Monday, November 6, 2017

Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race: There is no justice. Just us.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A few factors go into determining if I'll read a book. Am I already familiar with the author? Have I heard good things around the interwebs (but really, mostly from fellow bloggers where I get roughly 80% of my book recos)? And, while not all the time but often enough that's def a major reason, is the title and/or cover eye catching? That was certainly the case here. 

I would like to first address the title. No, this is not racist against white people, that's not a thing.* No, it's not reverse racism.
Besides all that, Eddo-Lodge talks about the irony that as soon as she published her blog post of the same title, all she did was talk to white people about race. Basically, if the title is bothering you, maybe you should just calm down a bit and try to figure out why.
Song book
ANYWAY, so I wanted to read this book based on the title and the fact that there are obviously a lot of problems around race and I need to better educate myself so let's see what this is about. What I didn't realize is that this is a book about race in the UK, which is something that I know even less about than race here in the US. 

Eddo-Lodge starts talking about how the history of POC people in the UK is not something you come across unless you're in a college class specifically on the topic. But if you're in grade school (or whatever the UK equivalent is, I didn't learn that part, shhhh) good luck getting a history about black people in your own country. Whatever is learned seems to be focused on shit going down in America. And that's sort of messed up. Not because learning about history elsewhere is bad. But as she says,
While the black British story is starved of oxygen, the US struggle against racism is globalised into the story of the struggle against racism that we should look to for inspiration - eclipsing the black British story so much that we convince ourselves that Britain has never had a problem with race.
And that, of course, is a problem. If you don't have knowledge of an issue, how will you fix it? 

From here she has essays that tackle structural racism and white privilege and being bi-racial and "color-blindness" and intersectional feminism and the role of race and class in society. 
yes, yes we are
If this stuff IS your jam, then outside of the history stuff, there wasn't a lot of new ground here. That doesn't mean it isn't worth the read cos there are a lot of excellent points and she does a good job of putting these things into words and providing examples that illustrate the problem. Like talking about the "well-meaning but guilty-feeling white liberal" that is Hermione Granger when dealing with S.P.E.W. (Oh Witch, Please would be so proud).

If this is the type of stuff that you are already seeking out, read this. If this isn't the type of stuff you typically read, maybe that's even more of a reason you should pick this up. If you aren't already familiar with structural racism or intersectionality or why "I don't see color" is not helpful, perhaps this would be a good thing to read.

Gif rating:
*You can be prejudice against white people, but given basically all of the power structures are in white people's favor, not racist. Also this book is not prejudice against white people either so hush.

Title quote from location 2455 but she is quoting Terry Pratchett. But I like the line and the title is so long I wanted something shorter for the post title so I went with it. 

Eddo-Lodge, Reni. Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017. NetGalley