Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

'One of the most important books of 2017' Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good ImmigrantA powerful and provocative argument on the role that race and racism play in modern Britain, by award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-LodgeIn 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led b...

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Title:Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Author:Reni Eddo-Lodge
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Edition Language:English

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race Reviews

  • TheSkepticalReader

    In 2014, Reni Eddo-Lodge made a blog post, from where emerges the book title, about why she does not want to talk to white people about race. The response was overwhelming, both from whites and people of color. Motivated by the response, she decided to continue the conversation in this boo

    In 2014, Reni Eddo-Lodge made a blog post, from where emerges the book title, about why she does not want to talk to white people about race. The response was overwhelming, both from whites and people of color. Motivated by the response, she decided to continue the conversation in this book in an attempt to bridge the gap that exists in a discourse about race.

    This book is personal, it’s not about grander ideas of life and history. She does discuss politics and history but they are reflected upon from

    perspective. Her dissatisfaction with conversations about race are reflected loud and clear in this book. This is one of the reasons why I’d recommend this to

    . White, brown, blue, green, whatever your skin color is, you should read this book. In any conversation about race, Eddo-Lodge’s experience is important to listen to.

    Eddo-Lodge’s words hit many cords with me. There are cases where I could

    easily relate to the frustrations she expresses. One instance of this is when she brings up the subject of the ‘good’ racist (or the moderate white person who is often the greater threat) as opposed to the ones who are explicitly malicious. Another is when she talks about the superficiality of the left’s aghast at Jeremy Corbyn’s win in UK elections (easily relatable to the US version of Corbyn in 2016). The 2016 election saw US Democrats in a new light and we came across racism from the self-proclaimed progressives on the left in a way I hadn’t thought possible.

    In her chapter on defining and understanding white privilege, Eddo-Lodge states, “white privilege is an absence of the consequences of racism…White privilege is dull, grinding complacency.” I certainly agree, however, her approach to the topic made me interested to see how white people would define it today (if they consider it a thing at all, that is). Another surprising tidbit she reveals here was that the term ‘white privilege’ was created by a white man. Isn’t that something?

    On the topic of feminism, we also have to address the battle between

    and

    . Being that intersectional has to precede the term ‘feminism’ in order to include the ‘other’, which the default feminism often dismisses, herein emerges an issue of class where one or more persons might not even be able to define

    to understand what intersectional feminism stands for. It’s a dilemma we clearly failed to address.

    But again, her argument echoes mine when it comes to feminism as a whole. That is, “When feminists can see the problem with all-male panels, but can’t see the problem with all-white television programmes, it’s worth questioning who they’re really fighting for.”

    I don’t agree with Eddo-Lodge 100% of the time obviously, nor can I always relate, but this is still a voice worth listening. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, I can still love the book for what it is even when I’m not always in sync with the author.

    Buy this book, read it, and then pass it on to your friends and family.

  • Didi

    It was approximately five months ago that my book club was speaking about race since we were discussing Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I found myself being the unique reference since I was the only black person in the room.

  • Clif Hostetler

    This book was prompted by the viral response that resulted from the posting of

    on the author's blog. I think the message is worth reading because it provides an excellent articulation of the near impossibility of communicating the fact of structural racism to white people who happen to be unwitting beneficiaries of it.

    Below I've listed the main terms defined, explored and discussed in this book. The definitions are as I understand them to be from reading the book. My definitions a

    This book was prompted by the viral response that resulted from the posting of

    on the author's blog. I think the message is worth reading because it provides an excellent articulation of the near impossibility of communicating the fact of structural racism to white people who happen to be unwitting beneficiaries of it.

    Below I've listed the main terms defined, explored and discussed in this book. The definitions are as I understand them to be from reading the book. My definitions are my own translation of the author's narrative and are no substitute for reading the book:

    Racism is prejudice with power. That means that minorities without power can't be racist.

    Structural racism is the summation of expectations, associations, and social forces that are assumed to be the norm in daily life. Their presence is so pervasive that their existence is often not recognized.

    White privilege is "absence of the consequences of racism."

    White feminism refers to the campaign for women's rights while continuing to be blind to racism.

    Class is often used as a code word for racist views (e.g. white working class).

    The history, social conditions and current events described in this book are focused on Great Britain, the author's native country. My first thought was that it was unfortunate that this sort of message wasn't focused on my own country, the USA. But on second thought I decided this book's message may be able to reach white Americans by allowing them to be less defensive about its message because it's about another country. If white Americans can comprehend racism in Britain they may be a step closer to understanding it at home.

    I was attracted to the book because 0f its title. Even though I'm white (and implicitly beneficiary of white privilege), I believe I share some of the same frustration that the title conveys. For a number of years I've noticed that the most racist people I know are the ones who preface their pontifications with the phrase, "I'm not a racist but ..."

    Talking to people like that about racism is the equivalent of talking to a brick wall, and if they have a disposition to be angry and threatened their words in reply can become the equivalent of thrown bricks. Thus, when I saw the title that expressed the futility of taking to white people about racism, I thought I understood the sentiment.

    According to this book if you claim to be color blind regarding race, you may be participating in the promotion of white privilege. Being color blind often makes people blind to the consequences of past wrongs and thus blind to structural racism today.

    This book says that racism is a problem for whites to solve because the power to do so resides with them. It is a problem that "reveals the anxieties, hypocrisies and double standards of whiteness. It is a problem in the psyche of whiteness that white people must take responsibility to solve."

    Toward the end of the book the author says that white people often ask her what they can do about racism—people of color ask how to cope with it. Among her suggestions for white people is that they speak to unsympathetic white people—exactly the LAST THING that I want to do. Well, maybe I can simply suggest they read this book.

    I want to also mention that the audio version of this book is narrated by the author, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and she does a good job. The emotion pent-up behind the book's text really comes through.

    __________

    The following is a link to an article discussing Trump's twitter exchange with reporter Greg Sargent on the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day 2017. I've included it here to illustrate how we in the USA have a Racist-In-Chief who seldom passes up a chance to add to his many "contributions to the degradation of the integrity of the office he holds." Trump's tweets often contain fodder for racist feelings.

  • Peter

    Utter crap!

    Let me explain why.

    My wife is from Bangladesh, we will have been married for twenty years this december and have two wonderful daughters.

    My point: I have had more racist abuse from blacks and asians since we have been married and my wife as had almost nothing in comparison. In fact the police found it very funny that my wife phoned them because it was I that was getting the racist abuse at our house not her at the time. It's amazing that they can laugh at white people for getting raci

    Utter crap!

    Let me explain why.

    My wife is from Bangladesh, we will have been married for twenty years this december and have two wonderful daughters.

    My point: I have had more racist abuse from blacks and asians since we have been married and my wife as had almost nothing in comparison. In fact the police found it very funny that my wife phoned them because it was I that was getting the racist abuse at our house not her at the time. It's amazing that they can laugh at white people for getting racist abuse but not the other way round.

    I was (many years ago), waiting for a bus in East Ham when a young asian woman with a baby was racialy abused by a black guy, because she was pushing a buggy and going slow he points at her shouting, "Why don't you fuck off back to YOUR own country bitch".

    Not being able to let this stand I responded that "She has got as much right to be in MY country as you". The emphasis on "my" was the response to him saying "your". The frustration I felt was because there was no white people involved in the initial altercation it was ignored by everyone around me, but if it was a white guy everyone around me would have exploded.

    In the end I was rewarded with a thank you and a smile knowing that not everyones a bastard.

    Black and asians are becoming openly racist and the native white population are not supposed to retaliate, the title of the book reflects this very well. If the title had the words black people there would be an outcry.

    I am certainly not racist but this book would make me change my mind if not for my wife and daughters.

    This book is erratic, poorly researched and without substance and partial truths. The author should not have been allowed to publish this one sided racist argument.

    A book that only fans the flames rather than extinguishes them.

    Before anyone throws a hissy fit let me point out that to only way for us to marry was if I converted to islam.

    PS: We only have one world so shut up and let's all get along, hey...

    Shhhh... I still do not tolerate religion.

  • Ian Connel

    "Why I'm No Longer Talking to Black People about Race."

    Consider that statement if you want to read this book. Avoid the mental gymnastics of postmodernism. Ask yourself, "does this statement show love and respect to other humans?"

    If you answered no, then you are not a moron. Stay that way. Treat people as individuals, not as stereotypes.

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