So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I stayed up late into the night reading this.
I was engaged. I loved the writing, the well-formulated arguments, and especially the focus on everyday micro-aggression. Intersectionality is pretty obvious.
So is the institutional racism.
It's not a trigger word. It's a fact.
Add this to soooo0 many small things in our everyday lives whether in conversation or news or even in our own assumptions DESPITE our best intentions, and we will be forced to realize that the institution is within us all.
Stereotyping. Of all kinds.
Then add that to the fact that people of color are quite literally abused with all kinds of microaggressions every day and then compound it with actual abuse, loss of opportunities, and being stuck in a system that insists that you must fail, and it's not hard to realize that, as a whole, the people are SKITTISH.
I mean, I was trained in psychology. All the things that Ijeoma Oluo warns about and asks of her readers are the same things that any professional psychologist would do when they want to heal someone who has been in a long-term abusive relationship complete with many fractured bones and a severe distrust for anyone in authority. Because the authority failed them.
So here I am, a white male who always espoused an open mind and who is pretty dedicated to using critical thinking. I don't WANT to be a ***ing racist. I hate everything it stands for. I believe in the concept that what we do to the least of us defines us as a people. The whole damn thing is wrong.
Seeing the riots, seeing all the horrible disinformation flying about, feeling the frustration, the anger, the senseless hate, the fear, the aggression... it's really polarizing.
So I turn to books to give me objectivity in a storm of media chaos and opportunism. Those who know, know to look at tactics and who benefits from such tactics. Fact-checking is also absolutely essential.
So what did I get out of this book?
It's true. For such a bright, strong voice, Ijeoma Oluo held me throughout the book and even told me this was for my own good... to tell me that I am a racist.
Of course, I'm supposed to suppress my natural reaction to being called a racist and accept it because it's institutional racism that NONE of us can escape. I even agree with it.
But you know what? I walk away from this book feeling a bit hopeless. I'm not going to give up the fight. I'm going to remain aware of my own s**t. But f**k.
I'm just going to put this out there:
If there's anyone who wants to talk to me about race, just do it. I promise I'll keep my ears and eyes open. And my mind.
I'm willing to do the best I can. It's not much, or perhaps it's everything, but more importantly, I'm PUTTING MYSELF OUT THERE. I'm not remaining silent. I care. That's it.
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