You may be thinking that this book is by a Black person so it’s probably just for Black people…..
Wrong! This book is for people of color and white people who wish to be allies! In fact, it is for everyone who wishes to be an ally. And while the word “race” is in the title Ijeoma Oluo also talks about various other prejudices from sexism to the little-talked-about ableism.
So You Want To Talk About Race is a resource, it is a tool and not a novel so many may be wondering why I am reviewing it but nonfiction deserves in depth reviews too! In this super accessible book, Oluo addresses many racial issues including privilege and intersectionality. She is straightforward and unafraid to let those who wish to be allies know that even well-intended thoughts are sometimes better left unspoken. If you have ever wondered why people of color tend to code-switch or why no one appreciates it when someone claims they “don’t see race” or that the U.S. is “post-racial,” this book is for you.
There are many things I liked about this book, I enjoyed her narrative and the way she brought in her own hurts to showcase some of the microaggressions and implicit biases many go through. A microaggression can be thought of as a mosquito bite. One doesn’t bother you that much but imagine if you received 100 mosquito bites every single day? They are the small hurts and Oluo does a great job with describing them. In fact, she brings in a lot of definitions for her readers who may be unaware or may not have a clear definition in their heads of a word they may have heard or read on social media.
Like I said earlier, this is a wonderful resource for those who claim to be allies and those who are allies. I had been wanting to read this book but only picked it up more recently.
As great as this book was, there was something missing from it. I don’t know if Oluo is aware of the notion of “equality v. equity” but I do think it should be brought up in the conversation. For those unaware, there is an image down below to illustrate this point as well. Equality means giving everyone the same thing but equality isn’t truly equal when we all start off at different points. Equity is making things fair, giving everyone a chance to start at the same line.
Although a major argument was absent from this book, I know not all prejudices and biases and arguments could ever fit in one book. Therefore, I give Oluo a 4.5/5.
Image Courtesy of #MuslimGirl
Have you read any of Ijeoma Oluo’s work? Do you think you will? Let me know in the comments and if you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer them!
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