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As a 6'2" dreadlocked black man, Tyler Merritt knows what it feels like to be stereotyped as threatening, which can have dangerous consequences. But he also knows that proximity to people who are different from ourselves can be a cure for racism.
Tyler Merritt's video "Before You Call the Cops" has been viewed millions of times. He's appeared on Jimmy Kimmel
and Sports Illustrated
and has been profiled in the New York Times
. The viral video's main point--the more you know someone, the more empathy, understanding, and compassion you have for that person--is the springboard for this book. By sharing his highs and exposing his lows, Tyler welcomes us into his world in order to help bridge the divides that seem to grow wider every day.
In I Take My Coffee Black,
Tyler tells hilarious stories from his own life as a black man in America. He talks about growing up in a multi-cultural community and realizing that he wasn't always welcome, how he quit sports for musical theater (that's where the girls were) to how Jesus barged in uninvited and changed his life forever (it all started with a Triple F.A.T. Goose jacket) to how he ended up at a small Bible college in Santa Cruz because he thought they had a great theater program (they didn't). Throughout his stories, he also seamlessly weaves in lessons about privilege, the legacy of lynching and sharecropping and why you don't cross black mamas. He teaches readers about the history of encoded racism that still undergirds our society today.
By turns witty, insightful, touching, and laugh-out-loud funny, I Take My Coffee Black
paints a portrait of black manhood in America and enlightens, illuminates, and entertains--ultimately building the kind of empathy that might just be the antidote against the racial injustice in our society.