So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race

Book - 2018
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"A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. ...Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystalize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity."--
Publisher: New York, NY : Seal Press, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781580056779
Branch Call Number: 305.80097 OL9S 2018
Characteristics: v, 248 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism. A local author who won the Washington State Book Award in 2019 for Nonfiction.

The difficult topic of race is the mainspring in a conversational work exploring ways to think about and talk about the racial environment in an accessible way that answers questions that are not comfortably asked between people of color and white people about issues including privilege, police b... Read More »

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WCL_Rosie Jul 16, 2020

"So You Want to Talk About Race" is a great starting point for those who are new to learning about racial inequality, and the ways you may be unknowingly participating in it. There are sections of Oluo's book that are written directly towards white folks who have never experienced racism, but there are others confirming and validating the experiences of BIPOC readers. The audiobook version was particularly excellent.

reading_past_bedtime Jul 15, 2020

Bahni Turpin as the narrator of this book is brilliant. You can see by all the comments how amazing this book is, but I didn't see a shout-out to the audio version, and it is SO well done.

Jul 11, 2020

I reread several chapters in an attempt to absorb as much as possible. A great resource for talking to family.

STPL_JessH Jun 15, 2020

I first read Ijeoma Oluo's work years ago when she was blogging on her own website. Now, she has a dedicated following across social media platforms and writes freelance for a number of publications.

Before we go further, let me say that So You Want to Talk About Race is excellent. Absolutely excellent in its own right. It is also a great starting point for people who have not yet confronted their privilege, their whiteness, or done antiracist work.

Oluo connects the conversations around your kitchen table to the policies and practices that perpetuate systemic racism. She does so in conversational and accessible language that invites the reader into discussion.

She gives specific examples of what to do and how to respond when you hear a racist statement at the water cooler. Oluo gives practical and cogent advice for how to call out these statements and when to walk away. She is very aware of her audience and knows that talking about racism is uncomfortable.

Oluo writes: "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 colour, it should be something that upsets us. But it upsets us because it exists, not because we 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 colour to bear the entire burden of racism alone."

She also reminds readers that: "Systemic racism is a machine that runs whether we pull the levers or not, and just by letting it be, we are responsible for what it produces. We have to actually dismantle the machine if we want to make change. So, a good question to ask yourself right now is: why are you here? Did you pick up this book with the ultimate goal of getting people to be nicer to each other? Did you pick up this book with the goal of making more friends of different races? Or did you pick up this book with the goal of helping fight a system of oppression that is literally killing people of colour. Because if you insist on holding to a definition of racism that reduces itself to "anytime somebody is mean to somebody of a different race," then this is not the book to accomplish your goals. And those are real and noble goals when we call them what they are. We really should be more kind to each other. But when I look at what is putting me and millions of other people of colour at risk, a lack of niceness from white people towards me and people who look like me is very fall down the list of priorities. However, if you came with the second intention, to fight the systemic oppression that is harming the lives of millions of people of colour, then you are who I have written this book for."

I highly, highly recommend this book. If you can, listen to the audio book because it is performed by my favourite narrator Bahni Turpin!

Jun 05, 2020

Everyone on the planet needs to read this book: I had no clue about the myriad ways I contributed to racist behavior through micro aggression-yes, if you dare to read this book, you, too, if you have a soul, will recognize that we all have a responsibility to acknowledge the ways we contribute to white supremacy through white privilege

Sep 17, 2019

Written in a conversational way with the goal of waking up those with "white privilege" to the systemic racism and microagressions that keep POC (persons of color) from living their best life here in America. This would make a good book discussion title for classroom or book group. The author is from Seattle and therefore, a local author. I gave it 5 stars because she was very helpful with practical advice for getting along with POC at the end of each chapter.

Sep 04, 2019

Excellent, helpful book on this hugely important but also hugely difficult topic. Not so much abrasive as relentlessly honest. Sane and generous. Clearly and convincingly written.

May 30, 2019

I don't often run across a book I think everyone should read but this is definitely one of them. All white people anyway, though I suspect (but certainly don't know for sure) that many people of color would find it affirming. It's personal and universal, anecdotal and well-researched. Really excellent.

Mar 10, 2019

Very rarely do I re-read a book, but this one called to me for a revisit after attending several trainings and discussions on systemic racism. In this thoughtful and action-oriented book, we are all given the tools we need to become more aware, and to take action, as well as a grace in acknowledging that many a reader has the privilege to only be starting to think deeply about this topic.

It's not hard to miss Oluo's message: any of us with privilege -- but most particularly and most overwhelmingly any of us who are white -- have benefited from our privilege, and we must work together to deconstruct our system that perpetuates that privilege at significant cost to others. We can't start with what's "easy" (even as working to dismantle misogyny and ableism and classism is by no means easy) but must focus on what will have the greatest impact: recognizing that race is a construct used to hold some down in order to benefit others, and that by fighting that systemic racism, which intersects with all other forms of systemic oppression, we are also making strong steps towards taking down other oppressive systems.

Feb 01, 2019

This book is the most readable, thorough, and relatable book I've read about institutionalized racism. Ms. Oluo is a great 'writer' in comparison to most other authors of racism books who are undoubtably well-meaning but whose products tend to be theoretical, academic, or memoir. Those books are pretty hard to slog through because they are written by folks who don't have her gift. She is able to put a humorous spin to some degree on the incidents of injustice that people of color experience so that the reader can take in the information without actually realizing just how ugly the events are until she goes on to explain just that. I tell people that this book is a 'primer' on racism. For me it's become a reference book as well.
Don't get me wrong, as a white person who is coming to understand more and more about the pain people of color experience at my hands, I found this to be an emotionally difficult book to read. Even though I have been to multiple workshops about racism and read many books, I would say that this book reached me in a way that none of them have ever done before. It makes me realize just how little progress that white people have made in doing something about institutionalized racism and how much it is my responsibility to push myself into participating in conversations about race and appreciate any person of color who takes the time to point out my perpetuation of racism, be it unconscious or not. I also feel that it is important to try to educate my fellow white people about these issues. I'll try to have these conversations, say ignorant white privileged things, learn something, repeat, but hopefully will make contributions to the fight against institutionalized racism as I go.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Jun 03, 2020

Naya14 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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