So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

“This is a book that entire families are reading together, that entire universities are reading together. And it is helping. It is helping people navigate conversations on race with more confidence and care, and with an eye toward real progress and solutions.”

p. xiii

Hello everyone! I finally obtained this book from the library, and I can see why it took so long and why the wait list for it is so long…it’s a must-read for anyone that wants to participate in fruitful, purposeful discourse about racism and anti-racism issues. I’ve written some of the quotes below for your viewing, but I implore you to pick up your own copy of Oluo’s book to educate yourself about racism and anti-racism within your own life adventure. 🙂 ❤

“Race is not something people can choose to ignore anymore.” (p. 5)

“These conversations will not be easy, but they will get easier over time. We have to commit to the process if we want to address race, racism, and racial oppression in our society.” (p. 6)

“But it is also everywhere, in every corner of our lives. We have to let go of some of that fear. We have to be able to look racism in the eye wherever we encounter it.” (p. 7)

“Racism in America exists to exclude people of color from opportunity and progress so that there is more profit for others deemed superior.” (p. 12)

“Because race impacts almost every aspect of our lives.” (p. 15)

“Our lived experiences shape us, how we interact with the world, and how we live in the world. And our experiences are valid. Because we do not experience the world with only part of ourselves, we cannot leave our racial identity at the door.” (p. 15)

“Disadvantaged white people are not erased by discussions of disadvantages facing people of color, just as brain cancer is not erased by talking about breast cancer. They are two different issues with two different treatments, and they require two different conversations.” (p. 18)

“As long as race exists and as long as racial oppression exists, race will touch almost every aspect of our lives. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Race is more than just pain and oppression, it’s also culture and history.” (p. 20)

“The truth is, you don’t even have to “be racist” to be a part of the racist system.” (p. 28)

“Systemic racism is a machine that runs whether we pull the levers or not, and by just letting it be, we are responsible for what it produces. We have to actually dismantle the machine if we want to make change.” (p. 30)

“But you are reading this book because you realize that we have t talk about race. Race is everywhere and racial tension and animosity and pain is in almost everything we see and touch. Ignoring it does not make it go away.” (p. 43)

“We have to tackle this problem with real action, and we will not know what needs to be done if we are not willing to talk about it. So let’s all get a little uncomfortable.” (p. 44)

“These conversations will never become easy, but they will become easier. They will never be painless, but they can lessen future pain. They will never be risk-free, but they will always be worth it.” (p. 52)

“Not only is the concept of privilege integral to our real understanding of issues of race in the West, it is crucial to the success of any efforts towards social justice that we make.” (p. 59)

“When somebody asks you to “check your privilege” they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing and may in fact be contributing to those struggles.” (p. 63)

“Intersectionality, and the recognition and confrontation of our privilege, can make us better people with better lives.” (p. 82)

“But our goal should be to ensure that people of all races are able to feel safe and secure with our police forces.” (p. 97)

“We must never forget that without systemic change and without efforts to battle and myriad of ways in which systemic racism impacts people of color of all classes, backgrounds, and abilities, our efforts at ending systemic racial oppression will fail. We must refuse to be placated by measures that only serve a select few–and affirmative action does only serve a select few.” (p. 119)

“We have to fight for our future, we have to work for change, but we also need to help people now.” (p. 120)

“WORDS HAVE POWER. WORDS ARE MORE THAN THEIR dictionary definition.” (p. 137)

“But words only lose their power when first the impact of those words are no longer felt, not the other way around. We live in a world where the impacts of systemic racism are still threatening the lives of countless people of color today.” (p. 140)

“”Just get over it,” some people say, as if the pain of racial oppression is a switch you can just turn off.” (p. 141)

“But if you want this to stop–if you want the deluge of little hurts against people of color to stop, if you want the normalization of racism to stop–you have to have these conversations. When it comes to racial oppression, it really is the little things that count.” (p. 178)

“No matter what our intentions, everything we say and do in the pursuit of justice will one day be outdated, ineffective, and yes, probably wrong. That is the way progress works. What we do now is important and helpful so long as what we do now is what is needed now.” (p. 187)

“We will never be free until we are all seen and valued for our unique culture, history, talents, and challenges. We cannot win this battle against racism if do not realize that there is no set of racial or ethnic stereotypes and will set us free, no matter how appealing they seem on the surface.” (p. 200)

“Because if you believe in justice and equality you believe in it all of the time, for all people.” (p. 204)

“So why do we talk about racism if it’s so risky and so painful? Because we have no choice. Because not talking about it is killing us. Because for far too long, the burden of racism has always been on us alone.” (p. 216)

“But life is a series of moments. And in reality we are both the culmination of those countless moments, and each moment individually in time.” (p. 217)

“Your mistakes or your achievements will never on their own define you. But you can only do better if you are willing to look at your entire self.” (p. 220)

“But do not fear those who bring that oppression to light. Do not fear the opportunity to do better.” (p. 224)

“Words matter, and I’m not just saying that because they are my job. Words help us interpret our world, and can be used to change the way in which we think and act.” (p. 229)

“We cannot understand race and racial oppression if we cannot talk about it. […] But understanding, on its own, will never equal action.” (p. 229)

“Talk. Please talk and talk and talk some more. But also act. […] Act and talk and learn and [eff] up and learn some more and act again and do better. We have to do this all at once. We have to learn and fight at the same time. Because people have been waiting far too long for their chance to live as equals in this society.” (p. 230)

“You don’t always win the fight at first, but small actions add up, especially when you don’t give up.” (p. 236)

“So start talking, not just problems, but solutions. We can do this, together.” (p. 238)

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