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
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.
I've been somewhat familiar with Mr. Thurston from other digital venues, so was glad to learn more details about his past and perspective.
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.
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.
Say something about yourself!
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.
Awesome book. Whatever you probably think this book is, it is probably not.
Baratunde is hilarious! I probably enjoyed the audio more than I would have enjoyed reading the words. The audiobook also contains recorded interviews.
I listened in just several sessions. It is a very easy listen.
Funny, serious, mind-opening.
This is the first I've been exposed to him, but I will be looking for more.
It certainly made me laugh. I don't think I actually cried, but it was very sobering without being heavy-handed.
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.
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. 👍🏿👍🏿
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!
I'm a librarian with a toddler at home and no time to read. #momproblems
This is an amazing book that is wonderfully narratated by the author and his friends. BT'S upbringing is a road map for mother's of beautiful black boys. Thank you for sharing your story.
I honestly felt as if this was better to listen to rather than just read but I will buy the book just so I can read it in public!!! This was amazingly done and well thought out! The delivery was awesome!!! You must buy it! You must!
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