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So You Want to Talk About Race

Written by: Ijeoma Oluo
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that listeners of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide

In So You Want to Talk About Race, editor-at-large of the Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions listeners don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystallize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor's seminal essay "The Meaning of a Word." A Harper's Bazaar pick of One of 10 Books to Read in 2018.

©2018 Ijeoma Oluo (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the critics say

"Narrator Bahni Turpin's impassioned voice clearly conveys the gravity of this book on race and racism.... Key points are repeated to help listeners absorb ideas and definitions, and Turpin engagingly reads real-life examples Oluo uses to illustrate complex concepts such as intersectionality and white privilege." (AudioFile)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Important Read!

This book is very informative and everything is said possibly and direct with due urgency.

it's a must read!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • JR
  • 2018-05-23

A must listen

This book gives every reader a perspective they can connect to and learn from: a story, facts and data, tips and calls to action.

I loved it and learned from it and hope there is a second volume.

Reader was great!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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American author.

Much of this book is based on American statistics and issues. There is something here for everyone though.

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Deeply insightful, I could not stop listening

I think we all know innately that something is wrong, but hearing it laid so bare and with such succinct power makes this an incredible listen. I'm so sick of hearing the same dismissals and same bad faith arguments brought up again and again that seeing them laid waste in this book so thoroughly was gratifying. This is a deep dive into an experience that is alien to me and I feel like a better person for having listened

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Informative and eye opening.

This book is a valuable teaching tool and should be read by all. I will listen to it again and again.

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A deeply important, must-read book.

I feel compelled to review and recommend this book because you need to do what I did: Get past the concern that this might not speak to what you need, and just give it a try. It'll be worth it.

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A must-read for everyone

You don’t need to be an activist to read this book. Maybe you are just an ally. Maybe you’re just a human who cares about all other humans. Whatever your situation, you will find that Ijeoma Oluo has matter-of-factly laid out all of the possible responses and arguments that people give to explain away racism or even just racist words or actions. We live in a racist society, of that there can be no doubt even in 2019. It’s a systemic issue, and this book was super enlightening for me to understand at least a little bit what I could never understand due to the color of my own skin. So if you don’t think we still live in a racist society, I recommend you read or listen to this book from beginning to end and open your mind to see it from another perspective. Everyone will benefit once you do, no matter who you are, because understanding each other in this crazy world is the most important thing of all.

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Essential Reading

If you are interested in moving the needle on racial justice and equality for all, regardless of your country of origin, this book is a must-read. If you are a white person or pass as a white person, this is ESSENTIAL reading. Read it, and read it again.

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  • jam
  • 2018-12-04

A must-read for literally everybody.

this book deals with so many of the important Topix we all have to better understand and face with bravery and understanding, in order to better facilitate peace and justice. The author has clearly done a great deal of important research and self-reflection. Her efforts should be honored with careful consideration from her audience. Ideas of cultural appropriation, white fragility, racism in general, microaggressions and the like are all laid out in careful and considerate ways for minorities and especially non-minorities to understand, reflect on and most importantly, act on. Please check this out. it will make the world a better place for all of us.

The book starts off very strong. About three-quarters of the way through, it loses its potency. It finishes strong and is worth every second of your attention. at times, the audience she is addressing is not clear. Is she addressing white people who want to better understand the complexities of racism? Or, is she addressing minorities who need empathy and understanding? It doesn't really matter, but, it is a little bit confusing.

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Solid Content and Excellent Narration

This book was thought-provoking and found a way to cover a lot of ground on a sensitive topic in a relatively short period of time. I particularly appreciated the explanations and/or history surrounding stereotypes or "myths" associated with race, as well as the author's bluntness around "what not to do". While I didn't buy this book completely oblivious to my biases, I found it fascinating there we so many arguments I hadn't even considered before. Very worthwhile read, and the narrator's phrasing and passion made it something I was excited to turn back on each time I got in my vehicle.
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  • alibamba
  • 2019-01-29

A Reminder to Read Books that Make You Uncomfortable

Yes, conversations about race are awkward to hard and even hurtful and I’m not thrilled to be categorized as a white supremacist simply because I am white but even with all that discomfort, confusion, eyebrow raises, and slack jawed moments I experienced while listening I have to say my world feels bigger after reading this. My perspective is changed. I didn’t understand or even recognize my own racism or white privilege. I have not had to confront racism and I have not seen the part in it that I have played or know what action I could take to change. I am asking questions of myself and assumptions I’ve made about a range of other issues because if I didn’t see this, what else am I not seeing? I feel very blessed to have come across Oluo’s book and will continue to follow her work. I also feel compelled to share that the narration is top notch.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 2018-02-05

Excellent book, excellently narrated.

Ijeoma Oluo has a gift for delivering hard medicine with humor and sensitivity. If you are a white person who wants to do better, this is a perfect primer on how (and when) to have conversations about race without doing more harm than good.

And Bahni Turpin is an impeccable narrator. She reads with a clarity and conviction that makes the content feel completely fresh, like a conversation, rather than a reading. A perfect fit with Ijeoma Oluo's writing style, too.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Maggie
  • 2018-04-13

I'm really glad I took a chance on this book

If you could sum up So You Want to Talk About Race in three words, what would they be?

This book was insightful, challenging, and thoughtful.

Any additional comments?

I had never heard of the author before but I am so glad that I read this book because I do want to talk about race. It's a conversation that needs to keep going. In some places it's a conversation that hasn't even started.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • shiawase
  • 2018-01-22

Must Read

Everything I hoped it would be and more, easy to understand chock full of numbered points of advice on various topics, personal anecdotes that connect to the larger picture and the inspiration to have these conversations and also take action.

If you’ve read and loved and learned from Ijeoma Oluo’s words online or in social media, you’ll recognize her same understanding of the complexity of these conversations (especially those that white people should be having with one another) and also her passion for social justice.

If you’re not familiar with her incredibly important work, and you’re willing to listen openly about racism from someone with much lived experience woven beautifully into a larger picture where we can all have an impact - positive, if we choose - I’d highly recommend this book.

This book covers many of the basics as a reminder so some but also encourages deeper reflection within ourselves. There are parts that feel necessarily squirmy, but it’s clear that she remains focused entirely on helping us all have better conversations about race and take better actions to change a system that isn’t fair.

If you’re not sure that’s the case about our system that still oppresses people but are open to listen, this book is a great place to do that, quietly away from some internet fight and with time to pause and consider.

Please read this.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Chava Mirel
  • 2018-01-30

Read it twice in a row

And about to start the third. If you are concerned with systematic oppression of people of color, you must read this book. It is uncomfortable to discover that we are all perpetuating the white supremacist hierarchy, but brilliant social commentator Ijeoma Oluo provides concrete steps we can all take to dismantle it, with a message of accountability and hope.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-08-16

Brilliantly argued

Well-written and informative with useful guidelines to keep in your pocket for having conversations about race. I learnt a huge amount.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Luke Kelleher
  • 2018-05-23

Required reading

What an incredible work! I've never read anything that so clearly articulates what racism is and how it affects people's everyday life. Every chapter, every paragraph, every word of this book is absolutely necessary. Stop what you're doing right now and buy this book. Read it. Then buy copies for everyone in your family and have them read it. Especially your racist uncle. (Trust me, he really need it.)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Juneous A. Pettijohn
  • 2018-04-13

Excellent Narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend the book to anyone who is interested in having a conversation about race.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Sara J. Henry
  • 2018-08-08

Thank you, thank you, thank you

I also bought a hard copy to flag pages. This book is a reference text for people who want to take action against racial oppression. The explanations are clear and concise. The action items range in size for people at different stages and time commitments. The recommendations are doable and accessible. If you care about the systemic racism that is crippling our country, READ. THIS. NOW. And then get a group together to read it with you.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • WiseWildFree
  • 2018-06-30

Grateful and Inspired

This was a profound offering by Ijeoma Oluo for all who are wanting to explore how to talk about race. Her synthesis of information and generosity of authenticity about her own loved experience have evolved my understanding and humbled me to realize how much I do not understand because of my privilege. Because of her recommendations, I have begun to explore how I can take a more active role in supporting the dismantling of white supremacy, racism and oppression in all its forms. If you are wanting to lean into signing with the transformational opportunities of these times, this book is a great guide. It’s going to take a lot of us, so for those who are bringing their efforts, I say thank you.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful