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How to Be Black

by Baratunde Thurston

If You Don't Buy This Book, You're a Racist. Have you ever been called "too black" or "not black enough"? Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person? 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 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. Beyond memoir, this guidebook 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." To provide additional perspective, Baratunde assembled an award-winning Black Panel-three black women, three black men, and one white man (Christian Lander of Stuff White People Like)-and asked them such revealing questions as: "When Did You First Realize You Were Black?" "How Black Are You?" "Can You Swim?" The result is a humorous, intelligent, and audacious guide that challenges and satirizes the so-called experts, purists, and racists who purport to speak for all black people. With honest storytelling and biting wit, Baratunde plots a path not just to blackness, but one open to anyone interested in simply "how to be."

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