Essay on Analysis Of Baratunde Thurston 's ' The Black Panel '

Essay on Analysis Of Baratunde Thurston 's ' The Black Panel '

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How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurston is a hilarious account of Baratunde’s life coupled with input from “The Black Panel” (which included one white man to keep things diversified). It’s through his comical approach that the reader is forced to look earnestly and seriously at the issues the black community faces every single day. Baratunde starts by having the reader asses their “celebratory skills” concerning Black History Month. This introduction is both humorous and engaging, pulling the reader deeper into memoir. He then addresses many stereotypical questions and assumptions around black culture, including swimming, emotions, careers, school, drugs, Africa, names, “level of blackness”, and more. He shares memories of his mother and father, experiences being the “minority” in a mostly white school, and dealing with Nigerian’s who refused to accept his name, not to mention his participation in an Ankobia program taught by Pan-African activists. By the end of the 254 pages all readers have a fuller, clearer, and more vibrant understanding of the challenges, experiences, and defining moments of Baratunde’s life.
Baratunde is a comedian, digital advisor and co-creator of Jack & Jill Politics. He is considered creative and original, as well as one of the most influential African-American’s in today’s society. Based off of a life with an culturally aware mother, Baratunde was never confused about with ethnicity and his race. His mother kept artwork reflecting the soul of her black awareness and his name, though confusing to others in pronunciation, remained a source of connection for him to his roots in Africa. From then on he used his experiences dealing with racism and stereotypes as lessons to help him maneuver through life a litt...


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...ston). This opened my eyes to scenarios where racially prejudice families might in fact, be racist and not be able to act on it due to the difference in values as newer generations become more and more accepting and curious of other ethnicities. Discrimination has yet to be abolished, but as younger generations, as found in Takaki’s book as well, become more informed, I have no doubt it will soon be.
This book contains a lot of information and opinions given from both the author and his panel for the purpose of entertainment and enlightenment. With the help of comical phrasing and raw experience, a wonderful narrative in the form of “how to” opened my mind to bettering my understanding of black culture as it relates to the USA. As I deal with figuring out my own identity, it helps tremendously to see how other non-white individuals find their way, struggles and all.

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