Not a Genuine Black Man: Or, How I Claimed My Piece of Ground in the Lily-White Suburbs

Brian Copeland, Author . Hyperion $22.95 (250p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0233-7

This memoir offers a candid and funny response to those who question the racial authenticity of successful black men. After receiving a letter asserting that he is "not a genuine black man," Copeland—comic, actor, radio, talk show host—tries to understand the qualifications needed to earn the classification: "I can't swim. That's black. But I can't play basketball either." Raised in San Leandro, a suburb bordering Oakland, Calif., Copeland delves into his experiences as a lone black child struggling to blend in among a white majority. His mother attempted to assimilate in any way possible, converting to Catholicism and taking her family to "brunch" after church, despite resistance from whites. Copeland details a futile search for a barber who would consent to cut his hair, being searched by a security guard while trying to shop and receiving an eviction notice based purely on the color of the family's skin. Copeland's comedic talent is evident throughout the book, though he concedes that he uses laughter to keep the pain at bay and endured a time when he descended into depression. Honest and engaging, this memoir is a valuable book for anyone trying to straddle racial lines, for anyone who has ever felt out of place. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 978-1-4013-8570-5
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-1-59692-311-9
Ebook - 978-1-4013-8568-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4013-8571-2
Ebook - 978-1-4013-8621-4
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4013-8569-9
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 978-1-4013-8620-7
Open Ebook - 143 pages - 978-0-316-28906-1
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!