How to Be Black

  • by Baratunde Thurston
  • Narrated by Baratunde Thurston
  • 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2013
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?
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 30 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 listeners 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, author 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Funny yet insightful!

Of course the title catches your attention (especially if your black) and the reviews of the book made it a must listen for me. I was listening "A Dance With Dragons" and the mere fact I could take a break from that book to complete this one speaks highly of it!

I love self narrated titles of this particular genre. The author/narrator brings across a light and funny feel for the book even though it does contain some very serious and poignant facts. Satire, irony and general comedic enjoyment is rampant in this title and you will actually find yourself saying your name at the end of the book as the narrator instructed. I particular like the chapter about 'Being the Black Employee" and "How to be an Angry Black Person". He made an EXCELLENT decision in incorporating the likes of Damali Ayo, Christian Lander and Jacquetta Szathmari for added perspective on various topics.

This book is not all about the laughs though, even through the laughs you learn (which is the best way to learn) and gives some semblance of guidance to simply survive in Black America. It is an interesting perspective to view as someone who grows up in a country (Jamaica) where everyone is black... Gives me a bit more insight on how being Black in America is to an extent.
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- Theodore ""A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons"

Excellent performance by the author

Would you listen to How to Be Black again? Why?

Wanna know How To Be Black? Listen to Baratunde Thurston's hilarious book! I read a publisher's review copy and it's a laugh out loud riot. Baratunde briefs you on the ins and outs of growing up black in the same white, East Coast elite school that Obama's kids attend and offers tips on how to be a friend of the black community. This book turns racism upside down, backwards, slant ways and every other way. I enjoyed the review copy so much, I just had to support the author by purchasing the audio version. Besides, Baratunde is a smart and eloquent speaker and the audiobook format is a no-brainer for consuming this memoir.

If you haven't had the privilege of knowing and following the hyper-connected Baratunde on Twitter as I have since the early days, fret not. It's not too late to get to know him and come to appreciate his quick wit and astute observations of technology, culture, and blackness. Baratunde's position as director of digital at The Onion lends comedic credence to this fantastic book that helps white Americans get in touch with all things black, just in time for Black History Month.

NB: If you're white, it won't turn you black. If you're black, it might help you to understand the dynamic with non-blacks.

What did you like best about this story?

The guidebook style format intermingled with anecdotes of the author's life gives a sneak peek into his life and the

Have you listened to any of Baratunde Thurston’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

If you don't watch this film, your're a racist.

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- James

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-31-2012
  • Publisher: HarperAudio