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JanFeb 18: Why I'm: R Eddo-Lodge > Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge! - Reviews

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message 1: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
Haven't read it yet, but wanted to applaud the book jacket artists with their clever design that nearly erases the words "to white people" from the title.

Changing it to quickly look like "Why I'm No Longer Talking About Race." Making the "to white people" part of the negative space. A visual statement that removes them from the conversation.


message 2: by Ana, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Ana PF | 746 comments Mod
Pam wrote: "Haven't read it yet, but wanted to applaud the book jacket artists with their clever design that nearly erases the words "to white people" from the title.

Changing it to quickly look like "Why I'..."


What a sharp observation and I agree that this was a very appropriate choice of design.

I am already at 5% and am, in the words of a headline that I once saw and am now appropriating, comfortably uncomfortable. Cannot wait to fully dive in the book and be faced with hard facts and tough truths.


message 3: by Amanda (last edited Jan 05, 2018 08:48AM) (new)

Amanda Jones (ajones_revealed) | 3 comments Not An Individual Ignorance

"But I don’t think my ignorance was an individual thing. That I had to go looking for significant moments in black British history suggests to me that I had been kept ignorant. 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. We need to stop lying to ourselves, and we need to stop lying to each other. To assume that there was no civil rights movement in the UK is not just untrue, it does a disservice to our black history, leaving gaping holes where the story of progress should be. Black Britain deserves a context." - Reni Eddo-Lodge

I'm not ignorant to the fact that racism is a current problem nor that it's something most try to pretend isn't around. However being a born and raised US citizen, I was completely unaware at how prominently racism exists in other countries. The acts of racism and prejudices in the US are so strong and loud that our knowledge to it in the rest of the world has been washed out. In this book, is reported some moments in British history, and today, that were unknown to not only Reni and myself, but to a great many people. It is eye opening.

My biological father is biracial, but I was born white. My father's black family has experienced racism and my mother's Italian family has experienced prejudice. But I haven't been exposed to it. Don't get me wrong, I've been ill treated based on my class, record, education, and looks but never had the factor of race played against me. Despite my DNA, my skin is still white. Therefore, I will never truly understand the struggle that people of color face.

My dad is black and one of my sons is biracial. We have never personally encountered an act of racism until recently when an unknown person wrote on the front door of our home "Leave or die n*****s" only a few months ago. This raised the question; Being a single white female, how do I raise my son to be prepared for the reality of this world? Because not only is he biracial, but he is considered challenged. (Doctors here in Florida won't diagnose him, but that's another story.) Reality has slapped me in the face because I'm totally unprepared to raise my son in this f'ed up world where race is the ruling factor.

Reni Eddo-Lodge greatly distinguished the issue of race in feminism. I'm new to the feminist world, for a long time I didn't really care until, unfortunately like a lot of women, the struggles of womanhood in the 'modern' world personally affected me. I have a lot to learn still. After reading Reni's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race I can be open to and understanding of the facts that women of color will have an entirely different struggle than I will ever face. She educates us about her reality of feminism without making it seem like an attack on my reality. Sadly, there will still be those who take it offensively.

The issues in Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race needs to be spoken, to be heard, to be learned, and to be fought for.


message 4: by Amanda (last edited Jan 05, 2018 07:06PM) (new)

Amanda Jones (ajones_revealed) | 3 comments Amanda wrote: "Not An Individual Ignorance"

I probably went off track, but that is exactly what came to mind when writing my review. It's a must read for everyone.


message 5: by Pam (last edited Jan 06, 2018 08:00AM) (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
That was a fantastic post. There is so much to jump off of that. I have not yet finished the book (it came in today from my library exchange... yay!) but I would love to comment on some parts of your post.

1) Also an American and I completely agree. Civil Rights and American Slavery are known. Not well known as I think there is a lot of the civil rights movement that I haven't been exposed to, Red lining being the latest jaw dropping "what now" fact. But still something I am aware of and was taught in my schools.

But the idea that UK or any other places also experience this issue is NEW. And it shouldn't be.

If I think about it, sure UK, you have had a female PM, but what about POC leaders? The fact that Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, was London's first minority mayor and the first Muslim to become the mayor of a major Western capital was note worthy in 2016. (!)
So I don't know why I have had this dreamy ideal in my mind that UK or other nations figured out how to get along while ignorant US hasn't.

Could you start a thread about this Amanda? I feel like this is going to get a lot of comments as more and more people read the book.

2) Gah! I'm so sorry you dealt with that! That's ughhh. I don't have words to describe the level of anger and hurt I have for your situation. I'm so sorry you are dealing with that

3) Good luck with your son. My sister is special needs so if there is anything I can help let me know. Keep showing him that he is loved and wanted. no matter what. He will need that from you the most.


message 6: by Jess (new)

Jess Sloss | 1 comments I've just been in Foyles in Waterloo station (London) and they are selling signed copies in case anyone is interested


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I just started to read the book and my first impression is very good.

As Pam said before, the cover is really smart crafted, the book is easy to read and even if I've read only few pages, it already taught me a lot on the awful UK slavery history I didn't know before.


message 8: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Hanakowski (rachaelhanakowski) | 51 comments Hi! I am hoping someone can help me! I tried to upload my picture of the book to the OSS instagram by tagging OSS and using the hashtag #OSS but it didn't work. Can someone please assist? Thank you very much :)


message 9: by Rosie (new)

Rosie | 1 comments Hi all..new here!! Just started this book and I had no idea about black history in England. I’m English/Irish & wasn’t taught/told about any of this. I think I’m going to enjoy this read. Also loving reading everyone’s opinions & comments so far :)


message 10: by Katie (new)

Katie Murphy | 1 comments Still working my way through the book, but really liked the following line: “We don’t live in a meritocracy, and to pretend that simple hard work will elevate all to success is an exercise in wilful ignorance”

As a Canadian woman with a Liberal government that has ensured that half of its cabinet is comprised of women, the use of quotas makes sense. It sounds absurd to think that all white men, in the most senior positions of government and business have made it there simply because they earned it.


message 11: by Jules (new)

Jules | 2 comments “We tell ourselves that racism is about moral values, when instead it is about the survival strategy of systemic power”


message 12: by Bre (new)

Bre (breannaldeal) "But I don’t think my ignorance was an individual thing. That I had to go looking for significant moments in black British history suggests to me that I had been kept ignorant. 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."

I just finished the first chapter last night, and this particular passage stood out to me (among others, I have a journal where I'm writing down all of the points I want to explore further).

I think it's interesting because, as an American, we don't talk about racism in other countries in our history classes. Yeah, we know it probably existed because we didn't create the idea of slavery on our own, but American history classes are an especially nationalistic bubble.

That being said, our own classes, at least in my experience, don't talk about racism more than they "have" to. Up until my junior year in high school, we didn't really touch on the topic, despite taking a Texas history course. As Texas was a major slave state and has a well known reputation for racism, you think we would have covered race relations at some point, but we didn't. My junior year, I got really lucky with my history teacher. She was a women's studies major in college and extremely passionate about the feminism movement, World War II, and the Civil Rights movement. Without her, we probably would have discussed racism in America in passing and moved on.

All that to say, this passage stood out to me because I had no idea that the US struggle against racism was seen as something to aspire to, or that it eclipses other countries' struggles. Perhaps that's because I'm in the thick of it and I see the daily struggle. Perhaps it's because I'm from the South and the fight against racism doesn't seem to have made that much progress here since much of the segregation generation is still alive and kicking (my grandmother never attended an integrated school and she is one of the most racist people I know).

I find that I have had to seek out my own information regarding racism in America. Obviously, with the popularity of social media, that information is more readily available, but I too feel like Americans are kept ignorant of the atrocities committed against our black citizens. So I just thought it was interesting to see the perspective of someone outside of the American South on racism in the US.


message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen Tillis (karennerdgoddess) | 3 comments Picked up my copy from the library on Monday and began reading this morning (had to finish the other book I was reading first).

Immediately the first quote that jumped out at me is this one, featured in the preface:

"To be white is to be human; to be white is universal. I only know this because I am not."

It is my hope that this message sheds light on the issue of "white privilege" and how the very nature of one's being, when a POC, is to be "other". When history is told from the eyes of the conqueror/oppressor/colonial perspective (which is almost always) it treats that narrative as the baseline. That, in and of itself, is the very basis of "white privilege".

I'm looking forward to reading the book in its entirety. As a white American female who has spent my entire adulthood trying to learn, grow, and "be the change", while also understanding that there are many experiences I simply will never understand as a white female, I hope to learn about the experiences with racism/white privilege from people in other countries and take the messages out into the world. We can all use our voices to enact change!


message 14: by Jo (new)

Jo Rocca | 17 comments While I think that the ideas presented in this book are important to consider, is anyone else slightly turned off by the style of writing? It’s very unsophisticated and full of errors, making it difficult to get through...

That being said, one part that struck me in particular is “It seems the root of the problem of both the underrepresentation of race and gender is essentially the same, but the solution proposed for each are radically different.” As a white woman, I have always felt a disparity between the “privilege” of being white and the “discrimination” I feel as a woman. It is difficult for other minorities to recognize the struggles of women if that woman is not also a minority, something I have had first hand experience with when I talk to other minorities about my struggles. The typical response is “You’re white, what could you possibly struggle with?” While I recognize that race is a major issue and being an ethnic woman comes with more struggles, that doesn’t make my struggles any less real, but because I am white, I feel I am not allowed to talk about my struggles. I am not allowed to talk about how I am expected to wear a dress to formal events or how the fact that I don’t wear make up to work is a cause of contention with some of my coworkers because I am white and therefore “privileged” and I think it’s this disparity that Emma talks about in her original post for why she chose this book.


message 15: by Ella (new)

Ella | 11 comments I’m so glad Emma chose this book. As someone who’s history inclined and social justice inclined I always wondered why I never got to learn about the history of racism in the U.K. and only in America and every time I’ve tried to find out about it I haven’t got very far. Reading about the history of British racism was an extremely valuable experience for me because of this. I’ve learned so much more from this book too, about my own privilege and the lack of privilege of others and it has been a really important reading experience for me. As a second gen immigrant who is white I’ve always felt a lot of rage at the lack of abuse my race has provided me with in contrast to people of colour and if anything, this book has encouraged me to keep going and learning and calling out my white counterparts as well as how it has educated me in the intricacies of British racism which are so constantly pushed under the carpet. Definitely a book I’ll shove in my friends and families faces, an incredibly important read.


message 16: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn | 12 comments Jo wrote: "While I think that the ideas presented in this book are important to consider, is anyone else slightly turned off by the style of writing? It’s very unsophisticated and full of errors, making it di..."

I'm only part way through the first chapter, but I'm not at all turned off by the style of writing. It's not meant to be an academic dissertation type of work, and it grew out of a blog.

Personally, I feel like it would lose something if the style was different - it'd be less immediate and more distant. I've read academic articles and more conventional study type books about the problems of race and feminism and how they intersect. This book is more like when I'm talking to one of my friends who is a racial minority, and they're talking about how it's hard to deal with racism. I like that about it, though obviously it's not the type of writing for everyone.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

The perfect book to inform yourself about racism in Great Britain.
For all #potterheads: it also talks about the "problem" of the Hermione in "The Cursed Child".

It was really interesting to hear about the problems a black person in their day to day life.
The capture of the history, in which it gives a really short summary of racism in Great Britain, helped me a lot as well.
I read this for the OSS (Oursharedshelf) book club.

"It doesn't matter what it is, as long as you're doing something."


message 18: by Moira (new)

Moira (jmoira) | 8 comments I completely agree with the book's cover review - this book is essential reading. Race is an uncomfortable topic for everyone, including myself. I have kept most of my experiences with being a racial minority in Europe to myself because I didn't want to highlight my race. This book talks about the subtle way in which we tiptoe around this subject and pretend largely that society does not see race. It has given me the confidence and self-awareness to acknowledge that my race will always be a factor in how people interact with me and that it's good to identify and analyse these situations in order to make positive steps toward equality. After reading this book, I have moved the issue of race from the hidden sidelines of my consciousness to front and center - an honest problem that I want to meet head on. I also want to reflect more on the ways that I have made assumptions about people based on their race and how I can spend my life contributing towards a more equal world, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant.


message 19: by Iósua (new)

Iósua Quay | 1 comments Jo I was very interested by what you said about your experience, and I wonder if a quote which helped me in identifying and challenging my own privilege might be pertinent here. NB I have not yet read the book but am eager to start as soon as It lands through my door.

As a heterosexual white male, I know full well that I am pretty high up the tree of privilege, however having been raised in a very low income working family and having spent the vast proportion of my life struggling with the baggage there in I initially found it hard to engage with the concept that I was privileged, how could I be when I felt my life had been a string of opportunities that I was unable to engage with because of barriers I had no control over.

Then whilst watching the unfolding of a 'discussion' online between another white male from a challenging background who was far more aggressive and far less willing to accept the concept that he was privileged, and a number of others trying to convince him to be more accepting, the quote which seemed to bring an end to the discussion (although I'm not sure if the recipient had undergone a huge change in his opinion or just sulked off to find a MRA forum to complain to yes men and avoid challenging himself) really helped me to better engage with my privilege.

Though Im paraphrasing its fundamentally came down to this
"No one is saying that your life cannot be difficult as a white person (male/ablebodied/cis/heterosexual delete as appropriate) it is never difficult BECAUSE of that"

I am by no means trying to undermine your own personal struggle, but as I grow my understanding of intersectionality and the levels of my own and others privilege this quote has stayed with me and forms the basis of my understanding of why and how I must challenge privilege in every way I can.

Best,

J


message 20: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 12, 2018 09:50AM) (new)

Hello!

A slap in my mind that opened my eyes about several points and brought many questions.

At the beginning, something in my mind did not understand several points mentoined by the author. I forced myself to do a break in my reading for a day or two in order to think about what I have read. I looked around me and I talked to some people about it. One person suggested me another book (in French) "Je suis noir, et je n'aime pas le manioc.", once again my mind was slaped and I finished "Why I am not longer talking to white people about race."

This book clicked in my head and I realized that what I have now is because of a legacy. This was not easy to accept, and I think I am still trying to accept it.

It makes me think about a french book "Le mariage de figaro" written by Beaumarchais. In this play one of the main character claims "Qu'avez vous fait pour tant de bien? Vous vous êtes donnez la peine de naître, et rien de plus." I am not really sure how to translate it but the meaning is: Some people got/get privileges just by being borned.


message 21: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 16 comments Recently finished the book and was shocked by what I learned. Herein the U.S., racism is a widely discussed (argued) issue. Sometimes it feels there will never be progress made. I loved the honesty and truth that no matter how anti-racist we think we might be, it may not be entirely the case. Looking beyond the color of one's skin should be a given and yet even I who work with children from many different cultures can place a stereotype assumption just based on their appearances. I wish it wasn't the case.

I have always loved the song You Have To Be Carefully Taught from South Pacific. When we are born, we see no difference. As we grow, our encounters mold our beliefs and behaviors. I wonder if there will ever be a generation that will finally be color blind?

I think this book was amazing and presented a view of our world that we all should take.a closer look at. But, as with any exploration, we should always look inside first and make our own personal changes in order to be completely present to do our part to change and teach the world for those who will inherit this world.

Thanks for the book choice. It's time to really get the discussion going no matter how frustrating it may be but more importantly, it's time to look within ourselves and discover our part in the history and the future of this story. Peace.


message 22: by Ester (new)

Ester Litago Rabasco (estercristinanoelia) | 96 comments I will make a reflection so I apologize in advance and I hope no one is offended by religious issues. I am a non-believer, so I've always been interested to know where the human being had evolved. According to anthropology humans are all same, the differences of color, anatomy etc, are by our adaptation to the environment as we were evolving. The races is something cultural. Slavery has always existed since the beginning of time and has been that the strongest at that time has subjugated the weaker. Why do some humans think they are better than others? Why are we racist?¿ It is something that we must reflect on. This book seems to me a perfect manual to reflect on.


message 23: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 264 comments Melissa wrote: "Recently finished the book and was shocked by what I learned. Herein the U.S., racism is a widely discussed (argued) issue. Sometimes it feels there will never be progress made. I loved the honesty..."

i will admit to an inbred racism myself, handed down to me by my parents. in school, i didn't encounter a person of color until i was in college - that was in 1965. we didn't have integrated schools, and i lived in the northern u.s.

i've worked hard to overcome it, sent my children to racially mixed schools, and they are much more integrated in their minds because of it. from kindergarten on, they've been friends with and dated people of color without a second thought.

the idea of being taught racism is abhorrent to me, yet i've seen and heard it all my life, have made reflexive judgments because of it. all i can do is keep working at it. i've even seen it within the races, judgment based on lighter/darker colored skin.

my only real experience with racism came from living in mexico for 16 years. as a gringa american there were definite judgments made about me. i was married to a mexican man, so there was a bit of buffer there at times.

still, most of the people who didn't know me immediately believed i was rich, and thought my husband a fool for going to work every day. it was aggravating for both of us.

i'm not trying to compare my experience to what people of color have gone through forever. only saying that i got a tiny glimpse through a sliver of an open door. i can't imagine what it must be like for others. it is a shame for all of us.


message 24: by Emma (new)

Emma May | 1 comments I’m on the last chapter now, and reading using Audible.

In reply to Jo, I think the book feels like it should be spoken. Furthermore, the narrator is Reni Eddo-Lodge herself which adds to the emotion behind the words.

The book is very very insightful into a world that I didn’t think existed. I understand there is racism in the world, but the historic struggles POC have faced in the UK has shocked me and has made me feel ill at numerous points throughout the book.

In the UK, we are taught in schools of the failings of other countries (Germany - WW2/Holocaust, America - slavery, Belgium - King Leopold in the Congo etc) which by learning this we have mindlessly let eclipse our own failed past as a nation. Pure nationalistic propaganda.
As Reni said at the start, while she was searching for black history in the UK it was very difficult to find and most people seemed ignorant of it!

This book is enlightening in a number of ways.

Being feminist by fighting for equality seems a simple enough idea and one easy to rally behind. What I can easily forget as a white, straight women (with like-minded young left-leaning friends) is the tangled “intersectionality” that others face both while fighting in the front line for feminism alongside us.
It’s a messy world and reading this book can make you feel despair that the fight you’re fighting you will never fully win, but also inspire you to fight even harder for even the smallest change.

Great read!!


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan | 7 comments Hi Emma, I'm about half way through and that's how I'm feeling as well. It is so pervasive so I appreciate the reminder to "check my privilege" as often as possible.


message 26: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando Spoilers below.

Great cover design, it forces me to think about what’s going on in the book.

I’m glad I read this book because I knew next to nothing about the history of black slavery in the UK. Thanks to Reni Eddo-Lodge I wouldn’t have looked up info on slavery in the UK and learned that slavery existed there since the 7th century.

Years ago I watched Amazing Grace, the movie about William Wilberforce and the effort to ban the UK slave trade in 1807. It’s a good movie, I hope you see it.

I disagreed with the author on a number of issues. For example, I believe in MLK’s words about the importance of judging people not by their skin but by the content of their character. I believe in meritocracy because I see it everywhere, especially sports and music, and I believe meritocracy exists in the UK. I know inequities and haters exist, and I hope they go away and never come back.

It’s good to learn how Reni feels and thinks about what she’s experienced and learned from her research. We all need to be reminded that the world we experience is quite different than how a lot of other people see it, and Reni’s book adds to the truths we wish didn’t exist.

Reni’s book and other public expressions about what causes concern and anger among women can result in massive change. Look at what’s happening at companies in Hollywood regarding pledges to reach 50/50 gender equality by 2020.

There is a sense that there is no going back to the old ways of exclusion. #MeToo and #TimesUp are rallying cries that have resulted in real change and there will be bumps in the road but the momentum of improvement for all women must continue.

I’m glad Reni Eddo-Lodge’s wrote her book; it’s an important addition to the thought provoking inner and external dialogue we need to end racism here in the US, in the UK, and everywhere else.


message 27: by Darkbrume (new)

Darkbrume | 2 comments I'm a 18-year-old French girl. I live in Reunion Island which is French. For those who don't know about it, it's an Island located in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius. Here, the population is very multicultural due to its history. We have all color of skins and there are a lot of mixed-race people. I can't say racism is absent. But it's less present. I'm a mixed-race girl although my skin appears white. My mother has Indian origins and her skin could be said Brown while my father is White. My grand-mother is black. It was very interesting for me to read about racism in the UK. Because here in school we're told about racism in the US, racism in South Africa but not in the UK.

I want to react on something from I believe was in the first chapter. Here in France, we're told in History class that the colonies and therefore the colored people played a part in the war. We're also taught about the slave trade. Slavery is part of our national History program. Moreover here in Reunion Island, slavery is something that's often spoken about. On the 20th of December we celebrate the end of slavery as there were many slaves here in the past.

I also want to react on the violences perpretated against black people in Britain. I was really surprised to read about it as in newspapers we're mostly told about similar events happenning in the US but never in the UK. I was quite shocked to aknowledge it. I'd like to point out something that I think is lacking in this book. Maybe the situation is different in Britain. Here in France, people are often considering that in neighboorhoods inhabited by immigrants, coloured people who live in poor conditions, there is more delinquency. What would be interesting is to have stats on that, I think. I know violence can be explained by their poor education and social position but it could explain also that racism coloured people encounter when they're looking for a job or a to rent a house. In the book, we're only told about shocking affairs where Black people were unfairly ill-treated. And I agree it's totally unacceptable. But we are not told about the other side. So we can't really compare. Maybe we would find out that delinquency is from both sides and that racism based upon it is non-sense. I'm not sure my point is very clear. I just want to underline the fact that it can be hard for employers for example no to be biased.

I was very interested by Black feminism. And I was really sad to discover I hadn't really thought about this before reading about it. It's an obvious problem and I couldn't see it. Maybe it's because like I said here racism is less of a problem and because I don't know engaged feminists in real life. But it's not an excuse. This made me want to get even more engaged in the feminist movement and I really like this "utopian" vision as Reni Eddo-Lodge qualify it. Feminism may be utopian now but if we have no big dreams we won't achieve anything.

Finally, I had some trouble with the difference between prejudice and racism and structural racism. I understand it in English but I couldn't understand by myself what's the equivalent in French. Can someone help me?

In conclusion, this book was very enlightening for me. It helped me enlarge my vision of the world and discover there are a lot of problems I'm unaware of. I'm so happy I could read this. Thank you very much for such an inspiring and reflective book.

PS: excuse the mistakes in English and feel free to correct me.


message 28: by Claudia (new)

Claudia Stocks | 1 comments Incredible book! I found it confronting and enlightening. As an Australian I immediately went searching to find out more about the history and cultural challenges of Aboriginal Australians. Unfortunately I found that No such books are currently available on Audible.


message 29: by Ester (new)

Ester Litago Rabasco (estercristinanoelia) | 96 comments Susan wrote: "Hi Emma, I'm about half way through and that's how I'm feeling as well. It is so pervasive so I appreciate the reminder to "check my privilege" as often as possible."
Yes, a good exercise for our mind and heart!


message 30: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn | 12 comments Darkbrume wrote: "I'm a 18-year-old French girl. I live in Reunion Island which is French. For those who don't know about it, it's an Island located in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius. Here, the po..."

Just to focus on the more delinquency in poor areas, often with more racial minorities bit - I've never studied crime issues in France specifically, but I did study criminal justice in general. One of the main problems with statistics about how much crime occurs is that you either have to go with self-reports about crimes people admit (which has obvious problems) or you have to rely on official statistics.

The problem with the official statistics is that all crime is not included in them. It only includes crimes that come to the attention of officials, which depending on the crime might not be anywhere near the total number. Here in the US, one major theory is that because police are more likely to hang out in high poverty areas and poor minorities are more likely to be hanging out outside or in public areas, they're likely to be caught by the police at higher numbers. Whereas if some middle class or rich person (frequently white) is hanging out in their house, it's unlikely a police officer is going to just drive up into their house and catch them smoking weed or whatever. So who knows what the difference actually is, but it's unlikely to be exactly what is reflected in the official statistics and quite a bit of it could just be an appearance, not a fact.

I'm unaware of the exact terms in French for things like structural racism and such, but I know that Nacira Guénif-Souilamas is a French sociologist who has done work in the field - it might be worth searching her name and seeing if there's any French websites dealing with it.


message 31: by Pam (last edited Jan 18, 2018 09:39AM) (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
Kaitlyn wrote: "One of the main problems with statistics about how much crime occurs is that you either have to go with self-reports about crimes people admit (which has obvious problems) or you have to rely on official statistics. "

So much of racism is combined and intermixed with classicism. People who are different than the native culture are often given awful conditions when they initially enter. Those in the native culture aren't going to give the best prospects - those are going to be horded. The crumbs then go to the new, different group This lesser starting position affects housing opportunities, job prospects, education opportunities etc.

Our fears of the other person in a sense creates the economic divide that then perpetuates racism.
They can't find jobs; therefore they are all lazy, welfare queens. (Not because they don't have cars or live close to public transportation, or don't have the college degree necessary)
They drop out of school or don't go on to college; therefore they are stupid (Not because they are trying to work a job to bring in money so they can eat or cover house payments)

Our racism become justified. Cops spend more time in lower poverty areas. They arrest more people who are different. This then creates worse conditions that the people cannot escape out out.

Thus the cycle repeats.


message 32: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn | 12 comments Pam wrote: "Kaitlyn wrote: "One of the main problems with statistics about how much crime occurs is that you either have to go with self-reports about crimes people admit (which has obvious problems) or you ha..."

Exactly! You put it way better than I did.

From a personal perspective, I can relate to the classism part of it. My mom's parents are from Appalachia and neither finished high school, my mom was only able to afford an associate's degree , and I was able to afford undergrad and now grad school because I was lucky enough to qualify for scholarships and be able to put in the work to get good enough grades. Also, I'm lucky enough to not look like people's bigoted stereotype of what a poor person looks like - I'm white and thin. I don't have to deal with mental first impressions that I'm poor.

And none of that matters if somebody happens to already know that I'm poor or where my families from. It's immediately "Oh, well you're just lazy, or I'm sure you wouldn't have to worry about money".

I can't imagine how much harder it is without the ability to trick people's first impressions away from the fact of poverty.


message 33: by Pam (last edited Jan 18, 2018 01:20PM) (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
Kaitlyn wrote: "Also, I'm lucky enough to not look like people's bigoted stereotype of what a poor person looks like.... I can't imagine how much harder it is without the ability to trick people's first impressions away from the fact of poverty. "

Yessssss. POC have racism written on their skin. They cannot escape it.

It frustrates me (to put it mildly) when people talk about the Irish and compare their problems to African Americans. It boggles my mind.

For those that are not aware, the Irish in the 1800's US were the white apes, or considered the lowest of the European stock. There were signs in buildings that would specifically call out No Irish Need Apply. Police vehicles were nicknamed Paddy Wagons (Paddy being a derogatory name for an Irishman) as they normally were filled with brawling, drunk Irishmen. The people that dug the canals or died building railroads were Irish on the east, Asian on the west or Black because the job was one of the only ones that would hire. (Again, classism at work that reinforces racism)

BUT the difference between their uptick at that of the black man or the Asian was that the culture assimilation was far easier. In an extreme simplification all the Irish needed to do was to drop the accent, change his clothes, and dye their hair if it was red. Done. Because by looks alone you cannot tell the difference between an Irish person from someone else in Europe.

But you can't change the color of your skin or the shape of your eye.

The Irish were able to blend into society without having to endure outright and continued structural racism.


message 34: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn | 12 comments Pam wrote: "It frustrates me (to put it mildly) when people talk about the Irish and compare their problems to African Americans. It boggles my mind. "

That drives me up the wall! My father is one of those people, and he tries to claim that he's still treated badly because of his red hair in 2018, living in the US. I dyed my hair red once, and got no worse comments than I do with blonde hair.

On the other hand, I've had people tell me that they don't understand how I can talk to some of my friends, because those friends are visibly Middle Eastern. Other friends get followed around by police officers and store workers, because they're black.

It sucks to have to hide and blend in. But it's in no way comparable to the effects when you and your entire racial group can't.


message 35: by Kristie (new)

Kristie (auntiechichi) | 2 comments I am about 2/3 of the way through the book (I'm listening on Audible - I absolutely love when authors narrate their own books because they're able to add those little inflections that impart sooo much meaning), and I am really loving it. As a white American woman who is training to be a counselor, I feel it is my duty to myself, my future clients, and simply to everyone I may encounter on a daily basis to educate myself and expand my understanding of other people and other cultural experiences outside of my own.

I knew racism existed everywhere and that Britain had its own struggles and history of racism, but as the author noted, outside of the American civil rights movement, I really knew almost nothing about the specifics of what is happening elsewhere - hell, I barely know the history/specifics of what is happening in my own country outside of the main stream education/media unless I go looking and digging for it, which I've only begun to do in the last few years and it has been eye-opening.

I have, for some time, been willing to speak up in those white-spaces, to call racism out when I recognize it, even among friends and colleagues, and listening to this book (and others like it) has allowed me a deeper understanding and a richer vocabulary so I can better articulate on the topic of anti-racism (and feminism and classism...).

I am so glad I found @oursharedshelf and discovered this book. It was not on my radar until just last month. If you haven't read this book yet, you should. If you're white and your uncomfortable - that's ok - it just means you've found your growing edge. Lean into it. :)


message 36: by Sabiha (new)

Sabiha | 1 comments Eye opening, sharp and incredibly moving.
I just finished this book and am amazed at how unaware I was of the levels of racism in Britain. I’m Indian and Muslim American - so squarely in the brown bucket. Fortunately, I live in Northern California where we have incredible diversity and where most people lean towards the mission of equality, tolerance, and diversity as making us collectively a more rich and profitable society. However, under the current President many formerly closet racists have been emboldened to come out of the closet and be openly authentic with their hate and prejudice.

Despite the bleak state of affairs, I’m incredibly inspired by the author to do my part. “We need to change the frames. We need to claim the entirety of British history. We need to let it be known that black is British, that brown is British, and that we are not going away. We can’t wait for a hero to swoop in and make things better. Rather than be forced to react to biased agendas, we should outright reject them and set our own. Most importantly, we must survive in this mess, and we do that any way we can.”


message 37: by Susan (last edited Jan 21, 2018 07:45AM) (new)

Susan | 1 comments I was lucky to have lived my whole life right outside of NYC so I've always been surrounded by people from a wide range of backgrounds. I also went to an IB (International Baccalaureate) elementary/middle and high school which put a strong focus on global history and wasn't as US-centric as other schools so I've known that issues of race were a global issue rather than just a national one. I loved this book. It said so many different things that I would not have been able to articulate nearly as well. This is definitely going to be my instant recommendation next time someone asks me about white privilege. I also loved the amount of space dedicated to mixed raced people because it really is an entirely different experience and it just said everything I've wanted to say as a mixed race person. I was lucky enough to have the community I needed in high school to help me get a good understanding of feminism and intersectionality but I know not everyone has had that experience so I love that there are books like this one taking those issues that seriously need to be talked about and making them accessible to people who may not have many places where they'd get this information otherwise. Mostly while reading this book, the words of my high school history of the Americas teacher kept coming back to me and those words are "your education is supposed to make you uncomfortable". If you read this book and it made you a little uncomfortable, that's good. It means you're learning.


message 38: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments review in progress but had the chance to meet the author yesterday she was speaking at the. London Women march event very nice person she knows about OSS of course :)


message 39: by Jakari (new)

Jakari Bruce | 62 comments Solid book, a few hot takes throughout the book, ultimately a bold and daring book that hit all the rights buttons to craft a masterful reading experience


message 40: by Angie (last edited Feb 11, 2018 09:09AM) (new)

Angie Feliz | 10 comments I would like to start by saying that I am so inspired and very grateful to be part of this group. This was my first month and I am so glad Emma picked this wonderful book.

This book made me think a lot. I had to stop multiple times throughout the book to think because this book questioned and challenged everything I knew about racism.

I appreciate the history lesson, I had no British history knowledge before this and the author’s recount of racial events made it easy to follow. It is important to know the history of a country or a group of people, in order to understand why everything is the way it is now. Here in the US, history has made us look at racism and discrimination as something of the past, something that doesn’t exist anymore. Obama was our president. But the truth is that although discrimination is not as visible anymore, we still see people’s bias and prejudice against people of color. In my opinion, one of the greatest lesson of this book was when she referred to racism a covert. She says “It doesn’t manifest itself in spitting strangers in the street. Instead, it lies in an apologetic smile while explaining to an unlucky soul that they didn’t get the job…” (Page 65) That is racism today. It is not talked about, but it sneaks in every chance it gets. I have experienced subtle racism here in the US. However, where I have observed more acts of racism is in different countries in Latin America. I was born in Cuba and raised in the Dominican Republic; and I do not remember a day where being white wasn’t perceived as better than being black. You see it everywhere, mothers trying to relax their little girls’ hair, telling them to marry a white guy “y mejorar la raza” (to improve the race), because being black is not good. It is so sad to see that embracing African heritage is not encouraged.

Also, the author did a great job contrasting feminism and blackness, as an Afro Latina in the engineering/construction world, on a daily basis I face people’s bias towards both my gender and race. And certainly, just like the author explained, I cannot separate one from the other.

I do not agree with everything in the book, there are some ideas that I do not share. However, the author made a lot of good arguments that I now understand. I never thought that by ignoring race, color-blindness, I was affecting a lot of people. But because race is such an uncomfortable topic to discuss, it is easier to ignore it. Race needs to be in the conversation, otherwise it’s like sweeping all the dirt under the rug, never addressing the issue.

This book is a must read, I believe many people are still oblivious to the issues of racism and because of that, I will now talk to people about race!

Read my full review here: https://themoonlighteffect.com/2018/0...


message 41: by Carey (new)

Carey  (whathappenedtoagoodbook) | 8 comments I needed a few days to think about how this book left me. I think that this book is something that just resonates (as cheesy/stereotypical as it sounds) and has to be unpacked after reading. I loved this book, yet I did not agree with every part of it. However, I do think that the author still did an amazing job of getting her points across, through both analyzing and contextualizing the past, present, and questionable futures that may lay ahead.

I agree with earlier posts of not knowing anything of British history in relation to non-white settlement or immigration, and greatly appreciated that the author chose to structure the historical segments in such an easy-to-follow way. My biggest praise for this book really lays in the analysis of the intersectionality - or often lack thereof - of race and gender. I'm currently in a class discussing this connection/disconnection and ended up overlapping readings of this and some of Kimberlé Crenshaw's publications and WOW! I would highly recommend - as others have previously - turning towards Crenshaw's work if Lodge's discussions, and mentions of her, intrigued you!

In some concluding thoughts, I must add that I would strongly recommend the audiobook for this - although I now want a physical book to fill with my notes! The audiobook was narrated by Lodge and it often felt as if I were sitting with the author over coffee, or even watching her at a lecture, which I think really contributed to this feeling that I was observing from (awful Fitzgerald reference I know) within and without. It also really helped set the tone, pace, and overall gravity and reality of this book. I'm curious if others listened to the audiobook and had similar experiences?

Overall, I am really glad that this was the first selection of this year and that this group/discussion exists because this book was definitely out of my comfort zone and yet is now an experience and understanding I am extremely grateful to have been a part of. Perspective's like this - books like this - are something that is greatly needed in today's ever polarizing world.


message 42: by Carey (new)

Carey  (whathappenedtoagoodbook) | 8 comments Emma wrote: "Carey wrote: "I needed a few days to think about how this book left me. I think that this book is something that just resonates (as cheesy/stereotypical as it sounds) and has to be unpacked after r..."

I cannot sing its praises enough, it was just so different from what I expected, I never wanted it to end!


message 43: by Erica (new)

Erica (erica_badu) There were many well explained exceprts that helped me understand some of my own past experiences. I’m thankful that Reni could put into words what I’ve struggled to understand myself. And as a first generation Ghanaian American, the portions about children of first generation immigrants really resonated with me.

She does a great job of taking the reader through stages of understanding. You have to get some history before you can comprehend the built in structure of racism. From there she jumps to privileges and fears that those ideas breed. The section that I found particularly interesting was ‘The feminism question’.

So much more I want to say about this book ... maybe after I’ve had a bit more time to let it sit with me.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

I found this book very useful. It helps me to understand more how I can change my behavior to make the wold better for everyone. It's a sort of "how to" on the racism's and feminist's intertwined sujects. In addition, it deal with racism and its history in the UK of course but feminism and intersectionality as well to have a broader view.

This book is a very good choice and I hope the next will be as cool as this one. : )


message 46: by Emilie (new)

Emilie (miliemoon) | 3 comments This is a great book which points out the tip of the iceberg regarding race issues in the UK but also in other european countries I think. I am french from an overseas department and when I moved in Paris, French people could barely believe that overseas french department speak french and have schools and roads etc. They imagine a very poor country. What Reni talked about in terms of not knowing her history is the exact same situations for French people born on islands far away from France where they used to have slaves. We are taught in schoold about our ancestors being Gallic but the thruth is they were slaves, from Africa, Madagascar, etc. It is a very good book to try and understand the future challenges about race in Europe. I can't wait for it to be translated in French and sold out there!


message 47: by Emily (new)

Emily (goughdrop) | 2 comments This book has left me with new perspective that I hope to carry with my in both my personal and professional life. I have long been concerned about racial inequality and the systems that uphold it, but I struggle to know my role in the conversation, as a young white American. REL forced me to honestly examine the way in which I approach this conversation; I tend to want to open with *my* experience with race, as though to justify my participation in the conversation. But this book has revealed what I should have known a long time ago: that my role is much more passive - to sit and listen to the stories of those whose lives have actually been significantly affected by racism, to humbly try to accept and understand their experience, and wherever possible to help give platform to *their* voices, so others may listen and understand as well.


message 48: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 264 comments Emily wrote: "This book has left me with new perspective that I hope to carry with my in both my personal and professional life. I have long been concerned about racial inequality and the systems that uphold it,..."

a cultural diversity class i had in grad school gave us an assignment to make ourselves a participant of sorts by going to a decidedly different cultural situation, see what it's like to be a 'minority'.

i had a little of that experience by living in mexico for 16 yrs. the assumptions of the people there because of me being an american pervaded not only me personally, but also the relationship with my mexican husband.

i felt anger every time i heard one of these assumptions. i can't even imagine how generations have dealt with racism personally, within their families, and in their collective historical experience. i have only respect and admiration, besides great sadness and disgust.


message 49: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Murphy | 4 comments I really enjoyed this book. It really opened my eyes to the prevalence of UK racism that I just wasn't aware that existed. It also made me think a lot about unconscious racism and how it is still prevalent in modern society. It made me as I read someone else say "uncomfortably comfortable". This is a situation of know better do better.


message 50: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (lala_poopsiebooks) | 7 comments eeeewww deep cringe, deep cringe, deep cringe.
I'm afraid that my review might be the opposite of what I set out to make of it (that is, not to be the preachy white woman talking about something I wholeheartedly believe is someone else's job to assert for themselves.) But I guess that's the nature of it.
Anyway - here's a link to the review in my blog


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