I ‘ve spent the last week reading and being completely schooled by Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. To say it was eye-opening would be an understatement.
In 2014, journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote a blog post borne out of frustration at the racism problems in the UK and at how exhausted she was trying to convey this to White people. The blog struck such a chord with readers – Black and White – so she expanded on her thoughts and it became this book.
A blend of opinion, research, statistics and interviews, it is written as a set of seven essays, each covering a different issue. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is an insight into the intrinsic, institutionalised racism problems in Britain. From how history has shaped this to how feminism, class and the structure of society contributes and perpetuates it.
Structural racism is dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of people with the same biases joining together to make up one organisation, and acting accordingly.
I went to school in England, and yet was not taught about Black British history. I wasn’t completely ignorant to it, but this book taught me so much I didn’t know. Also fully understanding how racism is so in-ground into our lives that most White people don’t even notice it, or notice they are participating in it (because it doesn’t affect them), was a scales-falling-off-my-eyes moment.
Be an active anti-racist.
When you think about how far we still have to go to eradicate racism, it’s truly shocking. That – to some people – racism is up for debate makes my blood boil. One look at Twitter will depressingly reassure you that the level of racism from ignorant people is very much alive and disgusting.
Every voice raised against racism chips away at its power. We can’t afford to stay silent.
Education and taking positive action is key to changing this. Educate yourself by reading this book. Call out your Uncle who has white fragility and thinks his inherent racism isn’t racist. Sign petitions to ensure school curriculums address racism and teach that it is wrong. Be an active anti-racist. It’s the only way we can facilitate change.
Reading this book was a hugely visceral experience for me. It challenged me, made me feel uncomfortable and made me address my white privilege. Something I didn’t fully understand I had until reading this. Something I now fully understand has to change.
White privilege is the fact that if you’re white, your race will almost certainly positively impact your life’s trajectory in some way. And you probably won’t even notice it.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is so eloquent, so powerful and so necessary to read. It’s not a passive read that you move on from. It’s a call to action, asking you to play your part in dismantling institutionalised racism and I’m 100% ready to do that.
- Published by Bloomsbury 2018;
- 288 pages;
- My rating: