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So You Want to Talk About Race

by Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo X
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2018, 256 pages

    Sep 2019, 272 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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Power Reviewer
Cathryn Conroy

Most of All, This Book is Practical. Use It to Positively Change How You Think and Act
If you're of a certain age, you'll remember the consciousness-raising sessions that were popularized by feminists in the late 1960s. This brilliantly written book by Ijeoma Oluo is like that—consciousness raising about racism. But it's a lot more than that, and herein lies the wisdom of the book: It's also a manual for constructive behavior change.

White people can—and should—read it on two levels:
• Read it as a way to raise your consciousness about racism and how you, a white person of privilege, have knowingly and unknowingly fostered racism both one-on-one between you and a person of color and systemically in our society. Yes, be prepared to be shocked, surprised, and stunned.

• Read it again in a few months after you have had time to fully digest and contemplate all this book has to say, and then you'll be ready to use it as a manual for behavior change. The questions you would like to ask but are too timid to broach or feel would be too rude to actually say out loud are answered here. What if you talk about race incorrectly? How can you talk about affirmative action? What are microaggressions? What is tone policing? What do you do if someone calls you racist?

Not only is this an excellent primer on how to talk about race constructively and compassionately, but also it's a constructive way to learn and think about racism in a manner you have probably never before considered.

Most of all, this book is practical. This is something you can really use to positively change how you think and act.

Bonus: Take the time to read the acknowledgements at the end of the book. I was moved to tears.
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