Waaaay back in November, when I actually had money and was spending too much time mooching around Cardiff in an attempt to avoid essays and revision, I headed into Waterstone’s and bought too many books. One of those books was Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. As a white person who has never faced any race-related battle (and probably never will), I knew I had to pick this up. It was definitely worth the read! It's pretty fitting to chat to you about this book this week, as I've just finished writing an essay about racism in journalism so I'm allll over the subject.
The book starts off with a brief history of black people in the UK. I can remember once questioning why my GCSE history course contained one female and the rest of the course was dictated by white males, but I honestly didn’t realise how little I knew about black history in my own country. I actually didn’t know much (barely anything, in fact) about slavery in the UK…can you believe that?! So, there’s me being called out for my ignorance within the first few pages. I really appreciated the first chapter giving a briefing on black history in the UK because it makes it much easier to navigate the next few chapters.
The book discusses how corrupt the system is and I found the “Fear of a Black Planet” chapter particularly interesting. For example, a fully qualified black man (I’m talking degree level qualified) has as much chance of getting a job as an unqualified white male. I really don’t think I can explain how horrifying some of the stats were.
I also enjoyed a chapter named “The Feminism Question”, which actually reflected on something I’ve been pondering for a while. Why are feminists all for ‘women supporting women’ until it’s a black woman who needs that support? Reni chats about an interview she had with a woman in this chapter who clearly was not about supporting all women and it’s truly inspiring to read about her resilience.
I think what made Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race so impactful to me was that we are living in this moment. Reni talks about the past, definitely, but she also talks about present issues such as the case of Stephen Lawrence and the casual racism that, on the whole, British society has allowed in. I have always been aware of my own white privilege and I’ve always tried to speak up about topics that I feel strongly about and can use my voice for, equality and racism being two of them, but after reading this book I was insanely inspired to speak out about more things that I disagree with; with that said, please feel free to call me out if you ever think I’m being ignorant.
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