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So You Want to Talk About Race

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  34,271 ratings  ·  4,788 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
Kindle Edition, 247 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Seal Press
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Corina Amit, I think I understand what you are saying. I think, though, that the people who need the statistical piece are, quite frankly, looking for ways t…moreAmit, I think I understand what you are saying. I think, though, that the people who need the statistical piece are, quite frankly, looking for ways to disengage and undermine the author's points.(less)

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Gary Moreau
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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 volume—though I’m certainly ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Trish by: Kara 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
i am not going to review this beyond saying that this is an absolute must read book. for everyone.


as i finish up my month of reading Black authors, this one's for all my white people out there: if you think the solution to ending racism is reading a certain book or combination of books, you have a lot more work to do! this is only the start.


i am spending this month reading books by Black authors. please join me!

book 1: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
book 2: Homegoing
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
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 injustice—it 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 g
Mario the lone bookwolf
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 th
“Being privileged doesn't mean that you are always wrong and people without privilege are always right. It means that there is a good chance you are missing a few very important pieces of the puzzle.”

I am so glad I finally got around to reading this book this month, I listened to the audiobook and I feel like that is the best way to consume this book. Ijeoma Oluo has such an incredible way with words and this book is very powerful and reminds me how much words matter. This isn't my first anti-ra
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
The following is partly a review but mostly a discussion of racism and privilege because, yes, I'd like to talk about race:
Am I racist?

This question hit me as I was sitting on my phone scrolling Instagram. Around the end of May 2020, George Floyd's death took the world by storm. Within hours, my feed was filled with #BlackLivesMatter and black screens. I got a message saying "[Removed for privacy] tagged you in a story". Said story was a story chain where someone tags a few other people and
Bill Kerwin

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 Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race. It is definitely a book for our time, yet I doubt many people—me included—would ever consider it a timeless book. Yet paradoxically, Oluo’s book may be an even more important book for certain people to read than any of Mr.
J.L.   Sutton
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ijeoma Oluo doesn’t 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 Oluo’s discussion of the damage caused by ‘everyday racism,’ the kind of racist attitudes or behavior that many don’t 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 system ...more
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 women’s hair, the model minority myth, and more. Some themes I felt across essays include the importance of actually acknowledging race (a bare minimum ...more
I stayed up late into the night reading this.

I was engaged. I loved the writing, the well-formulated arguments, and especially the focus on everyday micro-aggression. Intersectionality is pretty obvious.

So is the institutional racism.

It's not a trigger word. It's a fact.

Add this to soooo0 many small things in our everyday lives whether in conversation or news or even in our own assumptions DESPITE our best intentions, and we will be forced to realize that the institution is within us all.

Stacie C
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
This should be required reading for every person.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a review. I’m not in the mood to read or review books in light of recent events. All I want to say is that all lives don’t matter until black lives matters. The way George Floyd was murdered is horrifying and heartbreaking. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering his loved ones are going through. It warms my heart that people care enough to march during this pandemic. I hope this movement doesn’t lose momentum and meaningful change finally happens. And if you’re tired of hearing about ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
this is gonna be one of my 'non-fiction-books-i-listened-to-on-audio-but-want-to-buy-a-copy-of-for-future-reference'
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Valeria Lipovetsky
For someone who never talked about race in their household, this is a great starter book.
It will require you to leave ur ego aside (if you're white) and LISTEN. Not everything will resonate but some things will make you question ur deeply engrained views and understanding of how the system is failing POC.

Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I listened to this as an audiobook and I am glad I did. The narration was very good, but it also made me feel almost as if I was having a conversation with the author, or rather listing to her explain conflicts many of us are blind to and thus, often inadvertently or not, allow to perpetuate. I am reading this book in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and it feels overdue. It is an important and impactful read and one I would recommend to anyone.

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Meg Elison
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aoife - Bookish_Babbling
So you want to talk about race?
But are we truly listening?

2020 has made many of us sit up and really take notice...but in all honesty we need to do MORE!
This book is an accessible and insightful place to start our research with fantastic bullet points and guides for how to approach and handle the uncomfortable conversations that often surround race, racism & systemic oppression. While taking the time to explain many terms that tend to cause confusion in a very understandable way, peppered with h
Antoinette Scully
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.

mindful.librarian ☀️
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
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
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.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book! It is a hard read and I think you need to take your time with this book, or I did at least, to really soak up all of the information. I found reading it one chapter at a time per day or two allowed me to really think about all of the different things discussed.

I learned a lot about systemic racism versus personal/individual racism. This was a concept that I really didn't know much about previously and it has opened my eyes to many things. I also found the concept of intersectiona
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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

Articles featuring this book

There are many ways to take action against racism. Reading in order to learn more about oppression and how to oppose it is just one of those ways...
1471 likes · 1018 comments
“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else's oppression, we'll find our opportunities to make real change.” 97 likes
“Being privileged doesn't mean that you are always wrong and people without privilege are always right. It means that there is a good chance you are missing a few very important pieces of the puzzle.” 71 likes
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