How To Be Black

How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

Audible (audio book read by Baratunde!) 
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What People Are Saying

"Part autobiography, part stand-up routine, part contemporary political analysis, and astute all over, “How to Be Black” might do more to expose and explore the shifting dynamics of race in America than all the Pew data of the past decade. Reading this book made me both laugh and weep with poignant recognition. Baratunde Thurston has given us a hysterical, irreverent exploration of one of America’s most painful and enduring issues. He captures the alchemy of familial narratives, community socialization, and individual volition that makes blackness a complex performance of the self.
“How to be Black” is the must read text of the so-called post-racial moment.”
          - Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC host
          and columnist for THE NATION

"As a black woman, this book helped me realize I’m actually a white man."
          - Patton Oswalt, author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

“If you don’t buy this book, you’re a racist.”
          - Baratunde Thurston, author of How To Be Black

About The Book

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 over thirty years’ experience in 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 of HOW TO BE BLACK (Harper; February 2012; $23.99)

Combining personal memoir, interviews, irreverent how-to, and resource guides to meet every reader’s blackness needs, this book 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.”

For additional perspective, Baratunde assembled an award-winning Black Panel—three black women, three black men, and one white man as a control group—and asked them such revealing questions as: “When Did You First Realize You Were Black?” “How Black Are You?” “Can You Swim?”

The Black Panel

Cheryl Contee, co-founder of the blog Jack & Jill Politics
damali ayo, author of How To Rent a Negro, conceptual artist and comedian
Elon James White, creator of the web video series This Week in Blackness
Jacquetta Szathmari, creator of That’s Funny. You Didn’t Sound Black on the Phone
W. Kamau Bell, creator of the W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour
Derrick Ashong, co-founder of the band Soulfege and host of The Stream on Al Jazeera English
Christian Lander, author of Stuff White People Like

Ernest Wilkins from Chicago’s Red Eye interviews Baratunde:

Choice Quotes from the book: