So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo [in Library Journal]
If you eschew potentially significant discomfort, then you’re probably not ready to talk about race. Then again, denial is no longer an option: “These last few years, the rise of voices of color, coupled with the widespread dissemination of video proof of brutality and injustice against people of color, has brought the urgency of racism in America to the forefront of all our consciousness.”
With raw vulnerability, Ijeoma Oluo – whose mixed-race African American and Caucasian parentage has marked her with both insider and outsider status – confronts disparity, inequity, privilege, cultural appropriation, and more: “These are very scary times for those who are just now realizing how justifiably hurt, angry, and terrified so many people of color have been all along.”
Veteran narrator Bahni Turpin moves effortlessly between patient explication – “White supremacy is this nation’s oldest pyramid scheme” – to painful realizations – “words [the ‘n-word,’ for example] have had a starring role in the brutalization of people of color” – to utter frustration – “I don’t let people touch my hair.”
Verdict: Commingling sociopolitical history, personal memoir, and enlightening how-to lessons, Oluo’s hybrid treatise deserves prominent shelf space alongside Ta-Nehesi Coates and Roxane Gay.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult