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Summary

A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that listeners of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide 

In So You Want to Talk About Race, editor-at-large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions listeners don't dare ask and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. 

Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned and crystallize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor's seminal essay "The Meaning of a Word". A Harper's Bazaar pick of One of 10 Books to Read in 2018. 

©2018 Ijeoma Oluo (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Narrator Bahni Turpin's impassioned voice clearly conveys the gravity of this book on race and racism.... Key points are repeated to help listeners absorb ideas and definitions, and Turpin engagingly reads real-life examples Oluo uses to illustrate complex concepts such as intersectionality and white privilege." (AudioFile)  

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An incredible eye-opener

This book made me cry so many times. I'm an Eastern European, and for such a long time I didn't understand what the debate about race was all about. I was angry that white people were being all lumped together, but I didn't know much about these issues, so I decided to try listening first. It pays off. I really had no idea. I'd say please, please, if you want to talk about racial issues, read this first. This book is not going to change the opinions of people who don't want to listen, and maybe a lot of this is nothing new to people who have long been taking racial equality seriously, but if you are a "beginner" like me (and I would quietly add, that many of us likely know a lot less about this than we think we know), this book is a must read.

15 people found this helpful

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Thank You.

All I can say is an overwhelming thank you to Ijeoma for writing this book. Where my words have failed me this book has given me a voice, a voice so precise and clear that tears run down my eyes as I realise that I AM NOT ALONE and someone else shares parts of my reality as BLACK.

7 people found this helpful

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Informative, moving, strategic, and quotable

Oluo's points are masterfully made, with compelling logic and empathetic awareness of the reader throughout. She's certainly opened my eyes and I have a feeling I'll be returning to grab quotes. I listened to the reader at 1.00 and 1.10 speed and both sound great.

5 people found this helpful

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A MUST READ/LISTEN

Everyone, especially every white person should read/listen this book!
Everyone who wants to learn and be an ally to people of colour issues should have this book!
Everyone that works with minorities, every school, every public institution employee should read this book!

3 people found this helpful

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growth can start here

if like me you've spent most of your life not quite thinking about race and definitely unsure of where to start, well heres a book for you, I'm still processing the complex of issue, but knowing that, processing and talking, thinking reflecting and action are all tools to defeat systemic racism, well, this book gives you more than a few ideas and directions on how to go about doing those things, although I dont live in america I think the ideas Ijeoma outlines could and should be applied anywhere, I hope to endeavour forward with these new tools and learn some more.

2 people found this helpful

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Everyone needs to read this book

Well written, excellent explanations and beautifully read. This book is such a useful resource that must have been very difficult to write and we should all be grateful and take advantage of such a resource that will change your outlook on everything.

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Outstanding Genius! Articulates so much of what I have always been unable to say

This book is important and it is important that you get to the end . If only I had her way with words, I might be able to say how brilliant and inspiring this is. The type of book i want to cuddle up to at that so I can wake with hope.

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Changing attitudes

Ijeoma Oluo talks about her own life experiences to explain the difficulties people of colour face in the USA today, and the part white supremacy plays. For me this is another step towards understanding how attitudes to racial differences need to change and how I as a white person can contribute to that change.

1 person found this helpful

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A must read

So accessible and informative. Ready to test preconceptions and provoke thought and promote action. Delivered flawlessly. now to digest and assess how to challenge the day to day systemic racism.

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Powerful and Important

You should read this book. Especially if it makes you uncomfortable. It is too important not to read.

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  • V. Taras
  • 06-10-18

An Important Must-Read, but Worse than Expected

I have mixed feelings about the book.
On the one hand, I believe it is a must-read for anyone in the U.S., and a highly recommended read for anyone outside the U.S.
At the very least, it will give you a good perspective into the racial tensions in the U.S. and a good understanding of how it is seen by the activists of the African American community. Many eye-opening examples and explanations.
On the other hand, the book is not particularly engaging. Justifiably, it is filled with rants and complaints. However, I felt the case could have been made more strongly with more statistics and references to more studies. The book felt like a rally speech, and less like a piece of scholarly work.
Still, highly recommend. It was a good use of my time.

85 people found this helpful

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  • alibamba
  • 29-01-19

A Reminder to Read Books that Make You Uncomfortable

Yes, conversations about race are awkward to hard and even hurtful and I’m not thrilled to be categorized as a white supremacist simply because I am white but even with all that discomfort, confusion, eyebrow raises, and slack jawed moments I experienced while listening I have to say my world feels bigger after reading this. My perspective is changed. I didn’t understand or even recognize my own racism or white privilege. I have not had to confront racism and I have not seen the part in it that I have played or know what action I could take to change. I am asking questions of myself and assumptions I’ve made about a range of other issues because if I didn’t see this, what else am I not seeing? I feel very blessed to have come across Oluo’s book and will continue to follow her work. I also feel compelled to share that the narration is top notch.

117 people found this helpful

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  • L. Keepers
  • 15-08-20

Microagression To Whites

I read this book with my black friends at a book club hoping to be part of the solution and learn about my own hidden biases. For every good point there were several "microagression" against ME. Even my POC friends were embarrassed that I had to be insulted in front of them. And they were insulted that she assumes all black people have the same political views. They didnt.
We have agreed to put into practice those few good suggestions in the book and forget the rest of it.
My black friends apologized to ME instead of the other way aroumd.

47 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-20

Entertaining and wise.

I was hesitant to this book because I am a biracial black woman in America and I wasn't sure this book was written for me or that I would have much to gain from it. Being mixed race often leaves you in the world of the 'other'. Often books on race are written to educate white people or vindicate poc. But this does that, but it expands into so much more than that. Everyone can be educated and maybe even find vindication in this guide to constructive conversation.

It was also nice that it felt as if Bahni Turpin really identified with and embodied the work. Thanks for the great read.

47 people found this helpful

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  • Susanna Heath
  • 29-04-20

Critical and a must read

At the risk of being just another white woman talking about how a book on race makes her feel...this book made me feel a lot. I consider myself a feminist and over the last year have learned much about intersectionality, and how I cannot fight for the rights of women without also including other marginalized people. But I do not have many people of color in my life. My social media feed is made up of mostly white liberal women. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about race, suspecting I was probably a little racist myself. I found this book on a list of must-read books on race. The chapter headings immediately hooked me. These were the questions I wanted to ask, and didn’t know how.

Ijeoma presents the information calmly and with some humor but also with the underlying steel and passion that evokes a real emotional response to many tragic topics. She answers questions and brings up additional information I had never previously considered. I believe everyone should read this book and begin to take action in their communities.

40 people found this helpful

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  • UURev
  • 19-12-19

Must read for white folks

I have done a lot of work on my privilege and racial bias (and I still have a LONG way to go) and books like this are so helpful, great reminders and calls to action, I will be rereading it again soon and asking all of my church staff to read it as well!

34 people found this helpful

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 05-02-18

Excellent book, excellently narrated.

Ijeoma Oluo has a gift for delivering hard medicine with humor and sensitivity. If you are a white person who wants to do better, this is a perfect primer on how (and when) to have conversations about race without doing more harm than good.

And Bahni Turpin is an impeccable narrator. She reads with a clarity and conviction that makes the content feel completely fresh, like a conversation, rather than a reading. A perfect fit with Ijeoma Oluo's writing style, too.

52 people found this helpful

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  • Meatball
  • 11-09-20

More of the same

Typical race baiting garbage expected of the left. The author of this book is one of those “politically correct racists” because they attack white people, while unsurprisingly negating any self-responsibility of any other party.

Save yourself a brainwashing. The goal of this book is to encourage you to grovel at the feet of people who hate you. Want to do something more productive with your time? Look at objective data and statistics, because all of the answers are there. Start with things dealing with abortion rates, out-of-wedlock birth rates, crime and IQ.

Or, you know, just watch an episode of Cops. Or go outside in a city.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Katoli
  • 20-09-20

Way to Preachy

This is exactly the kind of point of view that will complete loose people who have good intentions and want to learn.
Waaaaaay to preach. Couldn't finish it.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-20

a white blue caller man trying to understand BLM

a tough read, certainly felt my blood pressure rising at times,. but I'm not sure what the point of this book was, a little math I'm a union electrician, I think it's fair to say I'm very average., I make 34.99 a hour so my black brothers and sisters make 3.50 to maybe 7 bucks a hour? and The inherint violence and blatent sexuality in rap is exclusively due to second rate White rappers just there to make a buck? and it's wrong to dress up for Halloween because of cultural appropriation but if you dress up like a European your a racist? because kids don't dress up like something they love and want to know more about but let's make it an adult holiday so we can argue about that too. and angry students? you have never listened to white male music have you? (I don't much either it's to angry) between the words privilege and systematic racism you have very neatly decided excatly what all white people are and the only reason white people are successful is because in every situation there's a winner and a looser and since we've made black people the looser we get to be the winner. it's strange, if I want to talk about race I'm supposed to get to know the other culture and as a white man your lack of any understanding on any level of the white paradyme is profound, to use your words, your cultural appropriation is profound and on a last note that you would suppose our epically under funded, under staffed and over sized classroom sized schools don't talk about slavery and the civil rights movement and black suffrage I'm not sure we're you've been, not at school

16 people found this helpful