14 June 2020

Review: So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me start with a little personal introduction. I'm an immigrant, arrived in the USA in 2008 after Obama was elected. When I fulfilled conditions for citizenship, I took it because I considered the USA's overall direction to be the correct one. Today is actually the anniversary of my taking the oath and becoming a citizen. I still treasure the letter that I got from Obama for the occasion.
Growing up in a small, south-eastern European country, poor enough not to attract any people of color to immigrate, made me utterly ignorant of race-related problems. 
So when the protests erupted, I bought this book and read it faster than I read any other book in the last decade.

And content hit me hard. The experiences the author describes as her everyday life, as something that every person of color has to go through daily, is horrific.
And I say that because I went through similar emotional anguish during the civil war in my country of origin. That fear of uniformed and armed people is something I experienced too.  Being hungry, being in rags, being judged, being forced to conform or risk beating and death, a dread of being stopped by people in uniforms, I went through all of that. 
I know how damaging such experience is to a person, how hard it is to live a life under such constant pressure. It is not living, but mere survival. 
I was lucky, the war lasted only 5 years, and then I could continue living. 
But now, a knowledge there are humans around me that experience such horror throughout their lives, it makes me sick. That has to change. That really has to change. No one deserves to live in such constant terror. 
When you decide to read this book, keep my words in your mind. As a civilian who survived a war, I can tell you that the book's experiences are eerily similar to the average experience of civilian war survivors. 
So whatever melatonin levels are in your skin, you should try to do something to help your fellow humans. 

And, as a white person, I cannot end this post without actually giving opinions about white supremacy.  My skin color exposed me to the direct excuses those eejits use to justify themselves. And those excuses can be boiled down to a pure fear of competition, lack of significant talents or skills, and ultimate laziness.  Every single racist I meet was either lazy, stupid, talentless, or any combination of three. In conditions of the increased and more robust competition, they cannot succeed. The racist answer is to use aggression to eliminate competition instead of exerting an honest effort to become a better human.  That's why I despise them. 
People like that will not limit themselves to just eliminate competition based on skin color. In situations where everyone is the same color, people like this find different ways to "thin the competition." They will use gender, religion, a particular region of origin, anything. Any excuse to declare other groups of humans less then is acceptable. Any reason to eliminate competition is a good one for them. If you know such a person, call them up for what they truly are and call up excuses for what they truly are.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment