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How To Be Black Paperback – Sep 26 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (Sept. 26 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062003224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062003225
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

  • Have you ever been called "too black" or "not black enough"?
  • Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person?
  • Have you ever heard of black people?
  • 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 more than 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."

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    Inside This Book

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    Customer Reviews

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    Most helpful customer reviews

    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Fraser on Oct. 30 2013
    Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
    As it is patently obvious that far too many BLKs are marginialised in our society, for totally illogical reasons, it is great to read a book which strives to restore the balance. This book does precisely that. Clearly written, well-phrased, and often witty it ought tom be read by a wide range of people, one covering the spectrum of races, but that is probably a forlorn hope as far too many, ensconced as they are in a racial/racist pigeon-hole, are satisfied with the status quo.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matt on April 25 2014
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    I bought this for one of my white wanna be black guys as a joke. But when it actually came in the mail (1week early, which was great) I started to read it. I won't put any spoilers but it is the funniest book I have ever read!
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 239 reviews
    56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
    Great satire, great commentary Jan. 31 2012
    By Jessica - Published on
    Format: Hardcover
    I've followed Baratunde on Twitter for a couple years now, and I've been anticipating this book for a while. He's hilarious, and the book is proof of it. With chapters on things like How to Be the Next Black President, how could it not?

    While the book is funny - and mostly satirical - it also comments on what it actually means to be black in the U.S. today. The personal stories that Baratunde shares are heartening, informative, allegorical and more.

    The interviews with people like Elon James White and Cheryl Contee are fantastic, too. Basically just a fantastic book.
    53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
    It's OK, I have black friends. Jan. 31 2012
    By kaimac - Published on
    Format: Hardcover
    This is the book that every lover of all things black (hip hop, basketball, being a good dancer, being a wide receiver in the NFL etc) has been waiting for. Those of you that have stood on the edges, desperately wanting to be more black but have been too scared to take the first step... this book is for you.

    The book answers important questions like:

    * Once you've gone black, can you in fact, go back?
    * What's up with those funny handshakes?
    * Can white men really not jump?
    * How can Obama be black AND Hawaiian? Confusing.
    * What sort of rims should I get on my Escalade?
    * What exactly is Grape Drank?

    Not really, but it is super funny, very touching, and an all round bloody smart read. Baratunde is the guy from the Onion who gave Donald Trump one of the best smack downs in internet history (Google it). His first book doesn't disappoint in the slightest.

    Bottom line: read it if you like funny things, are interested in race in America, or just want to raise eyebrows on the subway a bit (the last one doesn't work for the kindle version, unfortunately).
    47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    Race is Hilarious--Seriously Jan. 31 2012
    By Amazon Customer - Published on
    Format: Hardcover
    Race is a tough topic to discuss in the U.S. Baratunde Thurston makes it a whole lot easier with the humor in this book. Both a memoir of growing up black in the late 20th century and a sharp social commentary--not to mention a handy instruction manual--"How to Be Black" is a funny and thought-provoking read.
    27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    Blackness for White People Feb. 8 2012
    By AykonSilvers - Published on
    Format: Hardcover
    I am a white guy who was born and raised in rural southern Oklahoma where racism was still quite prevalent. I never considered myself racist... I had black friends, dated a few black girls and now my family and I have a foster baby who is black. This book is an amazing insight into the world that I never knew but somehow felt. I greatly enjoy listening to Baratunde describe his life and experiences mixed with a little humor and a healthy dose of satire. This is a must read for any one who has ever wondered about blackness but was too afraid to ask.
    43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
    Not about being blacki... Jan. 31 2012
    By Jigna - Published on
    Format: Hardcover
    This wonderful book is actually not about being black. It's about being you, whoever you might be. In sharing his life journey, wit, and ruminations, Baratunde helps us see that each of us is on our journey to "blackness."