“If you are disgusted by what you see, and if you feel the fire coursing through your veins, then it’s up to you. You don’t have to be the leader of a global movement or a household name. It can be as small scale as chipping away at the warped power relations in your workplace. It can be passing on knowledge and skills to those who wouldn’t access them otherwise. It can be creative. It can be informal. It can be your job. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you’re doing something.”
Angry, open and honest. Rightly so. Renni Eddo-Lodge writes from the depths of her heart. In a time where such a book shouldn’t need to be written and read, the sad reality is that we need it now, perhaps more than ever. As society seems to be progressing in many respects, recent events have opened many of our eyes to the disastrous consequences that still occur as a result of systematic racism all over the globe.
I both loved and hated this book. I loved it for the raw feelings which it conveyed and stirred within me. I feel it would be near on impossible for any human to not feel the fire coursing through their veins at most of the books’ content. I hated it for highlighting my role or rather, lack of role in the progression towards a world where racism no longer exists. Renni Eddo-Lodge forces us to reflect acutely on our own behaviours with regards to racism and this was shocking for me. I am aware of my privilege as a white female and I consider myself to be pro-rights/anti-racism/feminist… the list goes on. But it is not simply enough to state yourself as identifying with these titles, when so many people face such hardship and discrimination. We must be actively anti-racist. We must actively raise awareness, we must challenge racist views and conversations, we must strive to gain knowledge and spread this where possible.
The book was effectively a whistle-stop guide to race in the UK. It covers the basic history which for me was not covered in school and provides an overview of the current challenges (along with provoking thought as to where you fit into this). To gain maximum benefit from this book I feel it is important to be open-minded. It is important to have an appreciation that every person experiences the world completely differently, even if this is out of your comfort zone. It would be near on impossible to not appreciate the intelligence, bravery and skill it has taken to write an interesting, educational read about such a complex topic.
Whilst the title is almost sad and defeatist, having taken the time to read the book, I feel it is not about white people but for white people. A perspective that is sadly sorely needed in modern day communities.
You can purchase the book here.
Words by Laura Irving.