Reviews

So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo

derby5's review against another edition

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5.0

A great, well-written read that explains difficult and complex topics around race in really straightforward, easy-to-understand ways (yet still acknowledges the intricacies of the subject matter and doesn't oversimplify)

kellyerin's review against another edition

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5.0

This book should be required reading.

shrimpishh's review

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emotional funny informative inspiring reflective sad

4.0

elysedwill's review

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3.0

I learned a lot from this book!

thissimoneb's review

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5.0

A must read for anyone wanting to better understand racism and have conversations that matter.

acousticreader's review

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1.0

I really, really wanted to be changed by this book! My desire to love it kept me reading it until the end, at which point, the author finally gave a small handful of ideas of how to take action to fight racism. I can 100% get onboard with the fact that I have no idea what it is like to be a person of color, and that their experiences and suffering are legitimate and traumatizing. What I don't get is how calling EVERY white person a racist helps glean any results. I felt frustrated by the author's advice to just "Google" anything one has questions about, rather than ask someone who may have actual experience with it. It felt incredibly hypocritical to accuse people of being unwilling to talk about race (which, why shove that in my face right now when I'm reading this book??) and then equally tell them NOT to talk about it! Maybe I'm just not in the right place and can pick this book up again in the future with less defenses.

lookatmybooks's review

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5.0

A great introduction to hard hitting topics. Covers a lot of ground and builds a solid foundation for not only language/communication but proper thinking. A must read! I took notes and revisited chapters and concepts again while reading other books and journaling. A helpful tool to combat old practices and create a better world moving forward. Do the work!

demottar's review

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5.0

Ijeoma Oluo's examination of the American racial situation is clearly, passionately, and convincingly laid out. Half-memoir, half-call-to-action, this book was painful, but so important for me to read. It does, like so many anti-racism sources I'm finding right now, require deep introspection for me to get anywhere near a truthful view of myself and what my actions are going to be moving forward.

Oluo's direct, simple language both moved me and condemned many of the unconscious biases in my own thinking that I'm working to route out and abolish.

Some powerful quotes that struck me:

"[Racism] upsets us because it exists, not because we are talking about it."

"When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else's oppression, we'll find our opportunities to make real change."

"Disadvantaged white people are not erased by discussions of disadvantages facing people of color, just as brain cancer is not erased by talking about breast cancer. They are two different issues with two different treatments, and they require two different conversations."

"If you are a white person in this situation, do not think that just because you may not be aware of your racial identity at the time that you did not bring race to your experience of the situation as well. We are all products of a racialized society, and it affects everything we bring to our interactions."

"The experience of white communities with police is real, and the experience of communities of color with police is real - but they are far from the same. And while it is important to recognize these different viewpoints, we must remember this: If you do trust and value your police force, and you also believe in justice and equality for people of color, you will not see the lack of trust on behalf of communities of color as simply a difference of opinion. You will instead expect your police force to earn the respect and trust of communities of color by providing them with the same level of service that you enjoy."

"Your intentions have little to no impact on the way in which your actions may have harmed others. Do not try to absolve yourself of responsibility with your good intentions. The fact that you hurt someone doesn't mean that you are a horrible person, but the fact that you meant well doesn't absolve you of guilt."

"I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that there is higher crime in some cities where larger minority populations live. Yes, black men are more likely to commit a violent offense than white men. . . . Crime is a problem within communities. And communities with higher poverty, fewer jobs, and less infrastructure are going to have higher crime, regardless of race."

"Often, being a person of color in white-dominated society is like being in an abusive relationship with the world. Every day is a new little hurt, a new little dehumanization. We walk around flinching, still in pain from the last hurt and dreading the next. But when we say 'this is hurting us' a spotlight is shown on the freshest hurt, the bruise just forming: 'Look at how small it is, and I'm sure there is a good reason for it. Why are you making such a big deal about it? Everyone gets hurt from time to time' - while the world ignores that the rest of our bodies are covered in scars. But racial oppression is even harder to see than the abuse of a loved one, because the abuser is not one person, the abuser is the world around you, and the person inflicting pain in an individual instance may themselves have the best of intentions."

travelreader85's review against another edition

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5.0

This book put into words a lot of concepts and situations I was having a hard time wrapping my head around or communicating. This won’t be last last book I read to educate myself on race and racism, but it was a good introduction that goes over some of the topics like intersectionality, affirmative action, and police brutality that all have multiple books written about just those.

avalydia's review against another edition

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3.0

I was hoping this would be a good book to give to my parents. Sadly I think it's too "advanced" for them (sigh), but I think well-intentioned readers who want to learn more about overcoming racism will find this a helpful guide on their journey. The book addresses common questions such as "Why can't I say the n-word" and touches upon affirmative action, Al Sharpton, and privilege - basically all the issues defensive white people (like my parents, and once upon a time myself) bring up when engaging with racism.