Title: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race
Author: Reni Eddo-Lodge
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus (November 7, 2017)
Genre: Non-Fiction, African Literature, Ethnography & Ethnology, Social Issues, Essayist
Trigger Warnings: Discrimination & Race, Hate Crimes
I want to thank my friend Taylor F. for doing a complementary sensitivity read on my review of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. If you are in search of a sensitivity/beta reader, I highly recommend her services. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you in contact with her.
In February 2014, journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge posted an article titled Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race on her blog. She expressed her frustrations regarding the emotional disconnect white people have regarding the discussion of systematic racism, and how she would no longer discuss the narrative as a means of self-preservation. What Eddo-Lodge did not expect was that she “inadvertently written a break-up letter to whiteness” (xiv). Even though the blog post was never written to instigate white guilt, this proved her main point that there is a communication gap when it came to the discussion of race.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race [the book] was Eddo-Lodge’s way to continue the narrative. The novel is composed of seven different sections – History; The System; What is White Privilege?; Fear of the Black Planet; The Feminism Question; Race and Class; and There is No Justice, There’s Just Us. On their own, each section is a stand-out essay. Together, their power increases to unveil a detailed account of a Black Feminist’s life living in White Britain.
I came across Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race when Emma Watson made it the Jan/Feb selection for her book club, Our Shared Shelf. Watson is well known for her feminist efforts with UN and the He for She movement. However, when she was criticised for being a white feminist she did not know how to react, basically stating how terms like White Feminism makes feminism divisive. Instead of ignoring the claim and continuing on with her life, Watson decided to educate herself on the disparities between White and Black Feminism. In a penned letter to Our Shared Shelf to introduce her Jan/Feb Selection (click here to read), Watson acknowledged how she failed women of color with her statements and how she planned to change her outlook to grow as a Feminist.
Typically, in my reviews, I critique the storyline, how the characters interact with each, and the perspective in which the author chose to write in. However, in this case, I am unable to critique Eddo-Lodge’s work as I cannot comment on experiences I have never lived. I will never know how it feels to be a black woman in Britain, or anywhere else for that matter. Reading Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race may provide me insight; but, it does not change the fact that my entire life, I have personified the definition of White Feminism. Midwestern white girl, upper-middle-class family, I went to a great university where I got a great education that launched me into a great job. Apart from being classified as a female, there was never anything, on an institutional level, stopping me from accomplishing my dreams. Therefore, it is not my place to comment on Eddo-Lodge’s work as it could discredit her experiences.
Overall, I gave Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Personally, I do not like non-fiction novels but the style of logos Eddo-Lodge writes, it felt as if I was having a genuine conversation with her. Also, please note that this novel is HEAVY and will make you feel uncomfortable. I understand this can be a turnoff to a lot of people; to quote Judy Blume, “We’re supposed to be uncomfortable when we read something. That is how we learn.” I could only read one or two sections at a time, allowing me the chance to fully absorb what I had previously read. I advised that everyone over the age of 13 takes the time to read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. What I have written does not do Eddo-Lodge’s words any justice.
Have you read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race? What were your opinions on Eddo-Lodge’s collection of essays?
If you haven’t read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, have you read other books regarding Black Feminism or regarding Black perspectives in White America? I would love to hear your suggestions so I can increase my TBR to include more diverse works.
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