Friday, February 15, 2019

#46 / White Lies

Ijeoma Oluo, pictured above, has written a book called, So You Want To Talk About Race, which has been a New York Times bestseller. I found out about Oluo's book from the December 2018 edition of The Sun magazine, which ran an interview with her that the magazine titled, "White Lies." Click to read it. Particularly if you are white!

Based on the interview in The Sun, I feel confident in recommending Oluo's book. And of course, I truly do recommend The Sun, a late-in-my-life discovery that brings me joy and tears each month. You can click this link to subscribe

What did I find so powerful in the interview published in The Sun? Passages like this: 

Leviton: You say you didn’t write So You Want to Talk about Race explicitly for white people. 
Oluo: No, although I always have to write knowing that the majority of my readers will be white. I find that frustrating, by the way. White readers slow me down! [Laughs.] It’s hard being a writer who just wants to explore words and instead has to find different ways to explain the most basic things about race to white people. I couldn’t do that for an entire book. 
Leviton: What has the reaction been from white readers? 
Oluo: I find that the amount of white anger I get in response to my writing is inversely related to the number of words. A five-hundred-word essay online will get more criticism than a book of many pages — because, you know, who’s going to read several hundred pages of something they hate? 
I’m not really interested in receiving thanks from white people, but I am interested to know what they are doing with the information. I don’t need white people to toss their privilege out, to disempower themselves. What I need them to do is look for where their relative power lies and use it for my benefit. What I want is for them to speak up in boardrooms, where policies are being made; to have a tough conversation with a Republican congressman who wants their vote — and who’s working hard to make sure I can’t vote. I only have a few ways of being heard, and you have hundreds: Go use that power.

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