How to Be Black

How to Be Black

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The Onion's Baratunde Thurston shares his 30-plus years of expertise in being black, with helpful essays like "How to Be the Black Friend," "How to Speak for All Black People," "How To Celebrate Black History Month," and more, in this satirical guide to race issues--written for black people and those who love them. Audacious, cunning, and razor-sharp, How to Be Black exposes the mass-media's insidiously racist, monochromatic portrayal of black culture's richness and variety. Fans of Stuff White People Like, This Week in Blackness, and Ending Racism in About an Hour will be captivated, uplifted, incensed, and inspired by this hilarious and powerful attack on America's blacklisting of black culture: Baratunde Thurston's How to Be Black.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : HarperCollins, 2012
Edition: 1st Harper pbk. ed.. --
ISBN: 9780062003225
Branch Call Number: 818.602 Thurs
Characteristics: viii, 254 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 09, 2017

A good read. The better sections relate to the author's experiences. If I had to sum up the work in a sentence, it would be this:

Don't let others force a definition of what it means to be black upon you; if you are black, being black is being you.

Levi_1 Jul 05, 2014

I did not believe in bad literature until I encountered this book, at first glance it is quite humorous and Baratunde is able to grasp your attention, but the further you progress into this book, you only wish that it was as good as the intro. This feels less than a book but a jam-packed book filled with blog-isque writing. No congregate chronological path with thrown about stories which do little to teach the reader lessons. Along the lines as a waste of time, there is little to learn here and not much humor, most of which is very dry. I would almost say I would prefer to read some more of the others perspectives rather then his. (Thurston uses others peoples perspectives through out the book). Perhaps it is because I grew up in Brooklyn but almost all of this is not necessary to read because everything seems like "common sense". If you enjoy bad books then knock yourself out, forcing myself to get through this one was out of habit.

Jul 22, 2013

A hilarious yet insightful look into the complexities of race relations in the U.S. If you're a fan of The Onion, you know you'll like this, since Baratunde is one of the editors.

crankylibrarian Apr 08, 2013

Baratunde Thurston is a pretty funny guy, although the best jokes in this memoir/stand-up routine are in the introduction. Part autobiography, part humorous manifesto, _How To Be Black_ chronicles Thurston's inner city childhood, private school education and successful career at Harvard and in corporate America, using his experiences to illustrate the perils of being "The Black Friend", "The Black Employee" (his chapter on corporate diversity programs is especially apt), "The Black Spokesperson" and, inevitably "The Angry Negro". Accompanied by essays both humorous and thoughtful by a panel of "professional black people" (plus a token Canadian), Thurston's trip down the memory lane of marginalization will evoke a chorus of "Mmm hmms" from anyone who's ever dreaded being served watermelon at the company picnic.


Spot-on social and political satire by a black Harvard grad. Draws on his own experience as well as others' and current events.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at WPL

To Top