Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: an introduction to structural racism

Summary:

“The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.”

Taken from the publisher’s website: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/

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Why should you read this book?

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge was published in 2017. It’s the winner of several prizes, such as The British Book Awards Non-fiction: Narrative Book of the Year 2018, of the Foyles Non-Fiction Book of the Year and of the Jhalak Prize. It has also been OurSharedShelf’s January/February pick which is Emma Watson’s book club.

On 22 February 2014, Eddo-Lodge published on her blog a very controversial post, called “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race”. It was this post that gave rise to the book and I should mention that this may explain her tone, which is very accessible and informal. I recommend this book because it explains British Black History and structural racism. It also discusses certain concepts like color blindness, whiteness and white privilege. I really enjoyed a chapter called “The Feminism Question”, where she addresses the feminist question and its intersectionality – in this case, the lack of it.

Even if you don’t live in the U.K (because Reni Eddo-Lodge mainly focuses on this area), it’s a must-read. I live in Portugal, for instance, and I started to think of our Portuguese Black History. Not that I haven’t done it before since I’ve studied it in college but Reni gave me her perspective and I could relook at it, rethink it.

I thought Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race was an edifying and eye-opening book. However, I felt that it wasn’t as rigorous as it should have been in terms of research. I love books but I am an academic too and this lack of precision caught my eye. There should have been more data and evidence to sustain her arguments, for instance. I also thought there were several generalizations and that is very risky when you don’t have percentages to cover your perspective. Alongside that, Eddo-Lodge included an interview with Nick Griffin and I am not really sure why it was there. I mean, I know why. But it didn’t add up to the book since the author didn’t analyse it, made comments on it or even questioned it.

In spite of its flaws, I believe this is a book that should be read. It was described by the Observer as ‘a wake-up call to a nation in denial’. And that it’s true. It’s not only a nation in  denial, it’s a world in denial. This is a beginning. If you want to help and you don’t really know what to do, Reni Eddo-Lodge will tell you. Like she says, she doesn’t want white guilt, she wants action and change.

I’d like to thank Bloomsbury for the free copy. You can buy the book here.

“I consider myself to be part of a movement, and I think that if you are deeply touched by what you read in this book, then you are part of that movement too. It’s happening right now.”

Book Details:

Publisher: Bloomsbury (UK)
Published on: March 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Price: £8.99

4 stars

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