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How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston (2012)

Recently added bycwruoma, Nutopia, private library, Beth3511, shannon.dybvig, jbaer, Joel.G..Gomes, wallerdc, djbrauer, TSFS
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This book is art how-to guide, part memoir, and part manifesto from a collective (menacing sounding!). It's not nearly as ranty as one might expect. I give it a touch over 3.5 stars for its perspective on modern life. I would have liked maybe a little more on the geeky stuff but maybe that's for another time. ( )
  rmagahiz | Dec 21, 2013 |
I can't tell you how much this book helped cheer me up by using satire when confronting many of the racial microaggressions (and not so "micro" aggressions) I have to deal with.

Whatever your race, go read this book.
Actually, if you're white, you really should read this book. ( )
  Isa_Lavinia | Sep 10, 2013 |
I did not like this book. I found it offensive and it is hard to offend me. why do you need to know how to be black? I do not have a trove of positive things to say about this one so i will simply stop. ( )
  vtlucania | Jul 19, 2013 |
It's not quite four stars, but I am feeling generous because this was a very welcome, brisk read after slogging through a couple of long novels recently.

It's very funny, of course (there was an Excel joke that had me snorting like a warthog), and smart. Thurston writes about his personal experience as a black man in America and uses it to illustrate points about some current issues related to race. He does an admirable job of outlining things that have happened to him personally and connecting them to larger cultural themes while underscoring the point that there is no universal black experience.

A lot of the humor works the best, I suspect, for people are already at least somewhat familiar with social justice culture, which would include most people his age or younger who attended a liberal arts college, or anyone who gets why articles in the Onion about race are funny. By the end, I did have a twinge of "okay, now what?"

I would also like to know how much time he has spent examining his own privilege (see what I did there? it's the kind of book that leads to social justice jokes), which is apparently the ability to NEVER SLEEP, because I was exhausted reading about the time he went to Harvard and became actively involved with a hundred and seventy eight different organizations, taking on leadership roles in each, or then graduated and worked at six hundred jobs. Is there anything this man isn't involved in? A blog he doesn't read? A political discourse he isn't engaged in? It made me wish he had included a section in the book specifically aimed at normal people. A lot of the time, I feel like I'm having a good day if I work through lunch to finish a budget report so I can leave the office on time to pick up the baby from the sitter and then cram dinner into everyone while keeping the laundry train moving. Tips for when and how to be contributing to the progress of society would be greatly appreciated. ( )
  delphica | Apr 26, 2013 |
Memoir, satire, insightful, funny. An excellent light read, and a damn serious one. I want the audiobook now. ( )
  scatterall | Apr 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062003216, Hardcover)

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."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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."… (more)

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» see all 2 descriptions

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