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
I always recommend people read books that stretch them.
I have read better books on racism. This one is fairly funny, however, for those who require the distraction.
Baratunde is a racist referring to my brother, my sister and insisting that being black is cool all the while decrying (appropriately) judgmental treatment of blacks. Sorry, Baratunde, you can't have it both ways.
The man is a humorist genius but at times equates his skin color with ethnicity (wrong), politics (sad), and socioeconomic theory (um, isn't he a harvard trained businessman from an elitist high school...uh oh).
I enjoy other people's viewpoints so one of the highlights of this book was the unique interview style of several other agents. The intro, however, is pedantic, insulting, and wrong. I nearly didn't read the book. The ending is not eloquent and I found the final poem exclusive, divisive, and unnecessarily militaristic compared to the more intellectual main body of the text.
The audio performance was excellent but I wonder if this didn't help lead into a somewhat stream of conscious rant on a subject that deserved a little more intention.
All in all, Baratunde seems like the kind of guy I would have over for dinner and drinks and have a good time of it. I doubt he could talk me into voting for Obama again though.
Probably less political pandering and more actual humor.
His personal stories were probably the least interesting. I personally wanted more humorous commentary not his life story. I felt his strongest part was when he interviewed others about their own personal experiences.
Maybe. But only if it deals more with humor instead of political commentary.
A book dedicated to more interviews with his friends would definitely be interesting. I find that each individual views was intriguing. I probably would like a larger sample with more humorous questions.
As a Asian American of the same age to the author with almost opposite beliefs and experiences, I found it hard to like this book due to his "progressive beliefs". Personally I didn't find it too funny. I felt he could have done less on his own personal life story and more humorous question fielded to the panel. I guess I wanted something more like "Stuff White People Like". But I won't fault him. This book just wasn't for me. I would give it 3 stars because it was entertaining enough. And I thought he presented it very well and I liked his voice and the fact he able to get others to speak. He definitely gave a good vocal performance.
The humorous way the material was handled.
The author's insight into Harvard from his own perspective. Though, there is a lot more than that to like.
His enthusiasm, great delivery. Quite a performer.
His father's story was a sad one.
Funny, engaging, and enlightening. And I am a white woman, by the way...Baratunde is a great narrator and has a very important message to deliver, in my view. I think this is a great example in which the audio book is better than the actual book (such as William Shatner's autobiography as an audio book, but I am no way comparing Thurston's message to Shatner's).
Not really. I expected to be enlightened. Instead it was just one stereotype after another.
I liked the trip to Africa and his reaction.
This is the first book from him that I have listened too.
The quality of play back is excellent
I have it both ways: on my ereader & audible
I loved the author's delivery, as well as the use of a panel of different speakers. It kept the 'story' lively.
The weaving together of humor and intellect was brilliant. No one can miss the message; yet, it is presented in a manner lighthearted enough to thoroughly enjoy.
Thurston brings the passion, humor and even the pain of what he actually feels in personal situations as he learns and lives through what it means to be Black.
Although that may have been fun, I needed to meditate on certain portions, so I read it in chunks.
So good to know that my interpretation of what it is to be Black counts!
Yes. I, an aging white man, found it to be really funny yet full of serious and insightful information into interpersonal relations. It is a very positive and constructive guide to getting along with your fellow man.
The performance is outstanding. Only the author could have delivered it this well.
I've never read anything else like it (but I'd like to...).
Yes. His point of view is refreshing.
Baratunde Thurston has empathically unraveled, the Black experience, with a fresh clear-eyed perspective that is sensitive, insightful and compassionate. His robust sense of humor is the perfect catalyst that helps him to explain these complex and sometimes confusing issues about being African-American in America so everyone can appreciate and understand what it means to be Black in America.
Great insight into the mainstream, middle-class, higher-learned black population.
Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. Blink speaks of your gut reaction to the world around you; your first interaction with something/someone new. How To Be Black, is similar as it is a satire on the black experience in an upwardly mobile societal construct that may or may not exist. It's anecdotal and funny with notes of genius insight.
The chapter on the black employee.
It was hilarious.
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