“If you don't buy this book, you're a racist.” - Science
In February 2012, How To Be Black became Baratunde’s first book published by someone not named Baratunde. Released by Harper in digital, audio, and print formats, the book became a New York Times best-seller. NPR’s Terry Gross talked with Baratunde about the book, recorded that conversation, and distributed it to the world.
The book is a comedic memoir, chronicling Baratunde’s coming-of-blackness from his early childhood raised by an Afrocentric single mother in Washington, D.C. through his education at The Sidwell Friends School and Harvard and into his first job making PowerPoint presentations in a field known as “consulting.”
The biographical story is periodically punctuated by satirical “lessons learned” chapters such as “How To Be The Black Friend,” “How To Speak For All Black People,” and “How To Be The (Next) Black President.” Finally, the book includes interviews with a panel of black experts, which is to say, black people (plus one white Canadian male as a scientific control group).
The book is written for anyone who can read, possesses intelligence, loves to laugh, and has ever felt a distance between who they know themselves to be and what the world expects.