So You Want to Talk About Race

This book targets people of all races who want to engage in more informed conversations about race and racism in the United States. The writing is straightforward, sometimes biting, and very insightful. The author grew up in the Pacific Northwest attending schools where she was often the only Black person. For those interested in taking a next step in advocating for social justice, So You Want to Talk About Race is a powerful and informative resource.

272 pages. ©2019.
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Reader Reviews for this Book

kconraads

Review posted April 9, 2021

4

This book is easy to read and gives some good points for a white person to consider if they want to open their mind or have conversations around race with others.

Ceciliee Gomez

Review posted April 7, 2021

5

Great read and great quality book

kitashus

Review posted April 1, 2021

5

Reading "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo is a fantastic way to gain a basic and sometimes deeper understanding of the many aspects of white supremacy. It is an easy read as Oulo expertly and intelligently takes the reader through the complexities of racism. Additionally, she effortlessly injects a little humor into this very serious topic. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to be an anti-racist ally. It should be required reading for those who do not!

Joanne Gordon

Review posted March 31, 2021

3

Helpful book about a pertinent topic.

Mabotero

Review posted March 30, 2021

5

I like it a lot. It is real for me all the situations.

Chlois21

Review posted March 29, 2021

5

This should be required reading for every high schooler and adult. We can't have productive conversations about anything if we are not able to talk about race. We can't do that part if marginalized communities keep educating people in the dominant culture and the lessons don't sink in.

pickerel1

Review posted March 23, 2021

5

I love this book! For my final MSW project I am implementing equity work into my organization and this book really made me feel confident in having conversations. I love the Discussion Guide in the back.

Kasyda

Review posted March 18, 2021

5

It took me a while to finish this book because there were so many times I stopped to consider how I had participated in or seen happen some experience she described. I now understand better that is not the responsibility of any one black person to be asked to speak for all...and that I must become comfortable with being uncomfortable when my own assumptions and actions are called into question. I now realize what a lost opportunity is was for me, having grown up just north of the Mason-Dixon line with a father who was VERY involved in social action activities, that he did not share the struggles he endured and the awareness he gained with his 4 children.

BrendaCrouser

Review posted March 13, 2021

5

This writer eloquently describes the challenges with race relations. It is imperative that more people understand white privilege - without that we can not make progress.

Lindsey Swan

Review posted February 25, 2021

5

This book should be required reading. Ijeoma is no nonsense but in a loving way. She won’t hold your hand but she will show you the door. It answered questions that I have had for a long time. Highly recommend!

Autumn R Mosley

Review posted February 20, 2021

5

This is a wonderfully valuable work. Ijeoma Oluo brings awareness to those of us coming from privilege. A fantastic deep dive into racism. I feel better prepared and more educated to be an ally to the black community. I hope this book reaches people of all ethnicities.

Sebastian

Review posted February 18, 2021

4

It's a beautifully written and well researched book addressing the issues of privilege , racism, and biased discrimination against minority groups. It helps the reader understand the underlying forces of current sociopolitical movements such as Black Lives Matter, and even makes you ponder over the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and those who spearheaded anti-racism policies and social norms. It's a good read.

Jmays

Review posted February 12, 2021

5

Easy to read; a great starting point for asking yourself tough questions.

jaycholder

Review posted February 9, 2021

5

Great book for anyone who believes in equality and respect. Great resource for people wanting to have racial conversations without taking things personal.

Lelahbeckerle

Review posted February 8, 2021

5

I ordered this book on CD so I could listen to it while driving. It was very enlightening and I did learn some new perspectives. The best part of having this playing was that my teenager started asking questions and starting conversations with me about race. This led to full-on family discussions about diversity and respect for all. It has been a beautiful experience.

EmilyHough

Review posted February 5, 2021

5

Easy to read. Great book with very applicable information.

jnewton

Review posted February 2, 2021

5

Oluo's book is packed with information for anyone who wants to understand how to talk about race with grace. There are tons of mistakes us white people make all the time and Oluo doesn't hold back with honesty and explanation. Her own experiences support analysis of white supremacy and its impact on race relations. The language is direct and clear, understandable and accessible.

Charmaine

Review posted January 21, 2021

5

Excellent book as a whole or by the chapter to guide conversations. Provides clear discussion topics. I appreciated the author's honesty and clarity in her writing and will look for more of her work. Recommended reading!

Nsoll2

Review posted January 21, 2021

5

Ijeoma addresses race and racism by providing perspective and insight into the systemic problems she faced throughout her life. She provides many areas of discussion to help educate and further the discussion on social discussion issues. This is a fantastic book to help begin your journey on learning and advocating for social justice.

kwalker

Review posted January 17, 2021

5

Very informative read.

dtague

Review posted January 12, 2021

5

This is a fabulous introduction to JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) work and is something that everyone should read regardless of where you are at in your own understanding of white supremacy and racism in the United States. As the Equity and Inclusion co-chair at my agency I plan on recommending the purchase to add to our JEDI library.

jallej

Review posted January 7, 2021

5

Very insightful book. Some parts are difficult to read. I am a 67 year old white male. I grew up in a 'mixed' neighborhood with black friends. I always thought that I was not racist. The fact is, our society suffers from systemic racism. As a result, I am racist; I am privileged and often take my privilege for granted. I think everyone has he same 'privilege' opportunities that I do. I am wrong. This book can help with explaining systemic racism in our society, cause and effect, along with a healthy manner to open discussion which can lead to healing and mutually respectful communication. I recommend this book.

ijs58

Review posted January 4, 2021

5

This book is a must-read for everyone. As someone who works for a community development non-profit, I especially recommend this to folks who work in this field or are considering working with BIPOC folks. This book will help you rewire your brain to deal with your internalized racism and more. I hope to get my copy into the hands of others.

woliva

Review posted January 4, 2021

5

This book is so necessary in understanding systematic racism and what we can do to acknowledge and combat it. Very enlightening and fascinating read.

odler123

Review posted January 3, 2021

5

A wide ranging primer on anti-racist topics. Oluo writes plainly and simply. The book mainly focuses on how to engage in conversations, but also includes historical and social information, like the school-to-prison pipeline and how society compares MLK to Malcom X. This is less academic than some other popular books on the topic, and is easy. to understand. I would recommend this book to someone just wading into the subject for the first time, and to anybody who simply wants to learn more about race and how to talk about it in a healthy and honest way.

Julia Marie

Review posted January 2, 2021

4

I learned a lot from this audio book. I certainly learned that racism is rampant worldwide and not an easy fix. A lot of the information that the author shares can really only be known by a person of color or marginalized group. A person of privilege, which I mostly am, though a woman in my 70’s, I have gone through my life abhorring blatant racism. This reading helped me to realize the many subtle ways our white culture shows up as racist and how I gave little thought to some of my deep, almost hidden feelings of being superior. This author brought up many new things to be aware of and to share with others.

JYetter

Review posted January 2, 2021

5

It's difficult for an old white guy, who went to a segregated school in Louisiana in the 1950s, to shed what he knows to be wrong. This book helps, a lot.

dbrownell

Review posted January 1, 2021

4

I found this book very helpful in thinking about race. There were concepts and viewpoints that were new to me. I have recommended the book to several people, and loaned it out.

Mmanatt

Review posted December 28, 2020

5

So You Want to Talk About Race is a fantastic read that covers a wide breadth of topics introducing readers to conversations about race. True to the title, if you want to talk about race in America, this book is a must read; even more essential if you want to be inspired to begin your path to real action. Ijeoma Oluo’s style is easy to read and understand, her relatable anecdotes provide great examples to further understanding, and the flow of the chapters builds in a way that is engaging and aids in understanding the nuances of some more complicated topics. I am so thankful for Ijeoma Oluo’s work compiling this information, sharing her own experiences, and inspiring me on my path!

Judith K. Martin

Review posted December 19, 2020

5

I was surprised by the statistics on the drop out rates and the various comparison's to other races suffering from White Supremacy. As a white woman I have shared in some discussions about race issues but never more so than with the Black Lives Matter movement that until the killings on video have been seen. This reality never was so real until then. Seeing our laws shaped to allow no action against racism was shocking and undeniable. Change must come. Income equality, housing and education must all be changed before America is the home of the free. My thanks to the author for her dedication to reform for people of all color and none.

akotsovos

Review posted December 17, 2020

5

Excellent book. Well written, clear and concrete steps you can take immediately to have difficult conversations. Would recommend to anyone.

ruralracetalks

Review posted December 10, 2020

4

I enjoyed reading this group for a book group in my community. Even though I think it's hard for one person to share every negative experience a person of color can have, I appreciate the author sharing their experience. As a brown skinned girl I didn't agree with everything the author said, but there are definitely great talking points.

Fruitdale

Review posted December 7, 2020

4

I found this book to be easy to read, clearly laid out, and relevant. I really appreciated the addition of the discussion guide. it is easy to navigate reference tool for conversations that can be hard to start and necessary to have. Thanks!

[email protected]

Review posted December 4, 2020

5

I really enjoyed this book though I did not read it straight through, I gave each section some time to sink in before coming back to it. Much better written than other anti-racist contemporary nonfiction, both easy narrative and easily digestible bullet points for take-aways. A few takeaways, (1) "These conversations will always be hard, because they will always be about the pain of real people." And (2) "we must be willing to hold our darkness to the light, we must be willing to shatter our veneer of 'goodness'" Lots of tools to help set intentions aside and see impact in real life moments, decisions and actions. A nice critical eye toward the racism in person vs online/ social media, and a recognition of how racism nests into the culture of the Pacific Northwest. I do recommend this book, even for someone who's attended the trainings and read some of the literature, this is one to read with post it notes and a highlighter for reference later.

[email protected]

Review posted November 30, 2020

5

This is an excellent book, explaining issues of systemic racism in clear, understandable ways. I learned so much from reading this book, I want to share it with everyone I know. And yet, at the same time, I know these issues are complex, and that I will want to refer back to this book again and again. Not only do I feel I have a much better understanding of what systemic racism is and how to talk about it, I now have specific ideas of things I can do in my own community to fight against it.

Marissaeadams

Review posted November 24, 2020

5

Appropriate book to introduce race into conversation. Very well thought out. Would highly recommend.

VictoriaThompson555

Review posted November 24, 2020

4

This book is so easy to read and the information is very much needed, especially during this time we are in. It deals with difficult topics in a straight forward way and helps people who want to address their racism to move forward.

suzlavine

Review posted November 19, 2020

3

While I found a lot to learn from this book, I also found it to be somewhat "preachy". I was disappointed that it did not go into more details of all kinds of bias, that even African Americans have towards other African Americans. The author touched on this at the picnic "encounter" but no depth. Bottomline - there are some good lessons to learn from reading this but recommend reading others views as well to broaden your horizons.

Terri 001

Review posted November 17, 2020

4

There are many terms that I hear- tone policing, white privilege etc that the author was very adept at defining and giving examples. The book was very readable

kkrato

Review posted November 15, 2020

5

"So You Want to Talk About Race" is an informative look at race. It aims to help readers better have conversations about race. I enjoyed Oluo's writing style. Her arguments are simultaneously effective, well thought, and easy to digest. She often uses her personal experiences to illustrate common issues. The chapter on tone policing is especially well done.

Danellmb

Review posted November 15, 2020

5

Engaging, thought provoking, makes you step back to think about how you came to your beliefs.

hallelujah81

Review posted November 11, 2020

5

This is an extremely important book for those who are seeking to learn about systemic racism, the ways each of us contribute to that racism, and what we can do to better address it. It is approachable and easy to read, while not shying away from many important topics, like privilege, intersectionality, cultural appropriation, etc.

chandler1979

Review posted November 10, 2020

5

This book is thought-provoking and provides explanations of various aspects of race for the reader. It also gives suggestions of things you can do to help in each chapter. Although the topic of race is serious and heavy, I enjoyed that the author weaves humor into her writing of this book.

daisy_macias

Review posted November 9, 2020

5

This is a book that I think everyone needs to read. It begins the conversation you should have with yourself about race and encourages you to have this conversation with others. This book breaks down the meaning of race and racism, and how race relates to privilege, inequality, microaggressions, cultural appropriation, and other factors surrounding race. This book is a call to action. Ijeoma Oluo puts a spotlight on racism and gives readers guidelines on how to combat it in a racist society. This book will speak to you, challenge you, and encourage you to reevaluate your preconceived thoughts. A must-read to become an ally to POC, and fight structural injustice.

Stefanie Hui

Review posted November 7, 2020

5

Great book that really dives into the issues facing this country and what has become our current societal norm.

Carol

Review posted November 4, 2020

5

I am ready to talk about race now. I will practice with white friends, but I am ready to listen to people of color with respect for the subtle and not so subtle discrimination they have had to endure for the history of this country. Thank you for this book. I am a better person for having read it, I hope.

barbaralilymccloskey

Review posted November 2, 2020

4

Eye opener!!!

Lorax2675

Review posted November 2, 2020

5

Such an eye opener around the subject of race in America

jackharden6

Review posted October 30, 2020

5

Highly recommend this book! Oluo does a fantastic job of presenting complex information about history, class, law, and race in a way that is understandable to all.

LoisTaylor

Review posted October 27, 2020

5

ijeoma Oluo’s book, So You Want To Talk About Race, is perfect for individuals, and most usefully, for groups of white people who want to learn about people of other colors and the issues they face. It’s honest, direct, has multiple personal examples of her suggestions, and reads as interestingly as a novel. It’s for people who in good faith want to know how to be allies for POC without being condescending or taking over. Oluo says we can do that by helping to remove obstacles faced by POC of which white people are barely aware.

Chaogurl

Review posted October 23, 2020

4

I learned a lot reading this book. I found the information very accessible and relatable to current racial issues and it really helped with questions about what to do and what not to do to support people of color. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the struggles of marginalized people and what can be done to be part of the solution.

Sherrill Kirchhoff

Review posted October 19, 2020

5

Everything You Wanted to Know About Race But Were Afraid to Ask So You Want To Talk About Race by Ljeoma Oluo is a 255-page (including a handy-dandy, chapter-by-chapter Discussion Guide) paperback that is so straight-forward as to be scary! The author, previously a journalist at The Stranger, a Seattle, WA alternative newspaper state that her goal isn't "to call out the 'bad' white people and console the 'good' ones, but to raise the bar for all of us committed to equality and justice." She further states that her moral imperative is "Writing commentary on social issues that could be of use." Oluo wants to bring journalism and writing in general back from the "abyss of click bait and outrage porn." A further goal is "to give readers the fundamentals of how race worked...to understand race better, and how to talk about race more effectively, and with more kindness...a tool they can hold in their hands and turn back to...as different issues regarding race came up in their lives." In addition to some Basic Rules about Race which, she reminds us, "is a social construct--it has no bearing in science", the author has this take-away: "White Supremacy is this nation's oldest pyramid scheme. You will get more because they exist to get less." None of this is easy reading, but it does give the majority a chance to walk in shoes less comfortable and perhaps think about a different perspective.

lromero100

Review posted October 16, 2020

5

I really enjoyed reading this book. As someone who has read a lot of books on race, I appreciated this perspective. The author presented the topic of race and racism through an easy to digest format. Each chapter was a different topic about race (i.e., microaggressions, racial slurs, police brutality, etc.) and made me feel better prepared to have these discussions in real life. I highly recommend this read!

Pacnw_jen

Review posted October 8, 2020

4

A great, accessible introduction to anti-racism. Highly recommend!

mpflowers

Review posted October 5, 2020

5

This book's message stayed on with me even after I finished reading it. Each chapter was powerful, and deserves to be read and reread. Each chapter was a heartfelt conversation about provocative topics on race, and each chapter left one with a greater understanding and a way to move forward. We should talk about race, and through this book we get the inspiration, the courage, and the concrete ways to do so.

edithh.esmeralda

Review posted September 25, 2020

5

Crucial for all educators. Great guide for talking about hard topics.

dougsannes

Review posted September 24, 2020

4

Very excited to read this book!

Lizd6396

Review posted September 18, 2020

5

Being that this book is one of the most relevant books written in this century it has been reviewed a lot. Every time a Black person is killed by a police officer this book flies off the shelf. The Author, Ijeoma Oluo, has commented on the experience of profiting and being able to continue her livelihood off money generated from so much pain. This is her first book, she will soon release her next book Mediocre. I have no doubt that this book will also bring important discussions and tools to the forefront of the movement we are in for the lives of BIPOC. To say this book is relevant is an understatement. It is a well laid out how-to-manual for dealing with race in the 21st Century. It is written from a place of love and experience. It is practical and easy to reference. The author is very clear right up front who this book is for. It is for people dedicated to anti-racism no matter where they fall in the spectrum of life. If you want to work towards better communication with your fellow humans in regards to the very real and lived experiences of people of color than this is the book for you. So You Want To Talk About Race is above all things a narrative of a life lived, the narrative frames and informs a straightforward practical guide to communicating about a difficult topic. This book will make you laugh and cry like all great narratives do but it will also leave you with tools. Real, solid, well laid out tools on how to deal with conversations around race with everyone from a coworker to a loved one. Oluo is matter of fact about when to engage and when to back away. Oluo never lets us think that putting down the fight is an option but she is very gracious with helping us live with our discomfort and providing tools for when we are ready for the next round. Her prose style and love for people make this book one of the most beautiful pieces of work written on race. Black people stay fighting for their lives and it is well past time the rest of us do our part to fight with them. To fight with compassion but also with effective tools that ensure solutions and forward momentum. Oluo has given a gift to those of us dedicated to anti-racism and the more people that read it, the more people that are given the tools, the better America and its people will be.

Danielle

Review posted September 16, 2020

5

This belongs on every bookshelf that supports diversity and understanding inclusion.