So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race

eBook - 2019
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In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America


Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy—from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans—have made it impossible to ignore the issue of race. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair—and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?


In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.


"Oluo gives us—both white people and people of color—that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases."

—National Book Review


"Generous and empathetic, yet usefully blunt . . . it's for anyone who wants to be smarter and more empathetic about matters of race and engage in more productive anti-racist action."

Salon (Required Reading)

Publisher: Basic Books

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Emminoh
Mar 12, 2021

As a white female, I think this is a must read for all whites in America. Ms. Oluo is pointed in her writing which is necessary and helpful. She makes things so clear and I appreciate the specific examples. So much needed information in helping to be better understand what it is to be black in America. I also appreciate the unique perspective she brought as a queer black woman. She explains why it's so important to pull everyone up at the same time. We (all persons) need to spend more time understanding the privileges we have simply because of the body we are born into. I highly recommend this book!

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zenmark29
Mar 07, 2021

As a cisgender white male I've done a lot of reading and study to understand the system in which I find myself. Ms. Oluo has written a very readable, understandable, personal, and pragmatic guide that helped me think through and understand race, racism, my role in it, and what I can do better. I'm deeply appreciative and highly recommend her work. I believe I can apply what I've learned from her book to be a better ally.

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paynejoc
Feb 04, 2021

I liked that there are so many ways to access this book. I want to listen to it but I don't want a device.

I also liked the summary section that provided info about availability. It would be more helpful to know which way of accessing which mode of the book is actually available.

p
plattsla
Dec 10, 2020

An important primer for discussing and confronting systemic racism. Not an easy, comfortable read but it shouldn't be!

Tigard_HalstedB Oct 20, 2020

This book should be required reading for all white Americans trying to educate ourselves about systemic racism and structural injustice. It is not an easy read, nor should it be.

d
davidgut76
Oct 14, 2020

Definitely a worthwhile read (or listen). Discusses how we we should approach conversations about race, as well as many stories about the author's negative experiences while growing up.

s
SAUSTIN0821
Oct 01, 2020

Before I read this book, I read Oluo's article that she wrote about her interview with Rachel Dolezal. In that piece, her frustration at the act of racism in front of her, followed by sadness at the world that created that brand of racism, is palpable. I wasn't surprised to see that parts of this book read much the same way. As she reveals tales from her personal life, you can feel this sequence of emotions rise up often. But each chapter follows up an anecdote with crucial talking points that anybody can use to face these issues head-on. She poses points that likely make white readers uncomfortable (and they should!), and offers steps as to what people should do differently and why. I think this is a thorough and extremely effective read for anyone who wants to have conversations about race but doesn't know just how to start.

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angelica_sagie
Aug 23, 2020

I don't think you could find a more accessible book on this topic anywhere. Oluo's writing is powerful, captivating, and engaging. It tells the stories that white people need to hear about how their actions negatively affect the lives of people of color. It's also a call to action to directly address racism within yourself and others to dismantle the system of white supremacy that costs people of color their mental and physical health (and lives) every day. Oluo shows her anger and indignation at these systems of oppression while simultaneously showing compassion and understanding for people trying to do better. She provides accessible ways to take action that anybody can and should do. Nobody has the excuse not to read this book.

k
kaseybreda
Aug 22, 2020

255 pages

j
josieschneiderSI
Aug 19, 2020

Oluo pulls no punches in this often uncomfortable, but absolutely essential discussion of systemic racism and the role white Americans play in keeping it alive. She covers tough topics such as privilege, police brutality, microaggressions, and racial slurs while offering specific steps each of us can take to advocate for social justice reform. This is a book that everyone should read and refer back to again and again.

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acornsandnuts
Mar 10, 2019

Because the needs of the most privileged are usually the ones prioritized, they are often the only ones considered when discussing solutions to oppression and inequality. These solutions, not surprisingly, often leave the underprivileged populations in our movements behind.

a
acornsandnuts
Mar 09, 2019

Racial oppression should always be an emotional topic to discuss. It should always be anger-inducing. As long as racism exists to ruin the lives of countless people of color, it should be something that upsets us. But it upsets us because it exists, not because we want to talk about it. And if you are white, and you don't want to feel any of that pain by having these conversations, then you are asking people of color to continue to bear the entire burden of racism alone.

a
acornsandnuts
Mar 09, 2019

Even in our class and labor movements, the promise that you will get more because others exist to get less, calls to people. It tells you to focus on the majority first. It tells you that the grievances of people of color, or disabled people, or transgender people, or women are divisive... it has you believing in trickle-down social justice.

a
acornsandnuts
Mar 09, 2019

This promise -- you will get more because they exist to get less -- is woven throughout our entire society. Our politics, our education system, our infrastructure -- anywhere there is a finite amount of power, influence, visibility, wealth, or opportunity. Anywhere in which someone might miss out. Anywhere there might not be enough.

a
acornsandnuts
Mar 09, 2019

Race was not only created to justify a racially exploitative economic system, it was invented to lock people of color into the bottom of it. Racism in America exists to exclude people of color from opportunity and progress so there is more profit for others deemed superior. The profit itself is the greater promise for nonracialized people -- you will get more because they exist to get less.

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Naya14
Jun 03, 2020

Naya14 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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josieschneiderSI
Aug 19, 2020

Ijeoma Oluo explores the history of systemic racism and how it benefits white Americans while harming people of color. She also answers questions people are often scared to ask concerning cultural appropriation, affirmative action, police brutality, and other important topics.

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