In the summer of 1972, when Brian Copeland was eight, his family moved from Oakland to San Leandro, California. At the time, San Leandro was 99.99% white and widely considered one of the most racist enclaves in the nation. This reputation was confirmed immediately: Brian got his first look at the inside of a cop car after walking to the park with a baseball bat in hand. Days later, Brian was turned away by several barbers who said we don t cut that kind of hair. And that Christmas, while shopping at a local department store, Brian was accused of stealing and forced to empty his pockets in front of store security.
It was a time that Brian spent his adult years trying to forget, until one day an anonymous letter arrived that forced him to reevaluate his childhood: As an African American, I am disgusted every time I hear your voice because YOU are not a genuine black man!
A poignant and disarming memoir about growing up black in an all-white suburb, Not a Genuine Black Man is also a powerful contemplation on the meaning of race, and a thoughtful examination of how our surroundings make us who we are.
Brian Copeland is a comedian whose KGO radio program is the most popular in its time slot. Not a Genuine Black Man is currently in development as an HBO series. Copeland lives in San Leandro, California.
“In this funny memoir about racism (it sounds strange, but that's what this is), Copeland's wit is the spoonful of sugar that helps his sad stories go down…it's a forum for his lingering bafflement over the insidious tactics of racism. ‘Can you believe these things happened?’ he seems to ask on every page. We can only laugh at his jokes and wish we could say ‘No.’”
— New York Times
Publication Date: March 8, 2008
trim size: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8