Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Book Review: Why I'm No Longer Speaking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Title: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Author: Reni Eddo-Lodge

Pages: 249

Publication: 1st June 2017 by Bloomsbury Circus

TW: racism, sexism, discussions of slavery

1 line synopsis: a necessary look at the history of racism in the UK and how racism affects people of colour in Britain today.


When we discuss race in the media, we’re often discussing race in the US. Everyone knows the US has a race problem, but what everyone doesn’t know is that in the UK things are bad too. I knew that racism wasn’t a phenomenon unique to the US, but I didn’t realise quite how bad things were until I read this book. Eddo-Lodge does a fantastic job of taking you through history using relevant examples to show you how deep-set a problem this is and how privileged I myself am.

What first struck me about this book was how much of British history I didn’t know about. The first chapter is about Britain’s involvement in the slave trade, which is something that simply isn’t taught in schools. Eddo-Lodge weaves in these historical facts with her experiences as a university student and also brings to light how difficult it is to find out about this part of Britain’s past in the first place.

In terms of writing, I find it amazing that Eddo-Lodge manages to present such a well-structured and succinct argument without sounding simultaneously boring and academic. I think this is the best way to spread the word to people, because with books like these I always worry that maybe they’re preaching to the converted i.e. those who already know about white privilege and the problems facing black people in modern society. However, I believe Eddo-Lodge’s book is incredibly accessible, and for that reason will be able to be read by a wide range of people, not just those who are already interested in the issues at hand or already know a little about them.

This is a book that is meant to make you feel uncomfortable as a white person, which it certainly achieves. It makes you see how things are happening around you differently, and makes you consider just what you can do to help in the battle against racism. If I had one criticism, it’s that whilst reading the audiobook, Reni Eddo-Lodge took breaks in the middle of sentences where breaks didn’t feel natural. This didn’t affect my reading experience too much though, as I changed the reading speed, and I still gave the book 5 out of 5 stars.

If you've read this book and enjoyed it, make sure to vote for it in the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards.