13 July 2020
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When the #BlackLivesMatter movement started picking up speed again on Twitter a couple of months ago, a friend and I talked about how we should be reading more about racial issues and how we could help, which launched a search for online sources that included book recommendations targeting white people.

We ended up spending quite some time on Goodreads trying to find books that had good reviews and that we could actually afford. I also looked at magazine articles and multiple websites, and was surprised by how divisive some of the recommended books were – in the sense that the communities that were being spoken of were “split” into groups that thought those books were helpful and groups that thought they were not. This makes sense, of course, because people experience and interpret things differently, so it is logical that their opinions won’t be the same. For someone on the outside, however, this complicates the search for educational material immensely, as those are the exact voices we must listen to.

The book that a lot of people seemed to agree was excellent was “So You Want To Talk About Race”, written by Ijeoma Oluo. The synopsis reads:

“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.”

All I can say about this book is that it starts from scratch. I find it difficult to believe that someone could read it and not understand what structural racism is and how white people are raised to live with and contribute to it all their lives. It’s in everything we do and it influences the way we interpret the world around us, from our relationships to our careers. The author is extremely kind in the way that she addresses all possible audiences, and her writing holds no judgement beyond what is deserved. We wonder what we should be doing in order to be helpful, and she gives us plenty of examples of how we can use our privilege to make a difference, reminding us that even small actions hold a lot of weight, because race is in everything.

This book was written in a clear and easy to understand way, even though it is bound to be uncomfortable for virtually any conscious person that reads it. It’s an important book to use as a reference, and I’ll surely be doing so from now on. I strongly recommend it.

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