It Takes Moral Courage to Do the Work

So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo  and The Myth of Race: The Reality of Racism:  Critical Essays by Mahmoud El-Kati

So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo and The Myth of Race: The Reality of Racism: Critical Essays by Mahmoud El-Kati

 

So You Want to Talk about Race, by Ijeoma Oluo (Seal Press, 2019)

Ijeoma Oluo directly challenges white people in this commendable book about racism.  She offers a clear discussion of race from a Black perspective.  She also looks beyond race and the factors that contribute to inequality—what race looks like in the context of dominant white society and how we are all products of a racialized society.  This, states Uluo, “affects everything we bring to our interactions.”  She describes how ineffectively white people perceive how Black people are impacted personally, economically, and politically by a racist society.  Oluo personalizes her experience with examples that offer clear understanding of racist behavior.  With a specific chapter for white people entitled “I Just Got Called a Racist, What Do I do Now?” Oluo’s simple response is “do the work.”  At the same time, she offers concise explanations that foster change and understanding.

The Myth of Race: The Reality of Racism:  Critical Essays, by Mahmoud El-Kati (Papyrus Publishing, 2014)

In his short book of essays, author Mahmoud El-Kati, a former history professor at Macalester College, states that “racism is prejudice plus power.”  This definition offers a platform for action, dialog and the ability to change power relationships.  El-Kati embellishes the definition with historical context (including the origins of white supremacy), theories that explain the deconstruction of “race,” and the idea that “race” is actually a false concept that is legitimized by power.  The power of “race,” under this scenario, sanctions the right of exploitation of one group over another.  El-Kati states that to get rid of “race,” the myth of racism should be a critical part of our educational curricula and a part of teacher training.  He also emphasizes that the myth of race cannot be solved “unless there is a healthy dose of the scarcest commodity in America — moral courage.”

These books are available at the Ramsey County Law Library.

 

 

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