Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race is the debut of British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge published in 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing. This outspoken, unfiltered exposé expands on a blog post originally posted in 2014 where the author resolved that she would no longer talk to white people about race.
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This is a forthright denunciation of what the author terms as “structural racism” and the institutions of the British system that is positioned in such a way that marginalises ethnic minorities, putting them at a disadvantage in white male dominated environments.
Eddo-Lodge’s argument is multi-faceted developing the theme of racism in relation to feminism, class and white privilege. The chapter Fear Of A Black Planet makes inference not only to black people but to other ethnic minorities and foreign immigrants. I think this well rounded analysis on discrimination, but particularly racial discrimination credits her argument as being more than mere victim mentality reverse racism, albeit the occasional exasperated or angry tone it sometimes conveys.
As a black female myself, born and bred in West London, this book naturally affected me personally. I couldn’t relate more if I tried when she spoke of the double disadvantage that stifles black women in this country and the stereotypes of the loud, overbearing, confrontational, irate black woman that seems to follow us wherever we go. Eddo-Lodge bluntly puts it this way;
“The angry black woman stereotype wields misogyny as a stick to beat black women over the head with.”*
As I said earlier, I think the argument she puts together is very multi-faceted. But it doesn’t acknowledge the complexities of the black community that manifests itself in certain anti-social behaviours i.e. anger amongst the black community leading to involvement in gang culture and crime. Eddo-Lodge focuses instead on the issue of how stereotypes are used or “wield[ed]” to marginalise and discriminate against ethnic minorities in professional environments and feminist circles.
I think this book is a much needed discussion in terms of where we think we are on the matter of racial discrimination and where we actually are. A most resplendent lens against the national cataracts of self-denial in Britain. It’s not an easy book to read nor is it an easy discussion to have nor is it particularly optimistic but I would still wholeheartedly recommend it especially for those who seek understanding regarding the racial issues that still exist today.
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