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
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.
Baratunde does a great job covering serious topics in a way that's funny, yet informative and in a way that gets you thinking about things from an angle you may not have found on your own. Great social commentary.
Honesty and humor. Thurston's fearlessness serves the reader well.
I'm Hispanic. Like a lot of minorities, I can be many things to many people. When I'm visiting with my relatives I'm far browner than I am with my white friends. My best friend used to like to joke that I was whiter than him. It hurt my feelings and I wasn't really able to understand why until Baratunde related similar experiences.
Race (or maybe more accurately culture or appearance) is still an issue in this day and age regardless of how much we want it not to be, and this book does an incredible job of relating the challenges of being a minority with humor. I think the value of this approach is that it can educate without preaching and without alienating the audience.
Of course, his experience isn't all-encompassing, but he admits it. It is still an excellent treatment of the subject and can teach anyone a few things - even a fellow minority.
Baratunde did a great job with this book. The first 15 minutes are a little slow, he seems to be a little uncomfortable with the performance but he sounds like a pro after that. The story is riveting and his humor is contagious.
The author manged to make a delicate subject into something that can be discussed in a non-offensive way. He covered things that I would love to say to my white friends. The author reading the book allowed him to deliver the information in his own voice. That was very important because some of the humor was subtle.
I really liked the chapter on how to be black at work. He gave priceless advice on how to handle the holiday party that I attended the week I listened to the book. I also liked the very real ties to DC that were in the book. My wife is a DC native also and I was reminded of where she came from in the book. Finally, I really enjoyed the interview recordings inthe book. It was great to here the black panel in thier own words and voices.
This is the first book that I have heard Baratunde read but hopefully he would be willing to read other books. He did an excellent job.
Spitting coffee out of my mouth laughing when he described the dangers of dancing at parties was my most extreme reaction. I spent an entire day at work listening and laughing at the very real discriptions of blacks and whites. I also took some time thinking about how to teach my sons about thier heritage as black boys. Because of the book I ensured that we had a black heritage program at church.
I highly recommend this book because it uses a humorous approach to embed knowledge and wisdom directly into your soul by passing all of the mental barriers that we put up. It is a quick listen but well worth the monthly credit.
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