Why you'll like it: Satire. Comic Relief. Police Your Own Blackness.
I figured since it was released on the first day of Black History Month a few years ago, I could feature this book to start off Black History Reads as well. Baratunde made me laugh throughout this whole book. I would urge you (if you can) to get the audiobook version of this particular work and listen to it! I loved each topic, as well as his panel of commentators who contributed their own experiences. I’ve been recommending this book to kids who are coming to terms with their own identity, or may just need some less heavy handed truths to lighten the disparaging realities they have experienced. This book will help to bring humor and lighten the mental stress load on trending racial topics.
Favorite Part #1: How to Pronounce Baratunde Thurston
I was cracking up in laughter as he recounted his experiences with his name. He received an African name that is always contested by Africans. I received a racially ambiguous name with racial ambiguous looks (and apparently voice) so it made me reminiscence while laughing hysterically. I've got stories.
Favorite Part #2: When Did You First Realize You Were Black?
That chapter really struck a chord. I self-reflected on the first experience I could remember. I was in kindergarten and I was going to have a birthday party. I went to school and told my “friends” that I was having a party and they would all be invited. We were all really excited. The next day, those same kids told me they couldn’t go to my birthday party because I lived in a bad area. The correct phrase, “my mom said we can’t drive there--you could get shot, scary black people live there.”
Needless to say, recounting that experience back to my mom made for an interesting talk on the car ride home.
If you have read it, let me know what parts you liked or what you found fun about the book. Comment below or Tweet at me: @whimsylibrarian.