Etiquette for real people who live real lives. In Basic Black, Karen Grigsby Bates and Karen Elyse Hudson have gathered those elements that are, well, just basic to making life more livable–and they've added something specific to modern life. The information in Basic Black goes from "CP Time" to "Don't You Dare," from addressing your wedding invitations to addressing a police officer who has perhaps arbitrarily stopped you as you're driving through the city. It covers traditional etiquette, such as table settings, being a good host, letter writing, and tipping. Basic Black covers the essentials of black American tradition: joining a church, mentoring young people, planning a funeral, family reunions, participating in clubs and organizations. In addition, some delicate areas seldom discussed in other etiquette books are addressed here, such as race in the workplace, handling service people who are less than enthusiastic about having black customers, and keeping your job and your temper when racial slurs are used in your presence.
As Bates and Hudson like to note, etiquette is about more than just which fork goes where: "As far as we're concerned, no one will die if you use the wrong fork, but we'll each lose a little piece of ourselves if we choose to live our lives without genuine respect for morality, character, kindness and other people."