So You Want to Talk about Race

Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk about Race



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Recognised as one of the most influential women in Seattle, Ijeoma Oluo is a writer and activist for people of colour. With her best selling book So You Want to Talk about Race, she teaches us how to talk about systemic racism, how to recognise it’s workings and what small gestures can turn the discussion on anti-racism into actual transformation. Reading this book means putting yourself in the shoes of people who experience discrimination daily, understanding the systemic mechanisms that discrimination engenders and learning to “check your privilege”, meaning those rights we benefit from which to others are indirectly denied. Consequently, we look at the behaviours we can put into practice to become true allies in the fight against racism. Basically, to shift us from beautiful - yet empty - words, to sound reason and concrete actions which, year on year, could bring about positive change in the whole of Western society. 

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Analysis and key concepts


Racism is not a personal problem: it is a systemic one


To be able to talk about racism with full awareness, make sure you understand the notions of privilege and intersectionality


How systemic racism influences violence within the police force and the direct link between school and prison


Learn to adopt correct terminology to ensure any discrimination is constructive


Recognise and reduce cultural appropriation


Recognise and avoid microaggressions, even involuntary ones


How the myth of the model minority increases systemic racism


What does tone policing mean, why is it never used and how to understand the anger of those who are discriminated against every day


Being accused of racism could help you become a better person


Now that you have learned the theory, put it into practice




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand what systemic racism really is.
  • Develop an understanding of how systemic racism really took its roots in America.
  • Recognise and admit your own prejudices.
  • Stop engaging in racist behaviour, even subconsciously.

Ijeoma Oluo is a Nigerian-American writer. With her book of essays entitled So You Want to Talk About Race, she entered the New York Times bestsellers list. She has written for prominent publications including The Guardian, Jezebel, The Stranger Medium and is editor-at-large for The Establishment. Born in Denton, Texas, she lives in Seattle, where she was named one of the city’s 50 most Influential Women in 2018. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Political Science, and has two children.

Publishing house:

Seal Press