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Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: The Sunday Times Bestseller by [Reni Eddo-Lodge]
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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


"This is a book that was begging to be written. This is the kind of book that demands a future where we’ll no longer need such a book. Essential." - Marlon James, author of Man Booker Prize-winning A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS

"This political, accessible and uncompromising book has got people talking about race and racism in Britain." - Guardian, "Books of the Year"

"Searing ... A fresh perspective, offering an Anglocentric alternative to the recent status-quo-challenging successes of Get Out and Dear White People. This book’s probing analysis and sharp wit certainly make us pray she will continue talking to white people about race." - Harper's Bazaar

"A clear and convincing dissection of racism and the white denial that perpetuates it." - Our Best Adult Books of 2017 – Nonfiction, starred review, Shelf Awareness

"A plainspoken, hard-hitting take on mainstream British society's avoidance of race and the complexities and manifestations of racism . . . Eddo-Lodge's crisp prose and impassioned voice implore white Britain to look beyond obvious racism to acknowledge the more opaque existence of structural racism . . . With this thoughtful and direct book, Eddo-Lodge stokes the very conversation that the title rejects." - Publishers Weekly

"In her probing and personal narrative, Eddo-Lodge offers fresh insight into the way all racism is ultimately a 'white problem' that must be addressed by commitment to action, no matter how small . . . A sharp, compelling, and impassioned book." - Kirkus Reviews

"The provocative title is hard to ignore, and so is the book's cover. Seen from afar, it appears to be called Why I'm No Longer Talking About Race,which is intriguing enough on its own. You have to look closer to see To White People hiding underneath it in debossed letters. It's a striking visual representation of white people's blindness to everyday, structural racism . . . It's that boldness, that straight talk which makes this book memorable. Eddo-Lodge pushes readers to recognize that racism is a systemic problem that needs to be tackled by those who run the system" -

"You don't have to live in the U.K. to recognize the issues of white privilege, class, feminism and structural racism that [Eddo-Lodge] explores in this essential book." - Silvia Viñas, NPR

"Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge is a timely and sparky discussion about a vital subject." - Times Literary Supplement, "Books of the Year"

"Her work, which began as a silent scream against white complicity to racism, has shifted the conversation in the U.K. . . . Though she may not be talking to white people about race, she has gotten a lot of people to listen." - Time Magazine

"Extremely Illuminating." - Forbes, "Leaders' Books of the Year"

"Reni Eddo-Lodge is that rarest of delights--a young, working-class black woman from Tottenham with a voice in public life ... This book is a real eye-opener when it comes to Britain’s hidden history of discrimination ... A book like this matters now." - Refinery29

"Eddo-Lodge explores the nuanced ways in which racial prejudice continues and is ignored." - Vogue

"A must-read that expertly reflects the challenges of addressing structural racism." - Starred review, Library Journal

"A book that's set to blow apart the understanding of race relations in this country." - Stylist

"I found Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge timely and resonant. The author's passages on intersectionality are particularly poignant. It's a powerful and important read, relevant and accessible whatever your race." - Observer, "Books of the Year"

"Thought-provoking (and deeply uncomfortable) ... What Eddo-Lodge does is to force her readers to confront their own complicity ... Her books is a call to action ... What makes the book radical is the way it shifts the burden of ending racism on to white people." - Sunday Herald

"Offering extraordinary and articulate insights into contemporary race relations, "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race" is impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, and an essential, core addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Social Issues in general, and Race Relations supplemental studies lists in particular." - Midwest Book Review

"Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race . . . look[s] at racial dynamics in the UK, and does so with intelligence and poignance. Eddo-Lodge's journalism background makes the book the perfect mixture of fact and opinion, resulting in a book that will probably teach you a lot about Britain’s racist history." - Cultured Vultures, "10 Best Books of 2017"

"Eddo-Lodge is digesting history for those white readers who have had their ears and eyes shut to the violence in Britain’s past ... An important shift that undermines the idea that racism is the BAME community’s burden to carry. The liberation that this book offers is in the reversal of responsibilities." - Arifa Akbar, Financial Times

"It’s deep, it's important and I suggest taking a deep breath, delving in and I promise you will come up for air woke and better equipped to understand the underlying issues of race in our society." - Sharmaine Lovegrove, ELLE

"Daring, interrogatory, illuminating. A forensic dissection of race in the UK from one of the country's most critical young thinkers. Reni's penetrative voice is like a punch to the jugular. Read it, then tell everyone you know." - Irenosen Okojie, author of BUTTERFLY FISH

"One of the most important books of 2017." - Nikesh Shukla, editor of THE GOOD IMMIGRANT

"I’ve never been so excited about a book. Thank God somebody finally wrote it ... Blistering ... Absolutely vital writing from one of the most exciting voices in British politics. A stunningly important debut ... Fellow white people: It’s our responsibility as to read this book ... This book is essential reading for anyone even remotely interested in living in a fairer, kinder and more equal world." - Paris Lees

"Laying bare the mechanisms by which we internalise the assumptions, false narratives and skewed perceptions that perpetuate racism, Eddo-Lodge enables readers of every ethnicity to look at life with clearer eyes. A powerful, compelling and urgent read." - Ann Morgan, author of A YEAR OF READING THE WORLD

"Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ has a very special and very real relevance to race relations in the United States and throughout Europe. Exceptionally well presented, impressively informed, thoughtful and thought-provoking" - Midwest Book Review

"Throughout her collection Eddo-Lodge discusses class, race, gender and privilege, through the framework of British culture and history. But whether you’re English or not, the book's exploration of inequality will echo with readers all over the world" - Mashable

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Reni Eddo-Lodge is a London-based, award-winning journalist. She has written for the New York Times, the Voice, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Stylist, Inside Housing, the Pool, Dazed and Confused, and the New Humanist. She is the winner of an MHP 30 to Watch Award and was chosen as one of the Top 30 Young People in Digital Media by the Guardian in 2014. She has also been listed in Elle’s 100 Inspirational Women list, and The Root’s 30 Black Viral Voices Under 30. She contributed to The Good Immigrant. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race is her first book. It was chosen as Blackwell’s Non-Fiction Book of the Year, longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Non-Fiction. / @renireni

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (June 1, 2017)
  • Publication date : June 1, 2017
  • Language : English
  • File size : 445 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 181 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 8,903 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
8,903 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2018
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good subject not given justice it deserves
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2018
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A Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars An unfortunate and predictable diatribe
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 2, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars A Wasted Opportunity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 11, 2018
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1.0 out of 5 stars A Wasted Opportunity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 11, 2018
I was recommended this book by a great Nigerian friend I’ve known since I was 16. Given the nature of the cover, I was ambivalent but decided to give it a go all the same. I did my best to engage the book in good faith, giving the author credit when she made good points, and not straw-manning those with which I disagreed (however strongly).

Here is the crux of my problem with this book. Eddo-Lodge frames her argument in such a way that it’s impossible for a “white” person to have an honest disagreement with any of her premises without 1) her attributing the disagreement to their race, and 2) reinforcing those premises i.e. “You just don’t get it because you’re white. You just proved my point”. It’s the intellectual equivalent of “You’re in denial”, “Why are you so defensive?”, or “You always want to have the last word” (or even the classic last resort that Jehova’s Witness and the Westborough Baptist Church members use when confronted with an argument, “That’s exactly what the devil would say”). In other words, if there is no possible good faith retort that wouldn’t reinforce the very point of contention (e.g. “No, I’m not in denial”, “I’m not defensive”, “I don’t always want to have the last word” etc.) you have inoculated your argument against all criticism. This is the sign of a bad argument, not a good one.

Incidentally, I’m Hispanic, I have lived in three continents, have belonged to both the majority and the minority group for years at a stretch, and as the latter I have experienced prejudice, profiling, and discrimination, as well as immense privilege. Whether I’m “white” depends on who you ask, as well as where and when. The fact that my life story doesn’t fit neatly into Eddo-Lodge’s essentialist picture of “white” people gives me a different perspective on many of the issues she raises, and no doubt some of my disagreements (but also some agreements) are born out of that. However, my gripe with the book is deeper than the sum of my experiences.

In analytic philosophy you’re taught to detect both the explicit premises stated in an argument and the implicit premises that underpin them. The latter are the unstated assumptions that would have to be true in order for the explicit premises to make sense. The more assumptions there are, the more vulnerable the argument is. Eddo-Lodge’s book is laden with such assumptions, generalisations and, rather embarrassingly for a supposed anti-racism activist, essentialist claims about race.

This is not to say that there isn’t also some sharp and valuable insight into the issue of racism in modern Britain (the section about identity in mixed race families being one example), but it’s undermined rather than aided by her style of argument. This is a shame given the real need to address racism across multiple levels of society.

I’m also frustrated by a glaring contradiction in her book that she seems to be oblivious to. This is, on the one hand, the notion presented in her last chapter that the conversation about race will be necessarily messy and uncomfortable, and that we should overcome that in order to address racism. Yet, on the other hand, she advises her target audience to only talk to people who already agree with them about the nature of these issues, and confirms this in her own experience of breaking out of white feminist circles to set up a black-only group simply because of their disagreements about the role of intersectionality in feminist discourse. In others words, we are at once asked to have a “messy conversation” while also being told to seek out and remain inside echo chambers, avoiding engagement with opposing view points. The whole point of a messy conversation is that, by definition, there will be uncomfortable disagreements, and you should be prepared to face them and refine your arguments, not run away because you “can’t be bothered with white people”.

The climax of this diatribe is in equal parts depressing as it is dangerous. Don’t seek unity, she says. Power must be taken by force, and there is no end in sight to the struggle, so please don’t ask me about what my goal is. A perfectly legitimate question such as “what is the end point”, in her eyes, would only confirm her suspicions that you are not a genuine advocate of progress but instead would rather just put a lid on the whole racism thing and continue to sweep it under the rug. This type of all-or-nothing rhetoric has echoes of the Communist Manifesto, and the “by any means necessary” sentiment has more in common with Malcom X than with Martin Luther King (the latter’s call to judge people by the content of their character rather than by the colour of their skin being derided early on in the book).

Her worldview, in part seemingly born out of Marxist conflict theory, is not just incompatible with dialogue, but positively hostile to it. Dialogue with people who hold opposing views is counterproductive as it diverts valuable time and energy away from the movement. In her eyes, white liberals flying the flag of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech are a bigger threat to her movement than the BNP because, while you know where you stand with the latter, the former are a stifling and insidious form of opposition. This is not merely my personal interpretation of her book. She actually says that.

When this is the style of argument employed, there is no possible objection that could be seen as being had in good faith. Every bad argument I protest against is merely a confirmation of her original view that I don’t get it, and I can’t get it, because of my race. Forget the fact that black intellectual heavyweights such as Brown University professor Glenn Loury, Harvard-educated economist Thomas Sowell and the up-and-coming columnist Coleman Hughes have vehement disagreements with her analysis.

Despite occasional citings of research, this is decidedly not a scholarly book. It never seriously engages the counter argument, which is a prerequisite for any serious academic work. It is a political manifesto written by an activist. The lazy argumentation, strawmanning of opposing views and outright calls for echo chambers that reinforce – rather than challenge – confirmation bias demonstrates this in full. If you’re looking for sharp political theory, this is the wrong book. Anyone from Russeau to Rawls or Nozick would be more appropriate. If what you’re after is the writings of a lackadaisical, radical political activist á la Owen Jones, you’re in the right place.

With that said, and in spite of the low rating (mostly due to quality rather to the content itself) I still recommend you read it. The reason is that it’s important to acquaint oneself with this style of argument, particularly as it gains prevalence in schools, universities, the media, and increasingly, mainstream society (particularly on the Left). For better or worse, as this gains political currency, this atomised worldview of humanity will increasingly shape not just the dialogue about race, but the kind of society we live in. If you can borrow the book from someone, do so. If your only choice is to purchase it, I still begrudgingly recommend you do it.

Next I plan to read “Brit(ish)” by Afua Hirsch, which deals with similar issues but which (given what I’ve seen of her on TV) I hope will be argued in good faith.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Oh poor little me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2018
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1.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2019
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