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So You Want to Talk About Race

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  9,517 ratings  ·  1,693 reviews
In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today's racial landscape--from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement--offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Seal Press
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4.55  · 
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 ·  9,517 ratings  ·  1,693 reviews

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Ben Babcock
Do you ever accidentally inhale a book? Like, you meant to read it with your eyes, but, whoops, suddenly there it is, lodged in your esophagus and now you have to go to the hospital and explain, in various gestures, how you breathed in an entire book? This happens to me more often than I would like to admit. So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo, is just the latest instance. Thankfully, this was an eARC from NetGalley (thanks Perseus Books) and not a physical volume—though I’m certainly ...more
Gary Moreau
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What author would write a book with a target audience that is likely to consider reading it, much less paying for it, akin to wishing for a root canal? Apparently, Ijeoma Oluo.

I am a white, sexagenarian, male, and former CEO. I am, therefore, a r#cist. (And yes, I am being sensitive to the censors who will look at this before posting it.) And I accept that because this isn’t about me. My personal tolerance is irrelevant. If a picture says a thousand words, an action is worth ten thousand pictur
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Trish by: Ben Babcock
People of every race are going to read this book—at least I hope they are. It is not written just for people still denying that racism exists in America today, but for people who know it does but do not recognize the myriad ways it manifests. Oluo writes so clearly and simply, this book just a pleasure to read, despite addressing emotionally sensitive material. It is so well-conceived and executed that one could use it as a handbook for group discussion, one or two chapters a meeting, talking ov ...more
Stacie C
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, e-book-arcs
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

I loved this book. I finished it in a day simply devouring Oluo’s word. I can relate to so much of what Oluo was sharing and in so many ways it was validating but also depressing. I feel better knowing that I’m not the only person experiencing these microaggressions, working through these issues and surviving day to day but at the same time having these similar lived experiences makes me very well aware of how far we have to come in the U.S. when it
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book is largely for non-POC who wish to be allies or POC who are in denial of, not aware of or unfamiliar with the systemic racism prevalent in American society. Unlike many other scholarly works on race, this book uses language that is accessible and could even be used in an AP Language course. Actually, it would probably be a great addition to an AP Language course.

Most importantly, it needs to be read far and wide by teachers especially or anyone who works with POC.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo’s new book asks. I thought I did, but after reading several chapters I realized no, no I very much did not want to. I think I’d rather talk about my receding hairline, my cholesterol levels, the abnormally large size of my physician’s fingers (the yearly physical is coming up and it will be time once again to check out that ole prostate), just about anything really, because talking about race is uncomfortable, uncomfortable, uncomfortable.

So You Want
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-written book about an enormously painful and horrible system of oppression. Read this book if you want to learn how to talk about race, how to engage with a person of colour with real respect, empathy and a willingness to interrogate your conscious and unconscious biases and assumptions, and to begin doing more to change your attitudes and actions, as well as those around you.
Meg Elison
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Written tight as a logical proof and with a careful delivery so that the bad news can be heard by we who need to hear it most. A concrete and highly actionable discussion, reinforced with evidence and examples to make sure that the reader can connect. My fellow white folks: you need to read this. And as the introduction advises, sit with your discomfort when it arises. Even those of us who are trying have a lot to learn. Ms. Oluo has done us the favor of making this piece of our education afford ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book needs handed out in social studies courses in high school. Oluo packs so much in this book that I really do think is a good guide for people who have questions about race. She delves into all kinds of topics and I was here for them. Sometimes the writing gets a bit technical, but I think that a lot of pre-teens and above would do very well with reading this and having an honest conversation about race afterwards.

As one of my friend's laments, "The reason why the United States still has
Julie Ehlers
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm a little torn on this book. It certainly provides a lot of facts and advances a lot of arguments that white Americans (all of us, no matter how woke we think we are) need to hear. In the current political climate a book like this is especially important. But I thought the writing was pretty mediocre for the most part; it was no Between the World and Me or We Gon' Be Alright. Still, I think this book does what it sets out to do, and I would not discourage anyone from reading it. In fact, if y ...more
Kate ☀️ Olson
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands-down the most approachable and succinct book on this topic that I have read, and I've read quite a few. A primer on race that I wish could be required reading for the entire nation.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Everything she says is true and necessary, but it comes off more as a shallow lecture than anything new or different. I think it could be useful as a primer or to those who don't spend a lot of time reading about race.
This isn't an easy-breezy book. It's not supposed to be.
Some readers will be triggered, some will be defensive, and some will think it's just too heavy, too negative, too un-American because we don't have racism here and stop making everything about race.

This book is about race.
It's in the title.
There is no false advertising here.

For me, this is a good bookend to Between the World and Me. I didn't quite get that book, I couldn't figure out what I needed to learn from Coates.
It was an introduct
Antoinette Scully
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Go. Read. This. Book. Well written, informative, and concerned with the reader learning, not just the author being right.

You should read this:
• If you want to talk about racial topics better
• If you’re great at talking about race
• If you never want to talk about race

Everyone should read this book. This should be the very next book you read.

I wasn't planning on reading this book today, honestly. It wasn't anywhere on my shortlist (that I'm actually trying to adhere to for once), and I'd literally JUST started another book on my kindle (I'm on page 21!)... but my house was a hot mess, so I decided that I should do something about that, like a functional adult would, instead of sitting on my ass and reading all day (like the childless adult that I am can!).

But... I feel like chore time is wasted time when I could do BOTH. :D

So, I pr
Julie Christine
An engaging and thoughtful examination of race in these United States. Ijeoma Oluo brings new energy and determination to a discussion that can feel so fraught and loaded and hopeless. The book is presented both as a conversation and as manual, offering tips, guidelines, and discussion points to take the reader from the sidelines to the frontlines.

Its readership, as is so often the case with social justice primers, will be obviously self-selecting. The title alone, So You Want to Talk About Rac
Jan 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Short version:
Probably the biggest crap I have ever read.

Longer version:

So You Want To Talk About Race is a waste of time, money and brain cells for anyone who comes into contact with it. Anyone with the smallest ability for critical thinking will find no need for this garbage, and those infected with the intersectionality virus are the proverbial choir being preached to. Every page is filled with hypocrisy, nonsensical jibberish and logical fallacies. Some of the 'gems':

- The 'lived experience
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A must-read for all white people, this book is very smart but very accessible. Oluo breaks down complicated issues like police brutality, the model minority myth, and tone policing (among others) masterfully, weaving together personal stories, detailed examples, and stats. This is definitely an entry-level book that feels aimed at white people and people of colour at the beginning of politicized learning. Excellent narration by Bahni Turpin like usual!
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 04-star, 2018, library
This book felt like an Introduction to Race 101 class and I don't mean that in a bad way. I think the book was simple and straight to the point in its approach and easily understandable. Ijeoma gave some helpful guidance on how to broach conversations on race in a more healthy and productive way. She literally put bullet points on how to address certain situations. In my opinion, more non-black/non-POC need to read this book.

The main topic I was drawn to was "What are microaggressions?". As I'v
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It’s hard to capture the magnitude of what Ijeoma Oluo has accomplished in So You Want To Talk About Race. She has managed to write a clear and concise instruction manual on how to talk about one of our country’s most difficult subjects, while neither alienating nor infantilizing the reader. This is an especially important book for the newly “woke” white person who recognizes our structural and systematic racism in the US, but is unsure (or even terrified) of how to act on this new knowledge. Pi ...more
Nadine Jones
Yes, racism and racial oppression in America is horrible and terrifying. The feelings it brings up in us are justified. But it is also everywhere, in every corner of our lives. We have to let go of some of that fear. We have to be able to look racism in the eye wherever we encounter it. If we continue to treat racism like it is a giant monster that is chasing us, we will be forever running. But running won’t help when it’s in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves. I am so glad
Amal Bedhyefi
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved everything about this book!
It opened my eyes on so many matters and made me strengthen my ideas and opinions on race related issues.
I finished it with so MUCH thoughts in mind , and I feel like i can talk about it forever now !
Such an engaging and active reading indeed.
HIGHLY recommend it!
Jess | thegreeneyedreader
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
5/5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I posted a lot about this author and this book recently, and after finishing this book, I can confidently say the praise I previously expressed is well deserved. This is absolutely a #mustread. The real world examples and suggestions make this book a real standout from others addressing the topic of race in America. I will be referencing this book for years to come. ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is so smart and honest and powerful and I want to get copies for everyone I know
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ijeoma Oluo's book is an instruction manual, an autobiography, and a collection of incredible essays all rolled into one. She gives anyone interested in talking about race a manual. It encourages white people to work through racist tropes and mistakes and gives POCs information on how to counter well-meaning but definitely racist arguments. I found it to be a great mix of Oluo's on experiences alongside her analysis of cultural moments and explanations of common terms in digestible bites. I enjo ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ijeoma Oluo has surpassed expectations with this monumental masterpiece which deconstructs race with insight and clarity for all to better understand and address these issues!
Carmel Hanes
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Updated and amended 3-22-19

This novel is thought-provoking and takes on a topic so emotionally charged it is difficult to read without raising hackles. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Raised hackles are often necessary to shake through assumptions and complacency.

The book describes the experience of living as a person of color within the culture of "white privilege". It tackles how skin color continues to affect the assumptions, expectations, and opportunities within our country, as well as
First published at The Shrinkette.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Seal Press for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have been a fan of Ijeoma Oluo’s writing for the last few years, having discovered her first via The Establishment, an online publication that supports marginalized writers and creators. They cover a wide range of topics ranging from politics to kink, and I have learned so much from so many of their writers. So naturally, when their Editor-In-Chief (whom I adm
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh dear.
I bought this book out of a hope to be enlightened, perhaps. Or maybe it was to have a stage set to lubricate productive conversations when race inevitably comes up. I bought it because I am really lucky to have a rainbow of friends...friends who sadly experience racial microaggressions on a near daily basis... and I want to be a better advocate for them.
But at the risk of being deemed an offensive, racist B word, I can't give this book a glowing review.
I expected the book to be tricky,
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Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and Internet Yeller. She’s the author of the New York Times Best-Seller So You Want to Talk about Race, published in January by Seal Press. Named one of the The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2017, one of the Most Influential People in Seattle by Seattle Magazine, one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle by Seattle Met, and ...more
“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else's oppression, we'll find our opportunities to make real change.” 31 likes
“What keeps a poor child in Appalachia poor is not what keeps a poor child in Chicago poor - even if from a distance, the outcomes look the same. And what keeps an able-bodied black woman poor is not what keeps a disabled white man poor, even if the outcomes look the same.” 24 likes
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