12.29.2012

How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

How to Be BlackHow to Be Black by Baratunde R. Thurston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great satirical look at race that I enjoyed and could completely relate to. The book is part memoir--Baratunde Thurston discusses his childhood--living in a rough DC neighborhood at the height of the crack-cocaine epidemic, yet attending Sidwell Friends school and getting Chelsea Clinton to sign his yearbook. It's also part guidebook: he provides "guidance" on "How To Be the Black Friend," "How to Be the Black Employee," "How To Speak for All Black People," etc. I've been "the" black friend and "the" black employee, so these made me laugh. (He lets you know upfront that the book will not turn non-black people into black people. I think it's still worth them reading the book for funny insights into what black people go through.) The chapter on "How To Be the Next Black President" was a bit too long, but still amusing.

Baratunde also interviewed other comedians, bloggers, artists [4 (or was it 5?) black people and one white guy--the creator of the "Stuff White People Like" blog] for their take on race relations, so the book is also part social commentary.

I read the book on my Kindle, but from reading the reviews here, it sounds like I should check out the audio book as well, to actually hear the interviews. I definitely look forward to that.

Here's an interview with Baratunde so you can hear about the book in his own words:

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