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How to Be Black Hardcover – 5 Mar 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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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: 14 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 317,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“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."

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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.

black/10

Overall the benefits out way the drawbacks.
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thought provoking and funny. When people come round and see it on my shelf, they raise their eyebrows at me and say 'you don't need this book. It sounds dumb', but then I make them read it and they get it. Lots of laughs, and also epiphanies about race/the world, have been caused by this book. Love it.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love this book! An interesting read for all ethnic backgrounds, heritages and houses of Hogwarts. It's comical, thought provoking and insightful. I have come across a lot of indirect/misunderstood casual racism, throughout my life and always experienced a pause moment. Where I was sure that the question, or statement was personalised for me. As if to label me different in a nice, politically correct and eco friendly manner. But I digress.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my boyfriend and he won't let me borrow it because he has a long list of people he wants to read it first. It appears to be laugh out loud funny and rather touching, too. Although Thurston is from the US, and so the book is very much in that context, it's a lighthearted look at race that applies anywhere, really. Highly recommended and a great gift for someone with a sense of humour.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sort of autobiographical take of being modern black american.

started off well, with some amusing insights but could keep up the pace. Perhaps would have been better as aqn occasional blog format, reporting on significant media events and more interesting/ amusing ancedotes
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great and timely book by a skilled comedian, writer and analyst. Although this book is very much focussed on the american market to whom it is aimed it is a recommended read for all - regardless of your politics. Oh, and the title is a misnomer!
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