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.

  • Producervan in Sedona, AZ from New Orleans & L.A.

    Why I Long to Read the Rest of This Book

    Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Sampler of Preface and First Chapter by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ). History, Nonfiction (Adult). Publication Date 08 Mar 2018.

    *Structural racism. An articulate voice with the strength and clarity of a fair and gently, steadily ringing bell. A brave, deeply researched history/informology shared with due precision and depth, this is an issue that provokes acknowledgment, tho

    Why I Long to Read the Rest of This Book

    Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Sampler of Preface and First Chapter by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ). History, Nonfiction (Adult). Publication Date 08 Mar 2018.

    *Structural racism. An articulate voice with the strength and clarity of a fair and gently, steadily ringing bell. A brave, deeply researched history/informology shared with due precision and depth, this is an issue that provokes acknowledgment, thought, response; fertile material for the thinking/feeling humans among us today.

    On a personal note, as a mixed race southern woman I can tell you that my skin color errs on the side of “white”, the generations before me uneasily “passing”. The ones who carried the looks of certain nationalities marginalized themselves while keeping the secret from the children: “Native American” and “Black”. Looking at my ancestors this way has added yet another layer of my still veiled or sometimes murky understanding of the conflicts they experienced in the duration of their lives and as their offspring spread out and moved into other arenas.

    In the spiritual realm(s) of things, as in the case of any color, I feel that I may be a product of, but do not exist by contrast, either wicked or friendly or anywhere in between. Society is still beset by decisions formed by the prejudices of previous generations whose strong opinions trickled down into inhumane laws (and slanted interpretations of those laws) made by materially profiting people in other times not our own. The upstanding, kind, forgiving and considerate individual must continue to be so—persist in all that is said and done; by its very nature whittling away everything unlike itself, and in her or his true beauty contribute to the precious evolution of humankind. For indeed it is happening.

    These are my first impressions/responses to the early pages of this book.

    Super. Highly recommend. Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ebook sampler for review.

    *This review is not meant to offend anyone.

  • 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.

  • Melanie

    If you read one book this year: make it this one.

  • 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.

  • Trish

    Reni Eddo-Lodge no longer wants to talk to white people about race because white people always manage to make the conversation about themselves. Isn’t this the original definition of a bore? This would actually be funny if it didn’t have such deadly consequences for people of color everywhere.

    Eddo-Lodge is British and this book evolved from a

    Reni Eddo-Lodge no longer wants to talk to white people about race because white people always manage to make the conversation about themselves. Isn’t this the original definition of a bore? This would actually be funny if it didn’t have such deadly consequences for people of color everywhere.

    Eddo-Lodge is British and this book evolved from an explosive blogpost of the same title that she wrote in 2014 and which is reproduced in full in the Preface to this volume. Contrary to her explicit desire to stop talking to white people about race, she has become a national and international spokesperson and spends most of her time talking to white people about race. Is there a lesson here?

    Eddo-Lodge divides her commentary on the subject of race into seven chapters, the first of which, “Histories,” details her awakening to the realization that she knew very little about black British history until her second year at university. That moment of awakening, the moment Ta-Nehisi Coates also details in his own book,

    , is a thrilling one in the life of an writer/activist. After that moment comes the hard work of study and making connections.

    Chapter 2, “The System,” tries to describe the way racism looks today from the point of view of those discriminated against in Britain, and the excuses made to paper over any actual discussion of the problems. This is where the insistence upon merit and the way the conversation always turns to white anxiety is most apparent. Chapter 3, “What is White Privilege?” surprises us with the assertion that

    I’d always assumed that mixed race families had the advantages of understanding around issues of race, but Eddo-Lodge tells us that many families are not having the conversations they need to have, difficult and raw though they may be. Of course.

    There is so much in this short book that I have to urge everyone to get their own copy. The insights come fast and furious from this point on. For some white people, Eddo-Lodge asserts, “being accused of racism is far worse than actual racism.” That resonates in today’s America, and could as easily be said about sexism. We need to humble ourselves enough to learn new lessons. When addressing feminism and racism in Chapter 5, "The Feminism Question," Eddo-Lodge may present her most eloquent arguments, including a discussion about the need for black feminists to meet separately:

    In direct relationship to the cogency of her arguments, her shortest chapters are the most fluent, insightful, and well-argued. At the end, Eddo-Lodge uses a Terry Pratchett statement as her final chapter heading: "There is No Justice, There is Just Us.” In this chapter she reflects our questions right back out at her audience.

    Apropos of this exhortation, a racial justice educator based in Boston,

    , wrote a book on race primarily for white people, called

    , detailing her experiences waking up to an unconscious racism. I agree with her that we need to learn to speak this new vocabulary of race if we want to enjoy the benefits of diversity. Eddo-Lodge, despite her exhaustion talking about race with white people, is doing her part.

  • Tanja Berg

    "Discussing racism is about discussing white identity. It's about white anxiety. It's about asking why whiteness has this reflexive need to define itself against immigrant bogey monsters in order to feel comfortable, safe and secure."

    This book discusses structural racism, with focus on Britain, at length. I recognize most of the issues, it's precisely the same as what is being said here in Norway.

    "You can't hear English (Norwegian) on the bus anymore."

    "In year xxxx, us whites will be the mino

    "Discussing racism is about discussing white identity. It's about white anxiety. It's about asking why whiteness has this reflexive need to define itself against immigrant bogey monsters in order to feel comfortable, safe and secure."

    This book discusses structural racism, with focus on Britain, at length. I recognize most of the issues, it's precisely the same as what is being said here in Norway.

    "You can't hear English (Norwegian) on the bus anymore."

    "In year xxxx, us whites will be the minority because immigrant women are having more children."

    It seems that white people have a need to deny that racism exists and that that white is considered the norm. The heroes in movies white. The characters of books are white, unless explicitly told that they are something else.

    "Racism goes both ways." Huh, really? But in Europe, it's a white elite establishment against what everything is measured anyway.

    "How old were you when you realized that you were white?" A question from the book. Apparently this is a pertinent question.

    I was two. I have known I was white for as long as I have been able to think. I grew up in a remote village in south eastern Asia, where skin bleaching was and is a thing. With my white-blond hair, milky skin and green eyes, I was a fascinating anomaly. My cheeks were pinched and my hair was pulled. My skin tone was what everyone wanted. So my entire life I have known that I was at the receiving end of positive discrimination. I became, as I grew up, aware that I had bought into the hierarchy of whites - local majority - hill tribe.

    I am an immigrant, having moved from my passport country for many reasons - but also for work. I am not discriminated against. Although I speak with an accent, it's still the "right" one. I am obviously Nordic and thus perfectly acceptable. I know this is not the same for immigrant workers from further away. I have never been told to "go home" and unless I speak it is presumed that I am native, even though I grew up across the globe.

    I somehow lived under the impression that racial discrimination in the UK was virtually non-existent, particularly compared to the United States. This book stripped me of that belief. The UK has the same issues as most of the rest of Europe.

    What can I do to reduce structural racism? I am not free of bias either, but at least I am conscious of it and can try to mitigate it along the way - as well as pluck at others' assumptions. I have a lot to consider.

  • 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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