BLACK VOICES
11/15/2012 06:23 pm ET | Updated Nov 15, 2012

Baratunde Thurston's 'How To Be Black' Humorously Answers An Age Old Question

It's an age old question that has fueled many debates--what does it really mean to be black?

Author Baratunde Thurston seems to have the answer. In his new book "How To Be Black" Thurston explores this question while humorously recounting his own experiences.

"If you don't have a sense of humor this book will upset you greatly," Thurston said in an interview on Huff Post Live.

He insists his satire filled book is not racist and encourages everyone to read his book, including white people.

NPR described the tome as "a practical guidebook for anyone looking to befriend or work with a black person, become the next black president or challenge anyone who says they speak for all black people."

The novelist cites growing up in a drug infested Washington D.C. neighborhood with a single mother, his connection to afro centrism, and his impressive academic record as factors that helped shaped his experiences as a black man in America.

But Thurston said he wasn't interested in playing into the overtold narrative of life in the inner city. His book centers more on the day to day life of a black man and leaves the tales of life in the ghetto for the film makers.

One chapter of the New York Times bestselling "instruction manual" describes how to be a black employee, which was inspired by Thurston's experience as a black man working in a corporate environment.

He also shares what it's like to be a black student at Harvard University among old money donors and elite members of academia.

"How To Be Black" is in the comedic vein of other race related tomes such as the cult favorite "Stuff White People Like," a book that pokes fun at the many facets of "white culture" or "Not A Black Man" a candid memoir about growing up black in a predominantly white suburb.

According to Thurston his novel is not so much a literal step by step guide but a story of learning to accept the idiosyncrasies that made him who he is.

"My version of being black adheres as much to the stereotypes as it dramatically breaks from them," Thurston says in "How to Be Black."

"And that's probably true for most of you reading this: if not about blackness itself, then about something related to your identity."

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