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Tyler Merritt’s video “Before You Call the Cops” has been viewed more than 59 million 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–that the more you know someone, the more empathy, understanding, and compassion you have for that person–is the springboard for this book, which lets us deeply into Tyler’s life and his world 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. He shares 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 revolved around a Triple Fat 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 and the legacy of lynching and sharecropping and why you don’t cross black mamas, teaching readers about the history of encoded racism that still undergirds our society today.

By turns witty, insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny, I Take My Coffee Black paints a portrait of black manhood in America and enlightens, illuminates, and entertains–and, ultimately, builds the kind of empathy that might just be the antidote against the racial injustice in our society.