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So You Want to Talk About Race


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About the Author

Ijeoma Oluo is a writer and speaker whose work on race has been featured in The Guardian, New York magazine, xoJane, Jezebel, and more. She is also an editor-at-large post at The Establishment, and Seattle magazine named her "one of the most influential people" in Seattle.


"I don't think I've ever seen a writer have such an instant, visceral, electric impact on readers. Ijeoma Oluo's intellectual clarity and moral sure-footedness make her the kind of unstoppable force that obliterates the very concept of immovable objects."--Lindy West, New York Times-bestselling author of Shrill
"When you need a super team to help you make sense of today's complex conversation on identity and representation, Ijeoma needs to be your number one pick. No one cuts through the chatter with more humor, insight and clarity. No matter the issue, Ijeoma's thinking is always essential reading."
--Jenny Yang, comedian, writer, and co-founder and co-producer of Dis/orient/ed Comedy
"Ijeoma Oluo has built a career on speaking truth to power... [here] she offers a guidebook for those who want to confront racism and white supremacy in their everyday lives, but are unsure where to start."
"With this book, Ijeoma Oluo gives us -- both white people and people of color -- that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases."
--National Book Review
"White readers will find answers to many of the questions we might be afraid to ask. Readers who are people of color will find their experiences seen, heard, and believed. All readers will find themselves enraptured."--The Denver VOICE
So You Want to Talk About Race strikes the perfect balance of direct and brutally honest without being preachy or, worse, condescending. Regardless of your comfort level, educational background, or experience when it comes to talking about race, Ijeoma has created a wonderful tool to help broach these conversations and help us work toward a better world for people of color from all walks of life."
--Franchesca Ramsey, host and executive producer of MTV's Decoded and author of Well, That Escalated Quickly
"Ijeoma Oluo is armed with words. Her words are daggers that pierce through injustice, while also disarming you with humor and love."--Hari Kondabolu, comedian, writer, and co-host of Politically Re-Active
"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
"Read it, then recommend it to everyone you know."--Harper's Bazaar
, "One of 10 Books to Read in 2018"
"Impassioned and unflinching"
"One of the few guiding lights to emerge in our post-election landscape...the 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."
--The Stranger
"Oluo's approach to the complex topic of race in America is direct, helpful, and compassionate."--800-CEO-Reads Staff Picks
"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
"Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.... A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation."
--Kirkus Reviews
"So You Want to Talk About Race is a phenomenal read and it's helping me articulate conversations I want and need to have."--Adib Khorram, Morris Award--winning author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay
"Simply put: Ijeoma Oluo is a necessary voice and intellectual for these times, and any time, truth be told. Her ability to write so smartly and honestly with strokes of humor about race in America is heaven sent and demonstrates just how desperately we all need to be talking about race, and perhaps, more importantly, this insightful book shows those in power or privilege how they need to listen."--Phoebe Robinson, New York Times
bestselling author of You Can't Touch My Hair and Everything's Trash, But It's Okay
"While it can be emotionally exhausting and labor-intensive to have conversations about your lived experiences as a Black person with people who seem as though they will never quite 'get it, ' we know that in order for change to happen, these important conversations must take place. It's not up to White people to decide how these conversations go, however, and we need to turn to people of color who are not only comfortable enough to voice their own truths but who are also insightful enough to engage in these conversations in transformative ways. What Ijeoma Oluo has done, and continues to do, is nothing short of revolutionary-she has created a conversational guide and laid out a movement-building blueprint for people of all races who are invested in self-assessment, open to being challenged, and committed to collective progress. One of the most important voices of our time, Oluo encourages us to be the conversation starters in our own lives and to keep talking-someone who needs to hear us is listening."--Feminista Jones, author of Reclaiming Our Space
"Ijeoma Oluo-writing on any subject-is compassionate brilliance personified, and I am so grateful for her work and her voice. She is the first writer I name when anyone asks who they should read to help them think about and navigate issues of race and identity, help them understand what solidarity means and what it requires of all of us. So You Want to Talk About Race is a book for everyone, but especially for people of color who need to feel seen and heard."--Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
"So You Want to Talk About Race is warm and foundational enough for people beginning their journey to understanding racism in America, and thought-provoking and challenging enough for people who believe themselves to be well-versed on the subject. In short, it's for everyone. Ijeoma's voice cuts through all the noise and stays with you."--Emily V. Gordon, co-writer of The Big Sick and author of Super You: Release Your Inner Superhero
"I am in awe of Ijeoma. She is the smartest, most courageous and electrifying young writer on race relations today-the voice of our times. Let her be your guidepost. She will make you think and she will make you feel. Follow Ijeoma Oluo and thrill to the challenge, beginning right here with So You Want To Talk About Race."--Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility
"So You Want To Talk About Race is a landmark book for our times. Oluo does more than deliver tough, blunt truths about the realities of racism, power and oppression. She also, in bracing fashion, offers a vision of hope; a message that through dialogue and struggle, we can emancipate ourselves from what she calls 'the nation's oldest pyramid scheme: white supremacy.' That is why I don't think this is merely one of the most important books of the last decade. It is also one of the most optimistic. To write such a book in these difficult times is in and of itself, a daring and beautiful act."--Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation and author of What's My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States
"Ijeoma Oluo's work is a necessary course correction. The desire to avoid conversations about race can actually feel rational, as if there's nothing to be gained in more talking. But Oluo offers us a way through with her bold combination of directness and empathy she allows space for us to admit that even people of color need parameters and working definitions. In a time when words are misused then rendered meaningless, while the actual painful condition and systems we need to address persist and grow and worsen, Oluo offers us a reset, a starting point, a clear way forward."--dream hampton, filmmaker, writer, activist, and filmmaker, and executive producer of Surviving R. Kelly
"Ijeoma Oluo's work is where candor meets wisdom, where intelligence meets action, where prose meets power. With her indelible combination of lived experience and research, she is one of the most important people writing about this current moment for our country and our world. So You Want to Talk About Race is a book that I have recommended to countless people-and that I will continue to recommend for years to come."--Rakesh Satyal, author of Blue Boy and No One Can Pronounce My Name
"Ijeoma's book is a nuanced and refreshingly frank discussion of race relations from a Black perspective. It's sharp, funny, and incisive. I consider her book essential reading for any white person looking for a greater understanding of race, so much so that reading her book is a prerequisite for any white person who approaches me in good faith wanting to be more 'woke, ' as it were. Her book acts as a set of guidelines for white people looking to engage Black people in discussions of race, which, in this climate, is critical. What sets this book apart from others books on race is that it also acts as a set of boundaries for Black people to set for themselves so that they are not driven mad by discussions of race with people who have no interest in truly grasping the ways in which white supremacy and privilege can serve as a barrier to understanding. Discussion of race for Black people can be disheartening and demoralizing; they often devolve into gaslighting leaving Black people frustrated in an effort to get through to white people. Ijeoma's book provides a bridge for understanding and the stories she relays-especially the stories she relays in dealing with her mother-provide hope for those of us who are committed to anti-racism."--Imani Gandy, senior legal analyst for Rewire.News and co-host of Boom! Lawyered podcast
"Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race is a welcome gift to us all--a critical offering during a moment when the hard work of social transformation is hampered by the inability of anyone who benefits from systemic racism to reckon with its costs. Oluo's mandate is clear and powerful: change will not come unless we are brave enough to name and remove the many forces at work strangling freedom. Racial supremacy is but one of those forces."

--Darnell L. Moore, author of No Ashes in the Fire

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