PBS News Hour recently sat down with stand-up comedian and digital director of America’s satirical news source, The Onion, Baratunde Thurston about his book How To Be Black. The book, which came out this past January, combines elements of satire with a memoir. How To Be Black‘s tagline reads, “If You Don’t Buy This Book, You’re A Racist,” which appropriately captures Thurston’s self-awarely outlandish sense of humor. Thurston also interviewed people who he calls “top blackness experts,” a.k.a. several people who are black, plus one white person, on their views on topics like post-racial America and swimming (naturally).
“For so long ideas of the black experience have been heavily influenced by civil rights as well as mainstream images in the media of what blackness is,” Thurston tells PBS. “I thought, through a personal story, in the age of a biracial/black president in 2012, it was time for a different younger voice to use comedy to [discuss the black experience] because it can be really awkward and people don’t necessarily want to talk about race.”
Check out Thurston below discuss why he wrote the book. And then be sure to pick up said book here.