Steven Deobald's Reviews > Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
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really liked it

Every white person should read this book.

The title is misleading. The quotes from newspapers and magazines on the back cover are misleading. Reni Eddo-Lodge tells us early on that "Since I set my boundary, I've done almost nothing but speak about race" and she does so with a voice worth listening to. She approaches a complex subject intelligently and articulately, never throwing the reader under an emotional bus or setting you up for a cheap knock-out punch. My printing of the book is tattooed in descriptions like "A WAKE-UP CALL" and "A REVELATION" — I would never use any of these words to describe it. At no point in this book will you feel anything remotely like the overwhelmingly saccharine self-satisfaction one gets from watching a movie like BlacKkKlansman.

Instead, Eddo-Lodge splits her time between the subtle, implicit nature of the ubiquitous structural racism in Britain and the not-so-subtle world of encoding racism into modern British culture. At no point is the book indulgent nor at any point did I feel "beaten up" reading it (as a white person). The book acts as a dense, British microcosm for structural racial inequality the world over, with practical and actionable advice for everyone reading it in its penultimate chapter.

I say "every white person should read this book" not because I think it will provide some sort of epiphany. Quite to the contrary, it's most likely that by the time someone has both discovered the book and decided to read it in earnest, they will already know most of what the book says. However, I have never seen it said all in one place before. Anecdotes and ideas trickle into our consciousness from small journal articles and social media posts. Over time, they help build self-awareness and restructure our understanding of society. But a book means the author has your undivided attention and for much of what Eddo-Lodge is saying that's actually quite necessary. Pouring over this book gives the reader more than a few moments of self-observation and 250 pages to simply shut up and listen.

I am excited to see where this will lead. After seven years in India, I look forward to a Dalit woman writing the equivalent book for a comparable microcosm here. In a country where maids are still forced to use separate bathrooms and are not allowed to use the lift, this as-yet-undiscovered Dalit woman won't have the benefit of written history or statistics — which is why this story needs to be told so many times over in so many countries and why we so desperately need to hear it. I sincerely hope Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the first in a long line of such literature.
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Reading Progress

February 1, 2019 – Started Reading
February 1, 2019 – Shelved
February 3, 2019 – Finished Reading

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