Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race Analysis
Reni Eddo-Lodge is very clear about the reasons she wrote her book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
The book is a product of the widespread attention that her blog post, published under the same title, received. Eddo-Lodge wrote the blog post out of frustration, and she published it, the post “took on a life of its own.” Instead of ending the conversation about race, Eddo-Lodge realized that she had tapped into a desire that people had to continue it. In the book, Eddo-Lodge expands on her original post, presenting her anti-racist perspective in detail and explaining her frustrations with typical White responses to racism.
For Eddo-Lodge, a strong and clear presentation of the anti-racist argument is needed because, she writes, “Britain is still profoundly uncomfortable with race and difference.” Near both the beginning and the end of her book, Eddo-Lodge articulates her belief that, although gains have been made in the history of racism, there is still a long journey ahead. While conversations about race and racism are uncomfortable, they are important because racism is still embedded in British culture.
In the preface, Eddo-Lodge makes the purpose of her book very clear. She writes:
[This book] has been written to counter the lack of historical knowledge and the political backdrop you need to anchor your opposition to racism. I hope you use it as a tool.
In order to lay the foundation to understanding the racial climate in Britain, Eddo-Lodge first reviews the history of people of color in Britain. It is only with this understanding of history—a history that is not as distant as many imagine—that the need for anti-racism can be understood. The reason Eddo-Lodge takes care to review the history of Black people in Britain, she explains, is because this history is largely unknown in British culture. Too often, the American story has been allowed to “eclipse” the British story, leaving many British people—both White people and people of color—unaware of their own history.
After reviewing the history, Eddo-Lodge continues her argument by analyzing how this history continues to be untangled in present-day structural racism. She first demonstrates how the current system works against people of color and then demonstrates how the system benefits White people. She articulates underlying fears that drive the system, such as the White fear of a “black planet,” and dismantles these fears.
With an understanding of the current system, as well as the history and fears that have shaped it, Eddo-Lodge examines different factors that intersect with race: gender and class. In these chapters, Eddo-Lodge argues that racism is pervasive. In both arenas, racism “compounds” existing gender and class inequalities.
As a journalist, Eddo-Lodge structures her argument in a clear, logical format and bolsters it with facts, statistics, and case studies. She often illustrates an issue with a specific case, then takes a broader perspective by adding statistical data. She informs readers of her attempts to allow individuals critiqued in her books to make a rebuttal, and her perspective takes into account both historical and current events.
Although Eddo-Lodge writes in a journalistic style, her personal voice is strong. The title of the book itself is an example of this; Eddo-Lodge allows her own emotions, including the frustration that initially inspired her blog post, to be an important part of the book. She often reflects on her own experiences; she includes anecdotes from her childhood and describes how highly...
(The entire section is 879 words.)