This has been on my radar since I first read ASKReviews’ great review in the best/worst of CBR10 post. Now that I have finally read it, I can say that I should have done that sooner. I don’t know that any book examines racism and its facets as clearly and concisely as this one does it, while also effortlessly uncovering one’s own biases and prejudices.
First of all, the author discusses the definition of racism that should be used, and it is one of institutional racism, because this is the one that exposes the foundation that is supporting a system of white supremacy. Then, she looks at other aspects of the same topic, like the meaning of intersectionality, cultural appropriation, and affirmative action. Why must everyone check their privilege? What are micro aggressions? What is the model minority myth, and why is it so harmful? What about the school-to-prison pipeline? There is a ton of very important information in this book, and everything is explained clearly and the argumentation is easily followed. The personal anecdotes Oluo shares underline the point she is trying to make at that precise moment perfectly.
There are also no punches being pulled; as a white person, it was often an uncomfortable read because this book made me acutely aware of all the blind spots and biases that I may or may not have known about. We all are a part of a racist system, and to fight it is a Herculean task. So what can we as white, privileged people do? First of all, of course, listen and learn, but the author also offers practical and great advice for many situations and discussions, and she does it in a very structured and informative manner. The writing in general is very good, as the language used is precise and firm in a way that made me listen without ever making me resent her for showing me some hard truths about myself.
A just world is not something that can realistically be achieved, but it is a moral obligation to try for it because it should be unimaginable that this is what is left to future generations. It is on every single person to learn about these issues and to act accordingly. Read this book because it really is that great and important.
CBR11 Bingo: Cannonballer Says