“There are very few hardships out there that hit only people of color and not white people, but there are a lot of hardships that hit people of color a lot more than white people.”

In her introduction, Oluo acknowledges that everyone, regardless of race, faces hard times, an easy retort for white people who claim that Black people aren't hindered by their race and that white people don't benefit from theirs. Oluo states that for a person of color in America, race is always a hardship, while whiteness always comes with privilege. Of course white Americans suffer from poverty, educational inequity, housing discrimination, but Black people are both more likely to be affected by it and the negative impact is likely to be greater. Oluo asks that her white readers practice humility and acknowledge that society is fundamentally unfair in ways that white people are immune from.

“Thanks to the power and freedom of the Internet, many other people of color have been able to speak their truths as well. We’ve been able to reach out across cities, states, even countries, to share and reaffirm that yes, what we are experiencing is true.”

In her introduction, Oluo explains the context and shape of today’s civil rights movement, which is playing out in part via the internet. This fact causes many people to believe that the issues Black people are raising are new or that the movement’s tone is different than what it was in the 1950s. Oluo argues that the issues haven’t changed, but the proliferation of the internet permits Black people to share experiences that they previously experienced in isolation. The internet allows minorities to share their experiences and to receive confirmation and validation that they are not alone. The validation gives people of color a voice and the confidence to use it. It also gives their stories an audience, namely white people, who may not have known what living as a minority in America has been like for centuries

“I don’t think this country treats people who look like me very well so the ‘liberty and justice for all’ part is a lie. And I don’t think that every day we should all be excited about saying a lie.”

In Chapter 13, Oluo describes her eight-year-old son’s reasoning as he decides whether to say the pledge of allegiance. While she is a civil rights activist and obviously hopes that her child will be as well, she also wants him to make his own decisions. She is surprised to hear him explain his reasoning so clearly. And she is disappointed that after years of struggle, Black and brown children in America continue to live in a society that doesn’t value them. Children see so much more than we realize. As Oluo details all the ways American society fails minorities, she also explains her own dawning realization that Americans of younger generations see these failures. They will work to correct them, and they will hold adults accountable for not doing so themselves.

“I’ve seen how addicted people can get to the satisfaction of knowing they are saying all the right things, that they are having ‘deep conversations’—so addicted that it becomes the end-all and be-all of their racial justice goals.”

In the final chapter, Oluo explains why talking about race is insufficient. It’s an important first step, but corrective action is more important. Words are meaningless if Americans continue to live in an unequal, unjust society. Unfortunately, Oluo believes that America remains so backward in terms of racial relations that simply talking about racism feels like a massive step forward. She reminds readers that it is not. Talk without action cannot advance the social causes Oluo champions. She acknowledges that talking about race is difficult, and making substantive changes will be even harder. Even so, Oluo argues against complacency. This reminds readers of her conversation with her younger son, who did not want to say the pledge of allegiance because he described it as a lie. No matter how noble words are, they cannot bring change. Oluo believes talking about race can be an important starting point, but only if it leads to significant action.