Oluo is an excellent guide through the explosive terrain of 21st-century race relations, providing clear explanations of the many ways American society is structured to empower white people, particularly men. Arguing that a person can be complicit in a racist society without being an explicitly bad or racist person, Oluo takes some of the sting out of a conversation that rightly places the onus on white citizens to take the lead in confronting racial discrimination and violence. It’s a tricky balance — not placing blame but demanding recognition and reparation — and Oluo manages it with grace and care. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
This is a fantastic resource, with as much to offer those just starting to interrogate race as those who are further along in their journey. Each chapter poses a question — "What if I talk about race wrong?" "What is the model minority myth?" — which Oluo deftly addresses. She explains for those who don't know, succinctly elucidates for those who want to clarify their understanding, and challenges those who are doing the work to find meaningful ways of engaging and making change. Recommended By Britney T., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America
Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy — from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans — have made it impossible to ignore the issue of race. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair — and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
"Oluo gives us — both white people and people of color — that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases." National Book Review
"Generous and empathetic, yet usefully blunt . . . it's for anyone who wants to be smarter and more empathetic about matters of race and engage in more productive anti-racist action." Salon (Required Reading)
"What Ijeoma Oluo has done, and continues to do, is nothing short of revolutionary." Feminista Jones, author of Reclaiming Our Space
"Ijeoma Oluo-writing on any subject-is compassionate brilliance personified, and I am so grateful for her work and her voice." Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
"One of the few guiding lights to emerge in our post-election landscape." The Stranger
"I am in awe of Ijeoma. She is the smartest, most courageous and electrifying young writer on race relations today-the voice of our times. Let her be your guidepost." Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility
"Ijeoma Oluo's work is where candor meets wisdom, where intelligence meets action, where prose meets power....she is one of the most important people writing about this current moment for our country and our world." Rakesh Satyal, author of Blue Boy and No One Can Pronounce My Name
About the Author
Ijeoma Oluo is a writer and speaker whose work on race has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Elle, The Guardian, and more. She has twice been named to The Root 100 and received the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award from the American Humanist Society. She lives in Seattle.