Monday, July 13, 2020


Rating: 4.5/5 stars

If you want to address racism and racial oppression in our society but don’t know where to start, this book is for you. If you have questions about racism that you’re scared to ask, this book is for you. If you want to feel less ignorant about the Black experience but don’t know who to ask, this book is for you.

“If we continue to treat racism like it is a giant monster that is chasing us, we will be forever running.”

Ijeoma Oluo addresses vital topics in this book, focused around the questions that she gets asked most often on a day-to-day basis. These questions include the following topics:
  • Is it really about race?
  • What is racism?
  • What if I talk about race wrong?
  • Why am I always being told to check my privilege?
  • What is intersectionality, and why do I need it?
  • Is police brutality really about race?
  • How can I talk about affirmative action?
  • What is the school-to-prison pipeline?
  • Why can’t I say the N-word?
  • What is cultural appropriation?
  • Why can’t I touch a black person’s hair?
  • What are micro-aggressions?
  • What is the model minority myth?
  • What is tone policing?
  • I just called racist, what do I do now?
  • What else can I do besides talking about race?

If any of those questions sparked a chord with you, or if you secretly or overtly want to know the answer to any of them, then read this book. These are important discussions to be having. It is hard and uncomfortable at times, but that doesn’t make it any less important for us to educate ourselves and help those who are struggling and being oppressed.

This book was written to educate white people and push them to make an effort and make a change, but it was also written to make black people feel heard. Reading and understanding what Ijeoma talks about can help all of us face hard truths and enact change.

This book would be especially good for educators because it addresses a lot of the disparities in schools and success levels of students. I believe it can help people who work directly with children to be more aware of the way they may be treating children differently from different races.

Ijeoma addresses racism not just surrounding black people, but also surrounding people of Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, Latinx, or other minority descents. It is so important for us to recognize that racism is everywhere and affects everyone, even if the effect it has on someone is that they benefit from racism (which is not a good thing). Everyone is of equal worth and we need to strive to make that a reality that every single person of every single race believes. 

I read this book as part of my effort to educate myself on racism and the oppression of black people, and I definitely learned a lot here, but this is only the beginning. Education is never finished, and although I’m a white ally, I can always take steps to be a better white ally. I really encourage you, whoever you may be, to pick up this book or any number of other books from people of marginalized communities and learn for yourself what you can do to make a positive difference in our society.

“I hope that if parts of this book make you uncomfortable, you can sit with that discomfort for a while, to see if it has anything else to offer you.”

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