Educating the whole child and honoring the diversity of each individual from
Pre-elementary (age 3) through Grade 8.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: The Cliff Notes


Our first Eton One Book is So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. All faculty and staff have received a copy and are encouraged to read it. To help with the reading and to begin conversations, we are providing our version of Cliff Notes here for you.

Chapters 1-3: Is it really about race? What is racism? What if I talk about race wrong?

  • Racism is real, even if you do not personally face it or believe that it exists.
  • Discussing race and racism is hard and uncomfortable.
  • You will step in it when you have these hard conversations. That is ok, and it's how people learn.


Chapters 4-5: Why am I always being told to "check my privilege"? What is intersectionality and why do I need it?

  • Privilege is a set of advantages, and everybody has them. Examples of privileges can include race, gender, sexuality, physical ability, education, and family structure.
  • Intersectionality is where a person's identity, privilege, and oppression meet.


Chapters 6-8: Is police brutality really about race? How can I talk about affirmative action? What is the school-to-prison pipeline?

  • It can feel hard to believe, but in America, people of color are criminalized disproportionately due to how and why the police force was created.
  • While not perfect, affirmative action is a tool that helps combat systemic racism.
  • The school-to-prison pipeline describes how children of color are funneled from one system of oppression (school) into another (prison).


Chapters 9-13: Why can't I say the "N" word? What is cultural appropriation? Why can't I touch your hair?

  • Language holds power, especially when tied to a history of oppression.
  • The difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation can be complicated. Know that it can be offensive to "borrow" culture from an underrepresented group.
  • Asking to touch someone else's hair is weird and gross. Touching anyone for any reason without permission is not ok.
  • Microaggressions are small, sometimes near-invisible insults that have an exponentially large cumulative effect on folks belonging to a marginalized group.
  • Kids today don't understand why the adults in their lives just don't get why issues that have been largely settled in their youthful social world are controversial for their adults.


Chapters 14-17: What is the model minority myth? But what if I hate Al Sharpton? I just got called racist, what do I do now? Talking is great, but what else can I do?

  • Model minority is a collection of stereotypes about Asian Americans that presents them as the ideal minority group in America.
  • There is a notion in America about the right and wrong way for a person of color to fight for racial justice. One group is viewed as passive and acceptable, the other angry and combative.
  • An act of racism is not the same thing as being a racist.
  • It is a reality to effect real change with small actions.     
  • DEIB News
  • One Book Cliff Notes
  • Race & Racism