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
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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
What People are Saying About This
“One of the smartest and funniest books I’ve ever read.”