I Take My Coffee Black -- An Eye-Opening and Humorous Book about Being Black & Christian in America


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Remember back in June of 2020 when all over Facebook and social media white people were looking for ways to learn more about what it is like to be Black in America? We wanted book recommendations. We were asking our Black friends for information. We wanted to stand with them. We wanted to support them. Black Lives Matter protests were happening everywhere. And now a bit more than a year later it seems to have died down. Like we often do we have moved on but that does not mean there isn't still a reason to be concerned for or support Black people. It does not mean we shouldn't be looking for ways to better understand what it truly is like to be Black in America. Today I am sharing a wonderful book full of one Black, Christian man's life experience. This book is full of humor, truth and life. It is I Take My Coffee Black by Tyler Merritt. 

From the Publisher:

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.

From Me:

This book is not my normal reading. It is hilarious but also intense. There are so many emotions woven through the book as well as a white woman reading the book. It is taking me longer than usual to read a book this size. Now granted it is not a children's book or even young adult book which is my usual reading these days to share with you, but this book is full of wonderful stories and when I'm reading it I don't want to put it down. I do lose track of time reading it. As a result I am not always picking it up to read for a few minutes when I have them because I know I won't stop when I need to. I also have not finished reading it but I wanted to share it with you because it is amazing.

The messages in this book are intense but Tyler shares with us a way to help us get past the hate and the stereotypes. He talks about how we need proximity. We need to be close and know one another so we aren't looking at the differences as a problem or something to fear. We need more empathy for one another and this comes from being close and understanding each other's life better. He truly opens up his life to us. He shares moments that many of us would not share. He is transparent with his feelings, actions, etc. I honestly felt like I was having a conversation with a friend while reading it. He is so open about everything. 

This book is powerful. It opens your eyes in so many different ways. If you are white like I am, it shares a view into the truth of what it is like to be Black. He shares his own discovery of Jesus and what that means to him. He takes you on the adventures and exploration of his life. Whether it is making friends, dating, discovering drama or learning about Christianity each story is real and intense but filled with his humor. He even shares when he realized life was different for him versus his non-Black friends. No matter your race or religion this is a book you want to read! Please check it out!