Book Review: Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race

Sticking to my goals, and doing the work, making sure I keep myself updated, knowledgeable and accountable. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race is one of THOSE books, first published in 2017, but oh so so relevant today and I would almost venture to say it’s vital reading. Written within a British context, but still very relevant to the US and Canada in many ways. Normally when I write my introduction paragraph, I try to keep it interesting but vague because I want you as a reader to keep reading further ( 😃 ). This time, I’m not even going to beat around the bushes, simply put- this book is vital, a cornerstone, it’s revolutionary. See why, I believe this to be true.

History shows us that this country had created a global empire it could draw labour from at ease. But it wasn’t ready for the repercussions and responsibilities that came with its colonizing of countries and cultures. It was black and brown people who suffered the concequences.

Synopsis:

This isn’t a fiction, so it doesn’t follow the traditional structure of a novel, but Reni Eddo-Lodge was able to give such wonderful imagery and eloquence to this book, it should be celebrated. The each chapter is broken down into main categories: Housing / Education / White Privilege / Feminism and so on. She clearly and concisely sheds light and insight into the history and structures which exist in the British legal and social structure which has laid the ground work for the social, economical, gender based discrimination and inequalities which Black and people of colour face in modern day Britain. For anyone who may genuinely believe that society is that of a fair and equal one for all, she is able to not only debunk this, but she slaps you with facts, it’s hard to see how anyone can think any differently.

Break it Down:

Dare I say that this isn’t a book at all, but an education manual. As a Canadian who lived and worked in the UK for 10 years, this book definitely added to the knowledge I picked up while living there, observing some of the cultural anomalies and nuances I picked up on. I was never met with any overt racism, none shouted at me in the streets, no one refused to sit next to me; but the “Britishness” of the racism I experienced was almost a mental gymnastics. Passing comments were made about my hair, the colour of my skin, about how well I spoke English, about how nice “my people” were. This book really gave me the scope I didn’t have prior. I found myself not only reading and nodding to myself, pulling out a pencil and tabs to mark pages, but devouring this book, something I haven’t done in a very long time! When I tell you I am taking notes- underlining and putting tabs like I’m back in university- I am literally a student of this book. At a certain point I needed to digest someone what I was taking in, because I was seeing it from the lens that I had experienced and it was a little heavy for me. I don’t know if it’s a book to be read hungrily or to read with thought and sit and slowly digest its information. It’s honestly very, very eye-opening and informative.

Fear of a black planet maintains that people of colour are unfairly vying for precious, rationed and scarce resources, and that having more people of colour in these positions of power might instigate a drastic tipping of the scales.

The deep fear some people or institutions have of black or marginalised people gaining more access to opportunities, the push back of having to give up some of their slice of the pie for someone else to have some; as if equal, fair and proportional rights means less for others. She talks about how Britain gained its power, through and on the backs of black and brown bodies, when they needed help, but yet they continue to mistreat and marginalize us as a community. The identifies the many laws created and ultimately enforced in order to keep the poor poor and essentially draining resources out of the regions which so desperately needed them.

Negatives?:

I accept that it’s not a work of fiction and this book idea stemmed from the reception her original blog post received, so maybe the sections have been created to fit into a book, which is in a completely different format to a blog post, but needless to say. This doesn’t affect the book, it’s clear, direct and simplistically written. It isn’t full of wordy big words meant to confuse.

The RnR Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Would I recommend the book?:

Most definitely, similarly to Hood Feminism, it touches on many issue, which affect the Black community today. This book lays the groundwork or explanation of racism in Britain. It is 100% necessary reading.