Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

race

Before I start, I want to explain my position when it comes to race-related issues. I’m white – there’s no denying it – and I don’t have much experience outside of my own culture. But I want to learn. I appreciate the position of relative influence and privilege that I hold due to the colour of my skin, but I want to understand how race can impact someone’s perception of other people, and themselves.

What sparked my attention about this book was that it’s focused on race relations in Britain specifically – whereas the media often focuses on race in North America, glossing over the UK’s shady past (and present).

Eddo-Lodge’s frank style of writing is blunt. And I’m grateful for that – for too long, the black history of Britain has been pushed down and silenced, in favour of our pithy ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ obsession with Winston-era wartime, tea, and fish ‘n’ chips.

One of the most glorious chapters of this book is Fear of a Black Planet, where, somehow, Eddo-Lodge managed to snatch an interview with Nick Griffin. Yes, that Nick Griffin – previous leader of the BNP, charged with distributing material likely to incite racial hatred in the mid-00s. In this chapter, he initially declines a face-to-face interview in London, stating that “it’s largely a foreign country”, and agrees to a telephone interview. Honestly, this chapter alone would be reason enough to read this book!

Eddo-Lodge also expertly describes the idea of intersectional feminism – that is, feminism that impacts people who experience other kinds of oppression or inequality, such as black women, LGBTQI+ women, disabled women, or non-binary persons (please note, reader, this is not, by any means, a definitive list):

“America, with its grid-like road system… was the right place for the birth of this metaphor [of intersectionality]. Every person knows of a place where all the roads meet. A place where there’s no longer one distinct road, but instead a very particular spot, a space that merges all of the roads leading up to it. Black women… were proof that the roads didn’t run parallel, but instead crossed over each other frequently.”

These crossroads are where intersections lie – being a white feminist is akin, in some ways, to being a male feminist. There are ways in which the patriarchal, Western system can benefit you, whilst bringing down others. The issue is not in your benefitting from the system, but from it being at the expense of others.

I’m not lying when I say that this book has changed my perception of race in Britain (and further afield). For those of you who want to continue your own self-reflective and societally-reflective journeys of discovery with regards to race relations, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is available on Amazon and at all good bookshops (RRP £8.99)

★★★★★

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