How to Be Black

How to Be Black

by Baratunde Thurston

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New York Times Bestseller

Baratunde Thurston’s comedic memoir chronicles his coming-of-blackness and offers practical advice on everything from “How to Be the Black Friend” to “How to Be the (Next) Black President”.

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. It is also for anyone who can read, possesses intelligence, loves to laugh, and has ever felt a distance between who they know themselves to be and what the world expects.

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.

“As a black woman, this book helped me realize I’m actually a white man.”—Patton Oswalt


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062098047
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 99,173
File size: 956 KB

About the Author

Baratunde Thurston is the director of digital at The Onion, the cofounder of Jack & Jill Politics, a stand-up comedian, and a globe-trotting speaker. He was named one of the 100 most influential African-Americans of 2011 by The Root and one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine. Baratunde resides in Brooklyn and lives on Twitter (@baratunde).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Thanks for Celebrating Black History Month by Acquiring This Book 1

Where Did You Get That Name? 17

When Did You First Realize You Were Black? 23

Mama Thurston 31

How Black Are You? 41

Do You Know What an Oreo Is? 51

Wealth-Related Horse Violence 57

Why Are You Wearing That White Man Over Your Heart? 63

The U.S. Propaganda Machine: A Middle School Paper 69

The White Student Union 75

How to Be The Black Friend 79

How to Speak for All Black People 89

Have You Ever Wanted to Not Be Black? 101

Can You Swim? 109

Going Black to Africa 115

But I Don't Want to Kill People 125

Being Black at Harvard 133

How to Be The Black Employee 147

How to Be The Angry Negro 171

How to Be The (Next) Black President 179

How's That Post-Racial Thing Working Out for Ya? 201

The Future of Blackness 209

Afterword: Race Work and Art-The Black Panel Speaks 225

Acknowledgments 253

What People are Saying About This

Christian Lander

“One of the smartest and funniest books I’ve ever read.”

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