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So You Want to Talk About Race Kindle Edition
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|Length: 266 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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''Read it, then recommend it to everyone you know.'' --Harper's Bazaar
''While so many people want to become 'thought leaders,' 'bloggers,' or even just 'influential,' Oluo is eons past that.'' --Forbes
''A unique attempt to bridge the gap between Americans who talk and think regularly about race in America and those who don't -- most typically, white people ... Impassioned and unflinching.'' --Vogue
''Narrator Bahni Turpin's impassioned voice clearly conveys the gravity of this book on race and racism ... Turpin walks listeners through each chapter, allowing them time to absorb the impact of topics from Affirmative Action to police brutality ... [and] Turpin engagingly reads real-life examples Oluo uses to illustrate complex concepts such as intersectionality and white privilege ... Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.'' --AudioFile
''Important and relevant. Police brutality, micro-aggressions at the workplace, and affirmative action are all grist for the verbal mill. Narrator Turpin has a soothing voice and reads with authority, understanding, and passion ... Both narrator and author are worth seeking out again.'' --Los Angeles Times (audio review)
''Delivers a punch while describing the realities of blackness in America.'' --Bust magazine
''With urgency, grace, and a straightforward sensibility, Oluo talks about race, exploring intersectionality, privilege, cultural appropriation, microaggression, and a great deal more ... Highly recommended.'' --Library Journal (starred review)
''A well-organized, well-argued, and lively collection of essays ... Oluo is persuasive, sympathetic and funny. She is also direct ... This is a challenging, sympathetic, and beautifully organized how-to manual.'' --Shelf Awareness (starred review)
''Precise, poignant, and edifying, this primer gives readers much-needed tools ... and offering concrete ways to confront racism ... [while] blending personal accounts and meticulously cited research ... This is essential reading.'' --School Library Journal (starred review)
''Insightful and trenchant but not preachy ... A topical book in a time when racial tensions are on the rise.'' --Publishers Weekly
''A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.'' --Kirkus Reviews
''This book is much-needed and timely. It is more than a primer on racism. It is a comprehensive conversation guide.'' --Literary Hub
''It's the most direct and disarming approach to the topic that I've ever read.'' --Leslie Berland, CMO of Twitter
''In a clear, direct, matter-of-fact tone, Oluo mixes memoir with guidance, walking the reader through some of the most complicated, and in many cases, deadly conversations the country is having (or not having) today. I have gone back to it again and again ... It should be on everyone's bookshelf.'' -Glynnis MacNicol, Contently Award-winning author of No One Tells You This
''You are not going to find a more user-friendly examination of race in America than Ijeoma Oluo's fantastic new book. The writing is elegantly simple, which is a real feat when tackling such a thorny issue. Think of it as Race for the Willing-to-Listen.'' --Andy Richter, writer and actor
''Oluo has created a brilliant and thought-provoking work. Seamlessly connecting deeply moving personal stories with practical solutions, readers will leave with inspiration and tools to help create personal and societal transformations. A necessary read for any white person seriously committed to better understanding race in the United States.'' --Matt McGorry, actor --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and internet yeller. In 2018 she won the Feminist Humanist Award. She was named one of the most influential people in Seattle by Seattle Magazine. She is the editor-at-large at The Establishment, a media platform run and funded by women.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- File Size : 2825 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 266 pages
- Publisher : Seal Press (September 24, 2019)
- Publication Date : September 24, 2019
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07QBNKJTZ
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : B08FCSV568
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,130 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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We need to have a conversation, or so this book leads you to believe. This book is more of a lecture about her opinions of her experience with racism than a conversation using facts. She uses emotions to help lure you into her “disadvantages” of growing up Mulatto in Seattle with a white mom in a white city (I can think of worse places to live and more hostile environments). For young Ijeoma, every injustice was related to her skin color. Every job that passed her by was because she was black. Cringe. Her definition of racism is absurd. I recommend everyone re-read her definition but reverse the words black for white. Or for that matter Hispanic for white. I bet that gives you a little bit of the cringe I felt when I read it. Her rules of engagement to conversations were one-sided and left many white folk handicapped since we are not permitted to “force” blacks into conversations because it’s “too painful and exhausting” on “them” to defend themselves. Not to pivot to another problem with our education system, the rewriting of history to suit their agenda, but this idea that “we” whites owe reparations to blacks including giving up our “advantages” that we earned to support their perceived “disadvantages”, can lead to a zero sum game. For every winner, someone must be a loser until we reach “equality” which she never defines where the end game is. This idea of oppressing one race for another will only widen the gap between races and weaken the chance of any real healing.
She could have used some facts. They are out there but she chose to ignore them so she could simplify her arguments and correlate anything negative that happens to a black person is due to racism. Yes, racial bias exists. Prejudice exists. It exists between races and within races. But it is insulting to Americans of any race to be blamed for bad outcomes of blacks. Statistically speaking, problems with black kids in school, crime, prison and police activity all point to the fact that 69% of black households are single parent. They systemically lose the benefit of economics, education, and health and allows easy access for criminal behavior. She says Travon “stand up don’t shoot” Martin was her motivator in becoming an activist. She must be disremembering the fact that George Zimmerman acted in self defense and was acquitted of any crime. I’m sure she still believes Jusse Smollett had an attempted hanging one cold winter morning in Chicago by a Trump supporter. Black activist are very quick to activate for any white on black or cop on black crime without all the facts and never back down when their story doesn’t play out to meet their agenda. They are okay with Black Lives Matter destroying public property in cities all over the country, tearing down statues of historic US leaders, changing school names, town names, and lake names because they were once slave owners. White guilt must exist.
There is no end to their social justice agenda. Many white elitist are sympathetic to the racial justice movement. This book is specifically taking aim at them. Ijeoma would want nothing more than to use them to push Institutional policy changes for schools, businesses, governments, and all private institutions of all kinds. She wants whites to surrender their power and accept that it’s necessary to chose a black candidate over a white candidate on the basis of race. Maybe we should ask them, are you willing to forfeit your child’s spot at this school and give it to a “disadvantaged” child? Actions speak louder than words. Ijeoma is part of a revolution. She is part of socialism. She is part of identity politics. And for me, she is part of the problem.
I am a white, sexagenarian, male, and former CEO. I am, therefore, a r#cist. (And yes, I am being sensitive to the censors who will look at this before posting it.) And I accept that because this isn’t about me. My personal tolerance is irrelevant. If a picture says a thousand words, an action is worth ten thousand pictures. That is how we should judge each other.
From my very privileged position in America, I have had a bird’s eye view of the systemic, institutional privilege (which in the negative is discrimination) that currently defines virtually all Western institutions today, including virtually all corporations.
Women have not shattered the corporate glass ceiling because the corporate institution was designed and built by men. Blacks have not achieved equity in the economic arena because it was designed by white men. Which is why, as Ijeoma points out, it really doesn’t matter if the man in charge is a racist or a misogynist or not.
The #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements are all about gender and racial discrimination. What has enabled misogyny and racism, however, is the definition and allocation of power in our institutions and our society. Tolerance is great, but it’s nowhere near enough. Until we challenge the structure of power, we will not address the underlying cause of social and economic injustice.
Here are the main takeaways I got from this book:
- It’s not about me or Ijeoma. This is about structural injustice.
- It’s not about the tone of the discussion. This is about structural injustice.
- It’s not about intent. This is about structural injustice.
- It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. This is about structural injustice.
- It’s not about who can use what words. This is about structural injustice.
In the end, the great strength and the great weakness of our political economy is our over-riding emphasis on the individual and his or her opportunities and rights. There’s nothing wrong with that per se. But in this crowded, technologically enabled world we live in, it’s not enough. We can live individually but we can only be judged collectively. Our insistence that every conversation be about me, or you, or Ijeoma, or that person over there, is blinding us to the degree that we really are all in this together.
Scientists used to view the environment as a collection of independent and discrete parts. There was a prairie here, an Arctic ice field there, and a rain forest someplace a long way away. They now realize, however, that there is only one ecosystem and what happens in the rain forest is just as important as what happens in the Iowa corn field.
Other scientists have discovered the same thing about the other hard and soft sciences. Biology and economics don’t cut it any more. We have to think in terms of evolutionary biology and behavioral economy. Real understanding lies not just within a functional discipline, but also in the spaces that separates them and the overlaps that interconnect them.
So, I go back to my original question. Why did Ijeoma write this book? I won’t pretend to know the answer but it is clear that she has a genuine desire to see us face the issue. And after reading this book it is clear that the desire is genuine. And while it is theoretically true that if she is successful she will have to find something new to write about, so what? That is exactly the kind of binary, digital thinking that is at the heart of the problem. Life is not either/or. It is, with tolerance, and/but.
Ijeoma has a perspective. And the tone is sometimes a bit harsh. But how could it not be? In the end I think the most amazing and laudable thing about her language is that she obviously worked so hard to keep a lid on her passion. If she were white, we would elect her to high office.
Am I appropriating Ijeoma’s book by writing this review? Yes. But that’s irrelevant. I am not her. And my appropriation is going to paint racism with a white brush and, potentially, demean that pain. But that is the thinking of a binary thinker—either/or. And that, in the end, is what we have to overcome. Tolerant people are not binary thinkers. Tolerance is not a function of embracing the other side of the binary issue. It is about eliminating the binary divide. Ultimately, the racism talked about here is about institutional models of power that disadvantage one group over another. (And, as Ijeoma points out, there are many.)
In the end, I won’t say this was the most pleasant read. It was, however, a good read. It made me think. And for that I am grateful to the author. I won’t say, “well done,” because that would be an appropriation, as if I could evaluate how well she had represented her pain. I can’t. It’s hers, not mine. I will say, however, that “I listened.” And I listened because you were clear and authentic. And I do thank you for that.
A must read. Period.
The next issue I had was that she comes off extremely arrogant and condescending at times. I actually listened to this book so I was able to hear her tone and not imagining what she meant while reading it. It was a huge turn off at times and made it hard to listen to.
Finally, she played the victim way too much for my liking. The constant whoa is me stuff at all times is not my cup of tea. Sometimes we have to pick our battles and save other battles for later. She seems as if she wants everything her way and she wants it now.
While she did talk about some very important topics, I was not totally able to get behind her because of these things. Because of these things I can not in good conscience recommend this book if you're looking for something that stays on topic and does not have other agendas.
Top reviews from other countries
Oluo's research is impeccable, I found the history of our police forces to be fascinating.
I love it when she teaches us simple things that I can remember, like terms like "black-on-black crime or brown-on-brown crime are 100% racist... Crime is a problem within communities. And communities with higher poverty, fewer jobs, and less infrastructure are going to have higher crime, regardless of race," or explaining affirmative action as meaning "if there are 10% black people in the area, the ultimate goal (not quota) would be around 10% black employees or students. The goal is simply equal opportunity for female applicants and applicants of color. Why would a representational number of people of color be so much less competitive than a representational number of white people?".
However when Oluo gives her own personal reasons why hair touching is a big deal for example, I felt there was some repetition and subjective hyperbole. And this might be a failing on my own part, but for some of the reasons Oluo so expertly defends the right of black people to know what's racist when white people talk I didn't feel comfortable with her talking about anti-Asian discrimination.