Even in the 21st century, talking about race is seen as somewhat taboo — a topic to be discussed in private with individuals who share similar views. If forced to decide between discussing politics with in-laws and discussing race with a stranger, many people would choose the former. Nevertheless, In a world where Neo-Nazi marches are becoming normalized, talking about race is a must for all people who care about creating a just society. Ijeoma Oluo’s book “So You Want to Talk About Race” is the perfect tool to assist in shattering the silence.
Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and self-proclaimed “Internet Yeller” known for posting her strong beliefs online. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, NBC News, TIME magazine and more.
With a careful yet firm delivery that makes the topic palatable to the masses, Oluo’s debut novel “So You Want to Talk About Race” offers white readers a rare glimpse into the systematic inequalities that people of color face daily. Readers of color, on the other hand, will feel a sense of camaraderie while reading Oluo’s personal thoughts and experiences. Each chapter asks and answers a new question such as “Why am I always being told to check my privilege” or “What is cultural appropriation?” The chapters use the author’s personal experiences to illustrate the topic at hand before offering practical solutions related to the topic.
The patient, personal and accessible way Oluo’s explores race sets her work apart from Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.” Eddo-Lodge’s book prioritizes the need to protect yourself from the mental fatigue that comes with attempting to explain yourself to those who refuse to understand, while Oluo prioritizes stepping outside of your comfort zone and engaging in uncomfortable conversations.