including fact, personal experience and a diverting array of "Black Experts." The audience is dealt with much in the way a stand up comic addresses the audience: even when you, the listener, are not the subject of discussion, the discussion entertains you.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I've been somewhat familiar with Mr. Thurston from other digital venues, so was glad to learn more details about his past and perspective.


    What does Baratunde Thurston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He's an excellent reader. In general, when an author is a good reader, I want him to perform his book. That way I know the emphasis is properly placed. In the section where he reads a seriously-angry-black-teen speech he wrote (as a teen), he reads it with his adult tongue firmly in cheek.


    Any additional comments?

    In the end, it's lighthearted; no a book you'd go to for detailed social or political history. (He works for The Onion, for crying out loud!) Still, if everyone in the US could adopt the spirit of the book when addressing our divisive, complicated racial history, we'd be better able to share our disappointments and applaud our progress together.
    It's an easy listen, a fun listen. Though I don't personally re-listen to books, if I walked into a room where it was playing, I'd definitely listen--and smile--again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim McAlpine BC, Canada 03-26-12
    Tim McAlpine BC, Canada 03-26-12 Member Since 2008

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Much more than a funny title"

    As a white Canadian, I didn't really think I would learn how to be black in America! I downloaded this book primarily for a laugh or two, but ended up learning and thinking about my own perceptions of what it's like to be black in America. The content is entertaining and thought provoking and Baratunde's audio performance is fabulous.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Coupeville, WA, United States 03-19-12
    Steven Coupeville, WA, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2012

    Adventure Scout

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    "Not your typical diversity book"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Be Black the most enjoyable?

    Awesome book. Whatever you probably think this book is, it is probably not.


    What about Baratunde Thurston’s performance did you like?

    Baratunde is hilarious! I probably enjoyed the audio more than I would have enjoyed reading the words. The audiobook also contains recorded interviews.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened in just several sessions. It is a very easy listen.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 03-18-12 Member Since 2014
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    "I really like this book!"
    If you could sum up How to Be Black in three words, what would they be?

    Funny, serious, mind-opening.


    Have you listened to any of Baratunde Thurston’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first I've been exposed to him, but I will be looking for more.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It certainly made me laugh. I don't think I actually cried, but it was very sobering without being heavy-handed.


    Any additional comments?

    Serious subject matter done in a mostly funny way. How to be yourself no matter what your color or background, race relations past, present and future. As a white person, I'll admit some of it was hard to hear but I'm glad I did. I also LOVE his panel and their contributions to the book. Brilliant idea. I plan to check them out individually also.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph Dugue 07-11-16
    Ralph Dugue 07-11-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Great listen on audible."

    This was smart, funny, and at times tragically accurate about the black experience in America. It is also my favorite narration job ever for an audiobook. It will make you laugh and it will make you think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrienne Hood 07-08-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Fantastic 'Primer' on Being Black in America"

    I don't think there's anything I didn't love about this book. It was simultaneously funny and touching, providing me with the perfect dose of camaraderie and satire in a time when the US' racial strife is enough to leave me feeling defeated. Thurston helped lift my spirits with his apt observations and wit.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the author not only narrated the book, but included recordings of the interviews with the other writers, artists, and comedians he spoke to in order to help write it. The recording of his reading of the essay 13-year-old Baratunde wrote was especially entertaining.

    This is one book I will absolutely be purchasing in physical form, giving as gifts when an occasion for presents arises, and insisting others listen to as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik 06-25-16
    Erik 06-25-16
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    "Funny. Enlightening. Inspiring."

    Most audiobooks are read. This one was performed. Brilliantly. While I am (and always will be) a white dude trying to understand the experiences of people of color, I think I felt a little black listening to this book. As much black as a white dude probably can. 👍🏿👍🏿

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. McDuffie 03-29-16
    L. McDuffie 03-29-16

    ldm

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    "Baratunde,Baratunde,Baratunde......You are amazing!"

    This book was wonderfully done. After listening, I can not imagine getting the same effect by reading it. You address stereotypes that so many others avoid, by making it humorous and enlightening. The experiences that you shared and triumphed over with the help of such an amazing woman....your mother, made me wish I had a mother like her! I can see that these experiences made you who you are today and you were gracious enough to share a portion of your greatness in this great satirical piece!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Mia 03-27-16
    Mia 03-27-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Not for the Sensitive or Self righteous"

    So good. Loved it. Teaches how to be real and not overly cautious of race or political correctness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bri 03-22-16
    Bri 03-22-16
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    "The most hilarious book I've ever read"

    His style is so smooth and SO HILARIOUS!! I could quote him forever! Love it! His story is definitely one that needs to be heard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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