Rummanah Aasi
 In this deeply inspiring book, Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi recount their experiences talking to people from all walks of life about race and identity on a cross-country tour of America. Spurred by the realization that they had nearly completed high school without hearing any substantive discussion about racism in school, the two young women deferred college admission for a year to collect first-person accounts of how racism plays out in this country every day--and often in unexpected ways.

Review: Tell Me Who You Are is a travelogue with an equity and social justice lens written in a format very similar to the Humans of New York project. The collection is inspiring, jarring, and eye opening, but written in a very approachable and readable format. Before starting college, the young authors Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi spent a gap year traveling across the country asking one hundred and fifty people the same question: “How has race, culture, or intersectionality impacted your life?” Intersectionality means the overlapping parts of one's identity which includes their race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, nationality, ability, age, and physical appearance. Each response includes the interviewee's picture along with their answer and an eloquent, insightful commentary from the authors as well as footnotes and definitions that will help the reader understand the context of the interviewee's response. The book covers a wide range of responses from those who have dealt with some type of ostracism from society due to that individual's identity. Some of the eye-opening chapters include individuals who genuinely believe racism does not exist and those who encountered virulent racism. Another revealing chapter is a Japanese woman who recanted her family's experience in living at an internment camp and accepting that was the way of their life instead of challenging or fighting it. I also very much appreciated the numerous voices of indigenous people's who are often forgotten and ignored.
     An introduction informs the reader that the authors embarked on their own journey learning and talking about race from their own personal struggles with racism. Both authors had founded CHOOSE ( “as a platform for racial literacy,” on which they shared stories from interviewees in the Princeton area; they had spoken at schools; and they had given a TED talk. Their yearlong investigation deepened and widened their perspective. The book's back matter is also important and it includes additional resources and ten conversational norms to help the reader navigate an open and honest conversation. Talking about race, culture, and identity is hard and very uncomfortable for everyone. We have to lean into the discomfort and talk openly, honestly about the United State's systemic racism if we want to see social change. If you are looking for a read that touches upon race and intersectionality, but do not have a lot of time to do a deep dive-in read definitely check out Tell Me Who You Are

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language including racial and homophobic slurs. Recommended for teens and adults.

If you like this book try: American Like Me edited by America Ferrera,  The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla
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