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So You Want to Talk About Race

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  16,614 ratings  ·  2,507 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
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Hardcover, 248 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Seal Press
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  16,614 ratings  ·  2,507 reviews


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Kara 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 volumethough Im 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 isnt about me. My personal tolerance is irrelevant. If a picture says a thousand words, an action is worth ten thousand
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Trish
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Trish by: Kara Babcock
People of every race are going to read this bookat 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 ...more
Sci-(Fi) Nerd Mario
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This work goes deep to the core of the problems and dismantles the grievances that are still causing an unnecessary separation in many of the wealthiest nations on earth.

The book should be read by everyone but is especially useful for white people who want to try to avoid making mistakes in getting active and to especially realize blind spots that could stay undetected. That just a few decades ago all Western institutions were racist, white supremacists that build a world for their people and
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Jenna
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, race, wake-up
"You are either fighting the system, or you are complicit. There is no neutrality to be had towards systems of injusticeit is not something you can just opt out of."

Sometimes you read a book so powerful and so important that you wish everybody would read it. So You Want to Talk About Race is one of those books. I highlighted so many sentences and entire paragraphs that I'm glad it's a Kindle version and not a print book. It is such a compelling and thought-provoking read and I learned a great
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J.L.   Sutton
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ijeoma Oluo doesnt simply want us feeling better about ourselves for having read her book; So You Want to Talk About Race is also a call to action. Most compelling is Oluos discussion of the damage caused by everyday racism, the kind of racist attitudes or behavior that many dont think really matters. What one person might see as small inconsequential actions have the cumulative weight of life experience. Words and behavior matter. Everyday racism also feeds into an acceptance of the systemic ...more
Monica
I have a huge interest in race, diversity, inequality and how it applies in America. I wanted to discover a book that I could recommend to friends and to people that I think are genuinely interested in understanding how people of color often think and feel and to be able to inhabit/formulate/grok a point of view that might be different from their own. On the whole, I expected to understand the points of view Oluo was presenting from the beginning and I didn't anticipate that the book would have ...more
Stacie C
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book-arcs, 2017
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

I loved this book. I finished it in a day simply devouring Oluos 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 Im 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
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Thomas
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book of essays about race. Ijeoma Oluo strikes an impressive balance between writing bold, uncomfortable truths about racism as well as crafting her essays so that they feel approachable and digestible. She covers a wide range of topics in this collection, including affirmative action, police brutality, the problem with touching black womens hair, the model minority myth, and more. Some themes I felt across essays include the importance of actually acknowledging race (a bare minimum ...more
Cynthia
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.
Bill Kerwin
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it

There are timeless books. Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me is a timeless book. Then there is another category of books I would call books for our time. And Between the World and Me is that kind of book too.

But consider Ijeoma Oluos So You Want to Talk About Race. It is definitely a book for our time, yet I doubt many peopleme includedwould ever consider it a timeless book. Yet paradoxically, Oluos book may be an even more important book for certain people to read than any of Mr.
...more
Truman32
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluos 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 Id rather talk about my receding hairline, my cholesterol levels, the abnormally large size of my physicians 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 to
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Youp
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
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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 ...more
Mehrsa
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.
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 youre 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.

...more
Lata
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.
mindful.librarian ☀️
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.
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 ...more
Obsidian
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
...more
Lisa
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This is not a book for readers who want to sit back and pat themselves on the back. It is a call to action for us* to take responsibility for the institutional, widespread racism in our society (*specifically white, privileged individuals). Some of it is uncomfortable. We are not all as "woke" as we think. Every page is useful. This would be great as a required text in schools.
Erica
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
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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
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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!
Laura
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, kindle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Becky
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
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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!
Allison Hurd
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a good overview, a sort of manual for "race arguments on the internet." It's aimed mostly at validating the experiences of people of color, and at helping to clarify things for the population of white Americans who are just starting their anti-racist journey and want a quick explanation to get them going.

I'd give a CONTENT WARNING but it's right there in the title. Expect lots of hurtful stories about living as a Black woman.

Things I thought were very useful:

-The conversational style.
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Ashley
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 04-star, library, 2018
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
...more
El
Race in America. Let's talk about it. Don't be that person who is all "racism doesn't exist" because that makes you sound like an idiot. You could do yourself the favor of picking up this book and learning about how racism does still exist, but chances are, if you are of that view that racism has been fixed because slavery doesn't exist anymore, well, you're not likely to pick up this book or listen to reason anyway. You're one of THOSE PEOPLE.

This is not a complicated book. It's pretty obvious
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Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and Internet Yeller. Shes 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 Roots 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

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