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So You Want to Talk About Race

Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,164 ratings)

Regular price: $23.07

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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.

Critic Reviews

"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)  

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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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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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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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.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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But this book..

But this book. Unapologetic and chock full of stuff for doing better. Get ready.

Also, Bagni Turpin is an excellent narrator.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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"So you want to make race discussions worse"

This books heart is in the right place, in that the author does want to make race relations better. And they even encourage listening, and understanding that people can have the same goal while differing in execution towards that goal. The life of the author given continuously throughout the book shows that they have a history with this topic.

However, this book encourages a very absolutist view on race. Where if you are a certain color, you are responsible for the actions of all people of that color. I don't see how this is productive, indeed I feel that it would only make relations worse between people of different colors. Not what I expected from a book I expected to be progressive.

Also, the book almost seems to discourage understanding and encourage escalation. Intention is given a back seat, and making mountains out of mole hills encouraged because, paraphrasing the book, "mountains are made of many small molehills". This flattening of severity is great for a feeling of moral superiority, but has obvious consequences for anyone who's heard the story of the boy who cried wolf.

If you want to discuss race in a more inclusive, civil manner, this is not the book to help you. This book seems to be a better guide to fanning flames. Which is disappointing because right now we actually need instructions on how to discuss things better.

Aside from the content of the book, the audio performance was solid. The narrator gave emphasis where needed, and performed multiple voices with ease. Also there were no noticable cuts that stood out to me, making it seem like one clean continuous reading. While the content itself often tripped me up, the narrator made listening a breeze.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • D.
  • 02-07-18

Unfiltered Truth

Can you handle it? I hope so. America/Americans have been b**l sh***ing or this subject forever. Times up. Get real get honest, do something that's been LONG overdue. Put up or shut up & get out of the way.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A disappointing angry rant

I bought this book because I thought Oluo might offer some insights about how we can take steps to end racism. Instead I got a seven hour, angry rant that goes into depth about racial oppression but does nothing to offer ways to help anything change.

Racism is seeing a person’s skin color before you see their humanity and making assumptions about them based on that. Unfortunately I think Oluo is stuck there. She sees every white person as a white supremacist racist. Because white people have advantages over people of color she resents them and sees them as the enemy, regardless of anything else about them. As understandable as her pain is, she speaks in a way I found difficult to empathize with because her heart and mind sound so closed. She loves labels and her constant use of them further dehumanizes people. Labels reduce people to caricatures. It would have helped if she tried to see the humanity and compassion that white people have who are on her side but she does not acknowledge that in this book.

As I listened to the narrator yelling Oluo’s words at me, I felt there was nothing I could do that would make a difference as far as she was concerned. I kept wondering if she wrote this book as a therapeutic exercise to unload her fury and frustration or if she really wanted people of all colors to get along and live in peace.



17 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Kris H.
  • 10-15-18

Informative, moving, strategic, and quotable

Oluo's points are masterfully made, with compelling logic and empathetic awareness of the reader throughout. She's certainly opened my eyes and I have a feeling I'll be returning to grab quotes. I listened to the reader at 1.00 and 1.10 speed and both sound great.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • George
  • 10-29-18

Thank You.

All I can say is an overwhelming thank you to Ijeoma for writing this book. Where my words have failed me this book has given me a voice, a voice so precise and clear that tears run down my eyes as I realise that I AM NOT ALONE and someone else shares parts of my reality as BLACK.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Maddie
  • 09-26-18

A MUST READ/LISTEN

Everyone, especially every white person should read/listen this book!
Everyone who wants to learn and be an ally to people of colour issues should have this book!
Everyone that works with minorities, every school, every public institution employee should read this book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Addy
  • 05-20-18

Outstanding Genius! Articulates so much of what I have always been unable to say

This book is important and it is important that you get to the end . If only I had her way with words, I might be able to say how brilliant and inspiring this is. The type of book i want to cuddle up to at that so I can wake with hope.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-30-18

Really good book, I'm thankful

loved it. as a white man it has given me a great insight into how to be involved in conversations about race with other "less understanding" white men weather it be at work or in everyday life.

the book leaves so many more questions and I hope to read more from ljeoma

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  • A. Nottingham
  • 12-10-18

To the point and so so worthwhile

I would reccomend that every person read this - even if you're white and feel pretty naive when it comes to talking about race, if you want to do better but have no idea where to start and are afraid of making "the wrong move", this book has you covered. Oluo gets her point across with a mixture of anecdotal evidence and undeniable facts, but always leaves you with a call to action and advice. It is an uncomfortable read, but it is so worthwhile.

The narrator was also fantastic for this book, very clear and easy to listen to, and stressed the most important and emotive points really well.

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  • Suswati
  • 02-18-18

Excellent, points are absolutely spot on

There has been a spate of incredible literature from African American writers, and this book in particular, stands out because of its instructional, informative guide on tackling racism as a topic.

From discussing how to approach the subject with others, to giving direct instructions for those who are willing to learn to change, there are few books out there that are as useful as Ijeoma Oluo's step by step process.

Most of all, the introduction of intersectionality, micro-aggressions and the myth of the model migrant is absolutely vital. It is one of the only books on racism I've seen in mainstream literature, that tackles issues faced by other races such as the East Asian and South Asian communities, bringing together a more diverse portrayal rather than just black, white and Hispanic.

Her own personal views are wonderful - the chapter on her 8-year-old son's choice to not pledge allegiance is utterly heartfelt, and yet she handles the situation very well. An absolute essential read.

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  • cesa
  • 02-03-18

Brilliant!

Thank you, Ms Oluo. An absolute must-read. Right up there with R Gay & M Jerkins.