So You Want to Talk About Race?

I am not a huge writer of book reviews (if you could even call the slice below a review) but the importance of #amplifymelanatedvoices paired with “I cannot believe I didn’t know about this book until this past week” has inspired this week’s writing.  As I reflect on my own anti racist work, I realized to my horror that I had not yet read the work of a Black woman, so I wanted to be sure to amplify this book and encourage everyone to read it!  

As I continue my path to being an ally and committing to being anti racist, this past week I listened to the audiobook So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo (which I will be purchasing to read, reread, and annotate).  I have read a handful of books which have informed my anti racist journey already but, I found this book to be an especially raw, honest, concrete, accessible, actionable read for any want-to-be ally/anti racist commencing and continuing their journey. This book essentially takes the barrage of information that is all over social media and is very new to white folks, organizes it, and explicitly breaks everything down to help us (white people) understand the why behind the work.

Oluo urges us white people to dig deeper because our defensiveness and our fragility runs so, so deep. A quote which resonated with me, someone who perceived themselves to be a “good” white educator is, “to do better, we must be willing to hold our darkness to the light. We must be willing to shatter our own veneer of goodness…” I see myself in this quote as I continue to confront the white supremacy ideologies I was raised to internalize so I can do better for our country by empowering and protecting Black lives (paraphrased from activist Rachel Cargle).  As I confront my biases with every new IGTV video inhaled, every tweet swallowed, every book digested, I find the adage, the more I learn the less I know, holds true.  What I know for sure is, the more discomfort I feel, the closer I am to enacting changes an ally must make.  I highly recommend everyone of all races read this book, but especially those who have the most work to do, white people.  Please please please read this book and continue your self work because as Olou states, “people are dying in this unjust system. How many lives have been ground up by racial prejudice and hate?” 

4 thoughts on “So You Want to Talk About Race?

  1. Thank you so much for elevating the voices of black women. Not sure if you’ve read Austin Channing Brown’s book or seen her web series called, “The Next Question.” They’re also stellar.

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  2. Brilliant, honest sentence: As I confront my biases with every new IGTV video inhaled, every tweet swallowed, every book digested, I find the adage, the more I learn the less I know, holds true.

    Thanks for recommending. I have so much perosnal work to do and books help!

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  3. I think this is a fantastic book! (She’s also a generous teacher on Twitter–definitely pushes my thinking.) I love your point about discomfort. We have a choice when we feel that discomfort–we can be defensive and fragile or we can lean in and grow. Great post!

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