Home Academia & Research ASHA Voices: Ijeoma Oluo Talks Race, Conversation, and Microaggressions

ASHA Voices: Ijeoma Oluo Talks Race, Conversation, and Microaggressions

by J.D. Gray
written by
Author Ijeoma Oluo delivers OMA's 50th Anniversary Address at the 2019 ASHA Convention. Credit: RC Photographic Productions

We know it can difficult to talk about race, but today’s guest, author Ijeoma Oluo, says that difficulty shouldn’t stop us from having those conversations.

The best-selling author spoke as a special guest of ASHA’s Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) at the 2019 ASHA Convention. She delivered OMA’s 50th Anniversary Address.


Joined by 2018 ASHA President Elise Davis-McFarland, I spoke with Oluo at the convention. We explore the challenges and opportunities in discussing race, and also talk about microaggressions. In honor of Black History Month, we’re focusing our entire episode on this conversation.

Interested in cultural competence? Check out:

What Are Microaggressions? While Celebrating Multicultural Milestones, Convention Highlights the Work Before Us
ASHA Voices Podcast Premiere: Communication Disorders and the Justice System

In her book, “So You Want to Talk About Race,” Oluo describes microaggressions as “small daily insults and indignities perpetrated against marginalized or oppressed people because of their affiliation with that marginalized or oppressed group.” Oluo shares how they affect people of color.

ASHA Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs Vicki Deal-Williams introduces author Ijeoma Oluo at OMA’s 50th Anniversary Address during the 2019 ASHA Convention. Credit: RC Photographic Productions

Oluo links microaggressions to health issues, and she emphasizes the stakes behind these actions and how we all can play a role in countering them.

“It’s really important to recognize that things are called microaggressions, but it doesn’t mean the impact of them is small.” – Ijeoma Oluo

Read the transcript for this episode

Meet our guests:

  • Ijeoma Oluo, author, “So You Want to Talk About Race”
  • Elise Davis-McFarland, 2018 ASHA president

To hear each episode as soon as it’s released, follow the ASHA Voices page on Leader Live or subscribe to the program with Apple PodcastsSpotify, or Google Play.

Questions or comments? Email us at podcast@asha.org. Or leave us a voicemail at 301-296-5804. We may include your comment in an upcoming episode.

Related Articles


Romayn Linares February 13, 2020 - 2:40 pm

Thank you so much for this podcast and thank you so much for your work. This is a complete validation of such an enormous part of our existence as Black people that often gets kept quiet because the discussion annoys our colleagues but at the same time can hinder us from processing these feelings in a healthy productive way in order to build better relationships with them.

Thelma Hilton Pierce April 1, 2020 - 9:26 am

I attended the live talk by Ms. Oluo at the 2019 convention and think that the live talk and the podcast raised very big questions that we all need to ask and address in our own lives. Thank you for the podcast and reminder of the work that we as people who support others need to continue to keep in mind as we journey together. As a Black Speech-Language Pathologist, I have struggled with a number of issues over the years. Why are we still hammering at the same things over and over again? The fabric of the profession is slowly changing. The dialogue is slowly changing but is the message getting to the masses? The live talk and podcast was the light bulb moment. The answer, the systems haven’t changed because of the people in charge of the systems have not addressed the real issues. It is the same, perhaps repackaged but the same.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.