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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 Ratings

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  • Overall
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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.

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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. 👍🏿👍🏿

  • Overall

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!

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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.

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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.

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Black Card Renewed

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.

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Wow!!!

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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Funny and poignant. The "How to be a black employee" section hit especially hard.

Solid book from one of the funniest and best thinkers today. Baratunde Thurston has done it again!

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A must listen!

I'm sure this is great as a text book, but the author is an accomplished speaker/actor, and it's add depth to the message to hear it in his voice.

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Terrific life story!

If you could sum up How to Be Black in three words, what would they be?

awesome reflection smart

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mom- she invested in her son.

Which scene was your favorite?

camping!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This tale will change your thinking.

Any additional comments?

Loved the book!