The Black Punk, the Black Geek, and Other Black People You Don't Meet on TV
Baratunde Thurston's How To Be Black is neither peevish gripe nor venomous attack. Like the best satire, it convinces with wit and compassion, and offers readers a vision of a better America that's entirely within reach.
In spite of the election of a black president in 2008, the representation of black people in American media remains pretty monolithic; we get (more or less) the Sports Star, The Musician, and the Criminal. And black women are almost completely invisible. There's the rare (and not very mainstream) exception – the Boondocks, for example – but for the most part what I'm saying is an uncomfortable yet undeniable truth.
Baratunde Thurston's How To Be Black is one response to this reality – an attempt to complicate the picture through satire. Thurston assembled for the book an "expert panel of black people," none of whom fits any discernable stereotype, and asked them questions about what it means to be black in "Post-racial" America. What emerges is a picture of smart young Americans trying to be their complicated selves – and succeeding brilliantly – amid unconscious pressure from friends, family, and strangers to conform to predetermined limitations on "blackness."
The book is neither peevish gripe nor venomous attack. Like the best satire, it convinces with wit and compassion, and offers readers a vision of a better America that's entirely within reach.
Baratunde Thurston on life in "Post-racial" America
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A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
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