How To Be Black

Baratunde Thurston is the CEO, co-founder, and hashtagger-in-chief of Cultivated Wit. He wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black and served for five years as director of digital for the satirical news outlet, The Onion. He writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company and contributes to the MIT Media Lab as a director’s fellow.He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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The Boondocks

User Submitted: The time I realized I was white.

A note from me about this submission: I wish this reader all the strength in the world to withstand the traumas of white privilege and also remind him or her that love of tacos does not a Latino make.

One day, I woke up and looked down and was like, “DAMN.  I’M WHITE!!”  This was really disheartening because I love tacos so much that I thought I was a full-blooded Latino.  It’s just so sad, because it is just SO difficult living with white privilege, you know, with the higher salary, absence of housing discrimination, and the ability to walk down the street without every suburban housewife reaching for their mace.  I have learned to live with my whiteness, but one day, I hope that people will except those of all colors, including the whites.

User Submitted: Black History Month: Separate but Equal

A note from me about this submission: Frustration over Black History having a month isn’t new but I like this personal story of past teachers. For the record, Black History Month began as Negro History Week and was proposed by Carter G. Woodson. The expansion to a month was the work of black students at Kent State University in the late 1960s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_History_Month#Negro_History_Week_.281926.29

Black History month pisses me off. Why isn’t it just part of “history”? When I was a kid, I learned about Frederick Douglass and George Washington Carver and Harriet Tubman right alongside Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and Amelia Earhart etc. Of course, my 6th grade teachers history teacher was black, so that might’ve motivated her to include them in our history lessons in our mostly white town. And I leaned about Jackie Robinson from Mr. Morrison our math and science teacher, who might have played pro baseball, except he was older than Jackie Robinson, and was simply not allowed. He made a better living teaching white children decimals than he could in the negro leagues. But man he was still great to watch him play baseball, he was just awe inspiring. Of course it’s great to insist on including “black history” in school curriculum but really, “separate but equal”? NOT. What, is the rest of the year white anglo saxon straight male history?? Am I an idiot or what, for not realizing that that goes without saying?