So You Want to Talk About RacePaperback - 2018
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Even before Lorraine Hansberry's To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, African American women have been writing their own truths. With hate crimes on the rise and a volatile political situation, young black women have answered the call. Most of these books are at least part memoir, and all deal with social issues. If you wish to understand the deleterious effects of racism and misogyny, as well as… (more)
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Because the needs of the most privileged are usually the ones prioritized, they are often the only ones considered when discussing solutions to oppression and inequality. These solutions, not surprisingly, often leave the underprivileged populations in our movements behind.
Racial oppression should always be an emotional topic to discuss. It should always be anger-inducing. As long as racism exists to ruin the lives of countless people of color, it should be something that upsets us. But it upsets us because it exists, not because we want to talk about it. And if you are white, and you don't want to feel any of that pain by having these conversations, then you are asking people of color to continue to bear the entire burden of racism alone.
Even in our class and labor movements, the promise that you will get more because others exist to get less, calls to people. It tells you to focus on the majority first. It tells you that the grievances of people of color, or disabled people, or transgender people, or women are divisive... it has you believing in trickle-down social justice.
This promise -- you will get more because they exist to get less -- is woven throughout our entire society. Our politics, our education system, our infrastructure -- anywhere there is a finite amount of power, influence, visibility, wealth, or opportunity. Anywhere in which someone might miss out. Anywhere there might not be enough.
Race was not only created to justify a racially exploitative economic system, it was invented to lock people of color into the bottom of it. Racism in America exists to exclude people of color from opportunity and progress so there is more profit for others deemed superior. The profit itself is the greater promise for nonracialized people -- you will get more because they exist to get less.
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Ijeoma Oluo explores the history of systemic racism and how it benefits white Americans while harming people of color. She also answers questions people are often scared to ask concerning cultural appropriation, affirmative action, police brutality, and other important topics.
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