• So You Want to Talk About Race

  • By: Ijeoma Oluo
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (9,596 ratings)

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So You Want to Talk About Race  By  cover art

So You Want to Talk About Race

By: Ijeoma Oluo
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
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Publisher's summary

In this #1 New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a revelatory examination of race in America

A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers 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 readers 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.”

©2018 Ijeoma Oluo (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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)  

Featured Article: The Best Black Audiobook Narrators to Listen to Right Now


A skilled performer has the ability to take the written word to new heights, infusing an author’s work with empathy, warmth, and excitement. And representation matters just as much for audio as it does for any visual medium: listeners should feel and hear themselves in art driven by powerful performers and authentic deliveries. We’ve gathered a few of the best Black audiobook narrators in the business and their can't-miss performances.

What listeners say about So You Want to Talk About Race

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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.

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139 people found this helpful

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An Important Must-Read, but Worse than Expected

I have mixed feelings about the book.
On the one hand, I believe it is a must-read for anyone in the U.S., and a highly recommended read for anyone outside the U.S.
At the very least, it will give you a good perspective into the racial tensions in the U.S. and a good understanding of how it is seen by the activists of the African American community. Many eye-opening examples and explanations.
On the other hand, the book is not particularly engaging. Justifiably, it is filled with rants and complaints. However, I felt the case could have been made more strongly with more statistics and references to more studies. The book felt like a rally speech, and less like a piece of scholarly work.
Still, highly recommend. It was a good use of my time.

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103 people found this helpful

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Microagression To Whites

I read this book with my black friends at a book club hoping to be part of the solution and learn about my own hidden biases. For every good point there were several "microagression" against ME. Even my POC friends were embarrassed that I had to be insulted in front of them. And they were insulted that she assumes all black people have the same political views. They didnt.
We have agreed to put into practice those few good suggestions in the book and forget the rest of it.
My black friends apologized to ME instead of the other way aroumd.

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86 people found this 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.

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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.

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Entertaining and wise.

I was hesitant to this book because I am a biracial black woman in America and I wasn't sure this book was written for me or that I would have much to gain from it. Being mixed race often leaves you in the world of the 'other'. Often books on race are written to educate white people or vindicate poc. But this does that, but it expands into so much more than that. Everyone can be educated and maybe even find vindication in this guide to constructive conversation.

It was also nice that it felt as if Bahni Turpin really identified with and embodied the work. Thanks for the great read.

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Critical and a must read

At the risk of being just another white woman talking about how a book on race makes her feel...this book made me feel a lot. I consider myself a feminist and over the last year have learned much about intersectionality, and how I cannot fight for the rights of women without also including other marginalized people. But I do not have many people of color in my life. My social media feed is made up of mostly white liberal women. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about race, suspecting I was probably a little racist myself. I found this book on a list of must-read books on race. The chapter headings immediately hooked me. These were the questions I wanted to ask, and didn’t know how.

Ijeoma presents the information calmly and with some humor but also with the underlying steel and passion that evokes a real emotional response to many tragic topics. She answers questions and brings up additional information I had never previously considered. I believe everyone should read this book and begin to take action in their communities.

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53 people found this helpful

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Must read for white folks

I have done a lot of work on my privilege and racial bias (and I still have a LONG way to go) and books like this are so helpful, great reminders and calls to action, I will be rereading it again soon and asking all of my church staff to read it as well!

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Way to Preachy

This is exactly the kind of point of view that will complete loose people who have good intentions and want to learn.
Waaaaaay to preach. Couldn't finish it.

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Mistitled

Should be called 'So you want to hear a bunch of diatribes by an angry black neo-Marxist.'

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