Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump

Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump

by Ben Philippe
Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump

Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump

by Ben Philippe


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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good white person of liberal leanings must be in want of a Black friend.

In the biting, hilarious vein of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life comes Ben Philippe’s candid memoir-in-essays, chronicling a lifetime of being the Black friend (see also: foreign kid, boyfriend, coworker, student, teacher, roommate, enemy) in predominantly white spaces.  

In an era in which “I have many black friends” is often a medal of Wokeness, Ben hilariously chronicles the experience of being on the receiving end of those fist bumps. He takes us through his immigrant childhood, from wanting nothing more than friends to sit with at lunch, to his awkward teenage years, to college in the age of Obama, and adulthood in the Trump administration—two sides of the same American coin.

Ben takes his role as your new black friend seriously, providing original and borrowed wisdom on stereotypes, slurs, the whole “swimming thing,” how much Beyoncé is too much Beyoncé, Black Girl Magic, the rise of the Karens, affirmative action, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other conversations you might want to have with your new BBFF.

Oscillating between the impulse to be "one of the good ones" and the occasional need to excuse himself to the restrooms, stuff his mouth with toilet paper, and scream, Ben navigates his own Blackness as an "Oreo" with too many opinions for his father’s liking, an encyclopedic knowledge of CW teen dramas, and a mouth he can't always control.

 From cheating his way out of swim tests to discovering stray family members in unlikely places, he finds the punchline in the serious while acknowledging the blunt truths of existing as a Black man in today’s world.

Extremely timely, Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend is a conversational take on topics both light and heavy, universal and deeply personal, which reveals incisive truths about the need for connection in all of us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780063026445
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 04/27/2021
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,026,417
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ben Philippe is a New York–based writer and screenwriter, born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He also teaches film studies and screenwriting at Barnard College. He is the author of the William C. Morris Award–winning novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager. Find him online at

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Sure, I'll Be Your Black Tell-All Writer 1

2 Ten Things to Know Before Befriending Me, or "Which Black Guy Are You Getting?" 20

3 The First Gift 34

4 Sure, I'll Be Your Black Canadian 37

5 Sure, I'll Be Your Black Foreign Kid 46

6 Sure, I'll Be Your Anchor Baby 53

7 Sure, I'll Be Your Black Son 60

8 Sure, I'll Be Your Black Boyfriend 66

9 How to Go through Life without Drowning, Part I 76

10 Sure, I Guess I'll Be Your Classic Name-Brand Cookie 81

11 How to Go through Life without Drowning, Part II 86

12 Boomerangs Come Back 89

13 From Another Mother 98

14 I Was Promised Ballplayers and Rap Stars, Addicted to the Limelight 104

15 Sure, I'll Be Your Woke Black Friend 112

16 Sherman Klump v. Buddy Love 118

17 Ivory Skin, Eyes of Something Green 126

18 Sister, Sister 139

19 Sure, I'll Be Your Black Guy-Emphasis on Guy 151

20 How to Go through Life without Drowning, Part III 158

21 Song of the South 169

22 Sure, I'll Be Your Accessory to Larceny 181

23 Sure, I'll Be Your One That Got Away 186

24 Black Ghost Goes, "Boo!" 201

25 Sure, I'll Be Your Black Sidekick 210

26 Sure, I'll Be Your 2016 Shithole Rescapee 222

27 Smile Through It 231

28 How to Live Strictly on Common Grounds 236

29 Sure, I'll Be Your Bl- RACE WARS!!! 241

30 One of the Good Ones 256

31 Conclusion: How to Thrive in a Black Body at Any Age 262

Lexicon to a Black Experience Narrative 281

Acknowledgments 298

Notes 299

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