How To Be Black

On my most recent trip to Barnes and Noble, my boyfriend and I were on the quest to finally obtain a copy of Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, a book that we have been meaning to read together for a while now. We found two copies but the covers were badly damaged so we were escorted to the Humor section to find some more. While waiting for the associate to check the back stock, I began to scan through the shelves and found How To Be Black. As I glossed through the first two pages, I found myself laughing (out loud) for real, not the “I will type lol with a stone cold face” way. This was enough to warrant its purchase.

I can imagine how it appeared. Me, a white girl, walking alongside my black boyfriend, carrying a book entitled How To Be Black. Will I be undergoing some initiation to further our relationship? Is it mere anthropological research? Or am I dating him as a mere cover for my desire to be of another race? And that is exactly the beauty of the book, and we are only discussing its title. The uneasiness that it evokes clearly demonstrates that we do not exist in this postracial fallacy that we desperately want to exist. Race continues to drive institutions and society itself. Racism exists.  Continue reading

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We Should Hang Out Sometime

Josh is on a mission: why has he never had a girlfriend? The plan is simple, recall all the close encounters that he has had with women to determine what went wrong. What about him caused them to never take the plunge for the title of boyfriend and girlfriend? Each chapter is devoted to one almost-but-not-quite-girlfriend with their name being the title. After reviewing the background of each lucky lady, Josh comes up with a hypothesis as to why their relationship never bloomed. These hypotheses typically involve some type of self-deprecation on his behalf: Subject was interested but due to some mishap on his end and/or his awkward personality, she lost interest. Josh then arranges a meeting with each woman to hear their side of the story. Ironically, most of them wanted to be in a relationship with him- aside from one rather awkward encounter in which the woman was unable to recall the events between the two of them. The answers that they provide are not necessarily fulfilling to Josh or the reader, and his attempts to reconnect are met with failure, but this is the real world. Continue reading