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How to Be Black [Hardcover]

Baratunde Thurston
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 Mar 2012
The Onion’s Baratunde Thurston shares his 30-plus years of expertise in being black, with helpful essays like “How to Be the Black Friend,” “How to Speak for All Black People,” “How To Celebrate Black History Month,” and more, in this satirical guide to race issues—written for black people and those who love them. Audacious, cunning, and razor-sharp, How to Be Black exposes the mass-media’s insidiously racist, monochromatic portrayal of black culture’s richness and variety. Fans of Stuff White People Like, This Week in Blackness, and Ending Racism in About an Hour will be captivated, uplifted, incensed, and inspired by this hilarious and powerful attack on America’s blacklisting of black culture: Baratunde Thurston’s How to Be Black.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (5 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062003216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062003218
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


“A hilarious blend of razor-sharp satire and memoir...Using his own story and humor, Thurston demonstrates that the best way to ‘be’ anything is to simply be yourself.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Terrific...How to Be Black is an assault on nostalgia--a satirical, biographic attack on the idea that ‘blackness’ or any label should be derived from historical description.” (Fast Company)

“A hilarious look at the complexities of contemporary racial politics and personal identity.” (Booklist)

Struggling to figure out how to be black in the 21st century? Baratunde Thurston has the perfect guide for you...Fans of Stuff White People Like, This Week in Blackness and other blogs that take satirical shots at racial stereotypes are sure to love How to Be Black. (The Root)

“One of the smartest and funniest books I’ve ever read.” (Christian Lander (via Twitter))

From the Back Cover

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?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you.

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 thirty 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 readers 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 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."

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
How to be Black is simply one of the best books you will buy this year. It is about more than just learning about the author, or how to be black, it's about celebrating a culture and lifestyle which is embodied by Baratunde. If you can also buy the audio book from audible, you will get far more from listening to the author than the book alone. Also tell your friends it's time to black up ;)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book has closed gaps in my life! Being a post-colonial white person in Zimbabwe really made it difficult to relate to the local people well. This book changed that!

After reading and changing my lifestyle to suit I now have access to all the things that I could not as a white person such as exclusive nightclubs, the secret fist bump, b**ches, etc. My life has opened up to a whole new level! Level BLACK!

There are drawback however, every time I fly I am subject to quite regular searches, practically every time actually. Police also stop my car and question any women in the seat next to me if they are being coerced by me in anyway. The office staff also never approach me individually now always in packs of two or three, maybe as a defense in numbers thing and alwayshave that terrified animal sparkle in their eyes that a cat has before it is hit by a car. For some reason now that I think of it security cameras all seem to track me individually wherever I go supermarkets, back alleys, everywhere, I am not sure if this is a personal safety thing of being black or not but I suppose it is a bonus to personal safety.


Overall the benefits out way the drawbacks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read. 11 Aug 2013
By Edgar
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is a great read. The first half is definitely better than the second half. It has the great lesson that Martin Luther King mentioned: Don't let the colour of your skin determine anything you do, don't do, think or say. It does not shy away from the realities of being black but puts an incredibly spin on it and makes it funny. I frankly recommend it to anyone regardless of ethnicity, gender or nationality. The title is misleading, its more a book about how to be yourself, your real self!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Clever 13 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Its funny but we didn't realise how autobiographical it was, still a good read though and always a talking point
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to be Black started out with a bang 10 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Starting out with a bang, with some great insight and amusing anecdotes, the narrative becomes more prosaic and conventional towards the end.
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