So You Want to Talk About Race Summary
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo is a discussion of racial issues, primarily in America. The author begins by explaining that race has always had a large influence on her life, as she is a black woman in what she describes as a white supremacist country. Racism affects every aspect of her life, from how she dresses to where she feels comfortable going to which neighborhoods she spends time in.
Oluo defines racism as prejudice against a person because of their race when those views are reinforced by systems of power. The second part of that definition is important because it requires the examination of racist institutions and oppression. Without that—if racism was only prejudice against a person due to their race—then it would be an individual problem rather than a societal one.
Oluo addresses many issues that affect people of color. For example, she talks about intersectionality. Women face different issues than men do. Black people grapple with many different issues than white people do. However, black women and black men don't face the same issues just because they're both black. A person can have an intersection of different things that affect them, from race to social class to gender. Each of these intersecting categories has to be examined in considering how a particular person might be uniquely oppressed.
She also talks about things like affirmative action, police brutality, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Each of these are issues in the lives of people of color that white people may not have to think about. They can affect whether a child goes to college or if they're expelled for talking back in high school and end up in prison down the line. Cultural sensitivity and a system that is ready to address the issues of people with diverse home lives and...
(The entire section is 477 words.)