So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo | SLJ Review

“You are going to screw this up royally. More than once,” notes writer and editor Oluo in this slim but potent guide to discussing race.

redstarOLUO, Ijeoma. So You Want To Talk About Race. 256p. notes. Perseus/Seal. Jan. 2018. Tr $27. ISBN 9781580056779.

“You are going to screw this up royally. More than once,” notes writer and editor Oluo in this slim but potent guide to discussing race. Nevertheless, she urges readers to push past their discomfort; to do otherwise is to accept a society entrenched in systemic racism. The author knows all too well the consequences of ignorance about race. A black queer woman, she not only experiences prejudice but also endures the additional burden of educating those who are skeptical about her oppression. Precise, poignant, and edifying, this primer gives readers much-needed tools, explaining academic concepts such as privilege and intersectionality, debunking harmful myths, and offering concrete ways to confront racism. Blending personal accounts and meticulously cited research, Oluo demonstrates how racism permeates every aspect of society, from education to the police force. She writes with empathy for her readers yet laudably refuses to let those who haven’t grappled with their white privilege off the hook—“Don’t force people to acknowledge your good intentions,” she advises those who have inadvertently offended a person of color. VERDICT Profound yet deeply accessible, this is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand and combat institutional racism.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2018 issue.

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