Firstly, this is a bookclub not a GCSE syllabus. But if every person in Britain was required to read just one thing this year, Reni Eddo-Lodge's first book would be top of the list. If they’re not teaching it or at least the essence of it in schools, they should be. Why? Because large swathes of the white British public are ignorant. Not necessarily the loud and aggressive ignorance we tend to associate with racism in this country - although those people do obviously exist too - this form of ignorance is quiet and persistent. It underpins British culture, it feeds off structures rooted in white privilege and benefits those it was created to protect, while seeking to subvert racial equality.
Described by the Observer as ‘a wake-up call to a nation in denial’ this essential handbook kicks off the much needed conversation about race relations in the UK. Eddo-Lodge holds a mirror up to our society and exposes any illusion of racial equality. From the eradication of black history to the inextricable link between class and race, the book paints a bleak picture of the racial status-quo and the unquestionable racism that permeates every facet of British society.
However, it is in addressing the ‘invisible monolith’ and recognising the poisonous systems that resist racial equality, which will allow us to dismantle it. By reading this book, by acknowledging the problem and engaging with the solution, we can all react against structural racism. Not only is the book a powerful reflection on the state of current affairs, but a call to arms to take “collective responsibility for a better society”.
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Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Published by Bloomsbury, 2017.