So You Want to Talk About Race

Non-fiction audiobook about practical ways to tackle racism in yourself and others

Content warning: racism, racial violence

It was time to choose my next running book, and I was in desperate need of an ear-cleanser after the last one. I already had a shortlist of books that meet my criteria for length and this one was on it.

Image is of the audiobook cover for “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo and narrated by Bahni Turpin. The light khaki cover just has the title text on it with a jagged speech bubble around “talk about race”.

“So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo and narrated by Bahni Turpin is a non-fiction book that seeks to help readers better understand the causes, nuances and impacts of racism in America and learn how to take action. With a particular focus on the racism experienced by Black people in America, each chapter tackles an ostensibly tricky question ranging from ‘Why am I always being told to “check my privilege”?’ to ‘What is cultural appropriation’?

This is a patient, informative book that uses a compelling blend of research and personal experience to make theory and practice around eradicating racism accessible to a white audience. By tackling some of the most common questions about race that people want to ask, Oluo acknowledges ignorance without coddling the readers. Oluo is also extremely aware of the breadth and limits of her experiences as a biracial woman in America and at no point seeks to speak for people of other racial minorities. However, she promotes broad understanding of the factors at play that cause racism and provides detailed explanations of why we should be thinking less about intent and more about avoiding harm to others. Bahni Turpin again showed her range with a clear but at times slightly exasperated tone that matched the intent and impact of the book really well.

I think the only thing I want to note is that this book is very much targeted towards white people in America, and as a result has a very strong focus on American racial inequality. While a lot of principles are applicable in other contexts, if you are looking for a book about racism in, for example, Australia you may want to try some by other authors.

A generous and easy to understand book that is perfect for those of us who want to learn more about racism and how to tackle it in our everyday lives.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Non Fiction

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