One Book 2021-2022: So You Want to Talk about Race

One Book Research and Resource Guide for "So You Want to Talk About Race"

Understanding Tone Policing

Chapter 15: But What If I Hate Al Sharpton?

Understanding Tone Policing and the Importance of the Message Over the Delivery

So what is tone policing? Tone policing is when someone (usually the privileged person) in a conversation or situation about oppression shifts the focus of the conversation from the oppression being discussed to the way it is being discussed. Tone policing prioritizes the comfort of the privileged person in the situation over the oppression of the disadvantaged person. This is something that can happen in a conversation, but can also apply to critiques of entire civil rights organizations and movements. Most damagingly, tone policing places prerequisites on being heard and being helped.

-From "So You Want to Talk About Race," Chapter 15

Background Articles 

These are articles that come from encyclopedias, overview reports, books, or similarly sourced aimed at providing the basic facts on a topic.

Popular Source Articles 

These are articles from more popular media sources such as websites, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and the like.

Scholarly Articles

These are articles from scholarly/academic journals that are written by researchers and other experts in their fields to share the findings of their original research with others in the field. 


Videos can be a great place to get information. Linked below are some featured - both from the library's streaming collection, as well as videos on the web.

Source: "Stop tone policing - 5 Minute Fights Against Racism #Take Note" by Jazz Fans Against Racism, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Source: "On Tone Policing" by T1J, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Why is Tone Policing Harmful? An Infographic

Tone Policing Explained

Click on the link below to view the entire infographic about Tone Policing.

a part of a larger infographic about tone policing

(Click on Image to enlarge)