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Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Written by: Reni Eddo-Lodge
Narrated by: Reni Eddo-Lodge
Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"I couldn't have a conversation with white folks about the details of a problem if they didn't want to recognise that the problem exists. Worse still was the white person who might be willing to entertain the possibility of said racism but still thinks we enter this conversation as equals. We didn't then, and we don't now."

In February 2014, Reni Eddo-Lodge posted an impassioned argument on her blog about her deep-seated frustration with the way discussions of race and racism in Britain were constantly being shut down by those who weren't affected by it. She gave the post the title 'Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race'. Her sharp, fiercely intelligent words hit a nerve, and the post went viral, spawning a huge number of comments from people desperate to speak up about their own similar experiences.

Galvanised by this response, Eddo-Lodge decided to dive into the source of these feelings, this clear hunger for an open discussion. The result is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today, covering issues from eradicated black history to white privilege, the fallacy of 'meritocracy' to whitewashing feminism, and the inextricable link between class and race. Full of passionate, personal and keenly felt argument, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is a wake-up call to a nation in denial about the structural and institutional racism occurring in our homes.

©2017 Bloomsbury (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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A lot of projection.

I have several disagreements with this book and I welcome criticism of what I have to say because I’m always looking to destroy my best loved ideas.

In chapter 1, talking about rental discrimination about not allowing dogs, Blacks, or Irish. I believe Irish people are categorized as white. In this chapter, there was also a woman trying to conduct a project in determining how interracial couples are bad, yet ignoring that whites were married to blacks. One view doesn’t negate the rest of the world is practicing.

In chapter 2, it talks about enforcing black quotas in terms of coaching. As a Chinese man, I don’t believe there needs to be qoutas on having a certain number of basketball players of Asian decent. Discrimination has many forms. Asians getting accepted in to Harvard need 250 points more than their peers from other races. In Canada, there’s visible minority requirements for government jobs. Caucasian people are discriminated against in hiring practices. I don’t want police or firefighters hired based on meeting qoutas, I’d like them to have the opportunity to save my life based on merit.

In chapter 3, it talks about white privilege and trying to discuss it with white people. It goes on a story about how her friend was discussing it with her white mother, and how her friend was trying to tell her mother she was racist but didn’t even know it. You even go so far as to say she’s distanced herself with her mother like you have with some white people. I think the mother had a hard time hearing what her daughter had to say because she, a white woman, loved a black man and conceived a child with him. The daughter/friend even said, her life was filled with love from her parents. That’s more than most people can ask for. To then go and say “mom, you’re racist” is a pretty large insult in my eyes. I feel that while the author may have heard the words that were said by the opposing party, she didn’t grasp what they were trying to convey.

There’s been a lot of projection about white on black violence but it neglects the point that most people hate their own race. India has a social caste system, Chinese discriminate against trade workers, white on white violent crime makes up 86% of the violent crimes against a white person, black on black violent crime makes up 95% of the violent crimes against a black person. Violence is a problem that needs to be solved by everyone of every ethnic background.

Chapter 3 is a long chapter, in which the author goes to say she silences herself, I don’t feel she can blame the others for silencing her. She puts herself in an echo chamber of people that share similar views and doesn’t seem to wish to acknowledge that there may be some inconsistencies with her logic so she shelters her idea from criticism. I believe the approach to be unbearable if she can justify that her friend was in the right for calling her mother racist.

As a 29 year old man, I have never met anyone younger than me that is racist. Most of the derogatory remarks came from people with Asian heritage, judging me for being a tradesman. Most of the racism I’ve ever experienced came from mental health patients in the psych ward, literally. Because it came from such people, I don’t believe it to be racism, it’s that people have mental health issues.

There’s been talks about tweets being controversial and having consequences. That doesn’t apply just because one is black. For one to tweet about racist things, while they’re free to do so, it doesn’t mean that the employer will be okay with it. If the employee doesn’t fit the culture, they should be let go as the company doesn’t wish to be represented in such a way.

In Chapter 3, it goes on to discuss Hollywood and putting it on blast for having majority white characters. Well I believe this to be psychology and economics. Considering most of North America is white, you see a lot of white movies, just like how China shows movies with a lot of Chinese people. In the statistics she provided, it was a 80-90% white demographic in the country she resided in. Is it wrong to cater to the majority of the population? Is it wrong to try to resonate with the most number of people to increase the amount of money one makes?

The worst part of chapter 3 in my opinion was that she said whenever she saw interracial couples, she was wondering if the child was getting the proper education. Education being people are out to discriminate against them because of their color. I’m sorry, I cannot disagree more. Telling a child that people hate you because of your skin, and not because of their ignorance is telling them to define shit people as racist and painting them all the same color. Each person should be individually judged based on what they say and do. Throwing a blanket statement and making the child think everyone is against them does no one any favors. Those interracial couples are what people should strive for in terms of integration. They both love each other and what more could one ask for? It’s clear they see past the race, and it’s unfortunate that the author can’t.

She then goes on to say cracker is laughable to the N word. Really? Both are terrible.

In Chapter 4, the author says she speaks like them, “white people,” so they accept her. Maybe because the English language is the best way to communicate thoughts and feelings? How is someone supposed to share their ideas without words?

In Chapter 4, she goes on to say that people are concerned with white people turning into a minority. I can assure you, my white girlfriend doesn’t care that I’m Chinese. I’m sure all the other interracial couples feel the same way.

In Chapter 5 it goes on to discuss feminism. Feminism has a lot wrong with it. While it use to be a movement for equality, it’s now a movement of special privileges. Everyone’s heard of the word misogyny, but not many people talk about misandry. In places like France, it’s illegal for the man to get a paternity test “in the interest of the child.” If the child is a boy, as soon as he’s 18, no one cares about them. Some examples are #bringbackourgirls when boko haram kidnapped 276 girls. The outrage for them was much more than the 1000s of boys that died before. Didn't hear about it? Not surprised. The group wanted attention, so girls got attention since the boys didn't cut it. There’s no mention that the killers let the girls go the first time either. Not saying that excuses these horrific acts, but it is intriguing to me. Other interesting figures are that ⅕ suicides are women, so that means ⅘ are... The majority of homeless are also men… If one wishes to dive deeper into this google “the red pill” and read the reviews of the critics and audience before proceeding.

Capitalism and patriarchy do not go hand in hand. Capitalism is the driver for the greatest prosperity that mankind has ever known. It’s a much more complicated subject and can’t get into it in a review. If one wishes to educate themselves on the free market, there’s a PBS series called “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman catered to the layman. He won a nobel prize in economics. It was made in 1980s and stands the test of time after 40 years. He debates people of all sides in the show, I’m sure a lot of your opinions will be brought up with the debaters so you can see how he responds.

9 people found this helpful

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Worth a Listen

While I will not say this is my new favourite book, I do think this is well worth a listen. This book has been talked about in so many forms, I think it is important to get your own opinion - and hopefully learn something.

#Audible1 #Audible #AudibleCanada #Book #Books #ListenOrRead #BookWorm #AudioBooks #AudibleApp

3 people found this helpful

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Thank you, Reni. Now what?

I'm white, male, and hetero. I spend a fair amount of time thinking about race and gender issues. I look at my own prejudices and really try to be as critical of myself as possible.
This book lacks ideas.
The author spends nearly the whole book proving that racism exists in the UK, which is a good thing to do! Hearing the heart-wrenching experiences of people who I will never truly understand, is an incredibly awakening thing. Please, write ten more books on black history and colonialism! But please, include actionable suggestions. To be fair, the author does do this: in the form of a short list of vague ideas less than 3 minutes before we hear "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this production."

I am willing to sit quietly and introspectively while you tell me all of the ways that I am effortlessly benefiting from your suffering. More importantly, I want to put this knowledge into practice in my life. Yes, I can be creative and look for ways to do this on my own. Yes, I can find other books for exactly that. No, you cannot act surprised that I thought a book titled "Why I'm No Longer Talking to [You] About Race" would include things that I can do to help open up the conversation so that we (the novice and the expert) can have a real dialogue and affect real change.

Definitely worth a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Don't judge a book by its cover

Don't judge a book by its cover- or in this case its title.

Remi Eddo-Lodge covers a number of topics related to how systemic racism has thrived in England. Don't let it being based on her British nationality and experiences cause you to write it off if you're not from or living in the United Kingdom though. Many of the points and experiences are unfortunately very similar on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean as well - including mixed race issues, policing of black lives, housing, class, intersectional feminism and more.

The title is more of a way to draw people in than anything else. Remi has likely spoken to more white people since the blog post that she wrote in 2014 which inspired the book was published.

My favourite section was definitely "Chapter 5 - The Feminism Question" and acknowledging that the different intersections don't had a place in white feminist agendas.

Near the end of the book on p. 215 Remi answers the question of "what can white people do to help end racism" which I thought was very clear and helpful. Whether white people who say they are burdened by racial injustice actually do those things is another story. While reading that, one person who came to mind is the American Actor Matt McGorry (How to Get Away With Murder) who has shared many books he's reading on the racial injustice and also shares the marches and rally he attends in support of the black lives matter movement. It also made me think of the white people in my own circles who have remained silent on the injustices facing black and brown people of colour- myself included.

4 people found this helpful

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Important

This is an important book for everyone, especially white people to read. Learn about the systems that white people benefit from and start to dismantle them. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • AR
  • 2020-05-16

Required reading

Where ever you are in your anti-racism work as a white person, the author generously offers research and lived experience to help you on your journey. Highly recommended.

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thought provoking, clear, intelligent

So much here to challenge, inform, and inspire. well worth the read/listen. if you do hear or read this book and come away unchanged, you might not really have read it at all.

this is a clearly expressed and articulate examination and exposition of the racism that has formed and continues to form British society. Though from a British context, its no-nonsense, well researched and thoughtful deconstruction of systemic racism, history of race relations in the UK and beyond, white privilege, and racist structures and attitudes applies anywhere. it challenges the heater to learn and to act. Disturbing, Frank, and honest.

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  • B
  • 2020-04-01

Thank you for talking to white people about race

Thank you Reni for the brave and enlightening way you tackled so many issues relating to race and racism. And thank you for reading it yourself on Audible, it makes your message all the more powerful.

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Should be required reading

The historical context grounds the nuances of the later discussion regarding how people of colour are routinely policed and manipulated, especially when it becomes political. It made more sense and was especially clear to me as a Canadian, where we have had a similar education to the UK, and thus have similar responses and biases.

Should be required reading, imo. Incredibly clear, concise. Probably the most helpful text I’ve read about the issue to date.

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Questioning my reality

I'm a Canadian of East Indian/Guyanese descent. So I'm brown, not black. Born and raised in Montreal-Ottawa, and now living in Toronto, I've never experienced overt racism. Maybe I have been the victim of covert racism, I have no idea. I've never felt it. I do know racism exists everywhere. Black people in Toronto are carded and stopped for minor or non-violations all the time, at rates much higher than other races, and are discriminated against in a myriad of ways over the course of their lifetime. It happens everywhere and it is absolutely wrong. We hear about it all the time. But this book shocked me. It is really British-centric. Murders of black people simply because they're black. Rampant, overt, public discrimination supported by those in positions of power and so openly discussed on public and political platforms that it seems the entire population feels approval to be racist. It's like something out of a horrible American movie x10. It seems people of colour just walk around fearing for their safety all the time.And while the author focuses on the black population, it affects all visible minorities in Britain. I don't know if the author is exaggerating. I don't think she is. She made me wonder what the heck I was missing as I do not see this public extreme racism here in Canada. We've had a few instances in the news, but these perps are few in number and subject to outrage by the majority. Maybe our racism in Canada is more extreme towards the Indigenous population. Maybe it is just more insidious. I don't know. I finished this book feeling disgust towards how backwards and ignorant Britain is, extremely grateful to live where I live and also confused - wondering if I am so naive, blind and sheltered in Canada. The book is extreme and I hope it does not represent the world. I really don't think it does and hope others don't think it does.

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  • Buretto
  • 2018-03-08

In truth, I don't have THAT particular privilege

What did you love best about Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race?

I loved the author's power and passion about the subject. There is no doubt that she is sincere in her beliefs. I concur with nearly everything she presents here, save for a few flights of speculative fancy and the citing of some extremist views as mainstream. But as a white American male, I recognize that I am a guest in Ms. Eddo-Lodge's realm here, and respect the chance to hear ideas and learn from sources previously unknown to me.

I acknowledge the privilege I enjoy. My personal morality is based on that recognition and respecting that it is not universal. I have alienated family and friends with this worldview, and have done so without remorse. And I continue, at every chance, to chastise, scold, and occasionally, if I'm lucky, educate those who speak, hint or embolden racist ideas. Hence, the headline. It is my duty, and I accept it.

I don't write this to present myself as one of the "good ones", and to be honest, it doesn't overly concern me if Ms. Eddo-Lodge likes or respects me. I've taken my responsibility, and she's taken hers. I believe these are both positive steps, and I think she'd agree.

What other book might you compare Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race to and why?

I won't list them, but this is much better than many books of this type. She pulls no punches and makes her case. My only, cautious, exception is to the occasional supposition, perhaps unintentionally, of a monolithic black view. She acknowledges differences, primarily American and British, and even, ever so slightly, her own shortcomings. But it never descends to into victimhood.

Have you listened to any of Reni Eddo-Lodge’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

It's the only book on Audible by her, but I'd be more than willing to listen to anything else she may produce.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and, in fact, I did. It was refreshing to hear a reasoned, quite determined, presentation of views. All too often these kinds of discussions are grotesque shouting matches.

Any additional comments?

The author mentions the origins of the term "white skin privilege", but I thought it was useful to mention that term had started to gain momentum in 1999 and 2000, in the person of Bill Bradley, a presidential candidate (who lost the Democratic primary to Al Gore, who subsequently "lost" to George W. Bush in the general election). It seemed like a fair compromise which gave white people the opportunity to take a step back and see the big picture without immediately acknowledging complicity in active racism. It didn't seem to take, though.

Also, I'm curious whether the author didn't know, or didn't care, to give Public Enemy the credit for the name she gave to her worldview. It was a huge album back in '90.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Duane J.
  • 2017-06-15

Jesus took the wheel...

and chauffeured Ms. Eddo-Lodge through a dynamic thought-provoking yet humbling piece of work. This book challenges you to challenge the idea of what 'normal' is. Whether it relates to race, sex, or gender and the intersectionality of it all. Bravo!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Gallagher
  • 2018-03-09

Extremely eye-opening, disheartening truth

As a white privileged male from America who is constantly wanting to learn about racial inequality, systemic and structural racism, and learning how to navigate my conversations with my friends of other races and ethnicities, I am so appreciative of this book! Not only did I expand my knowledge about the roots of racism, but also learned a great deal about racial inequity and inequality, cultural prejudices and gender inequality in the UK. Thank you Reni, you are a star.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Keith R. Smith
  • 2017-12-15

Great study and insight on racism

This books does an excellent job of showing the history and structures of racism that exist beyond the American struggle. A must read to learn about race in the UK

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-06-02

Clear, comprehensive, British

Well researched with clear guidance, simply written and easily understood, free from activist jargon and therefore wonderfully accessible. Utterly thought provoking. A must read. Particularly poignant if you grew up in Britain during the 80’s as I did. I can’t recommend this book enough.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nora
  • 2018-05-16

awkwardnora

It helped me frame the ideas that I had into way that I could discuss with others. definitely recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2018-05-15

ACCURATE

Finally! Someone has put into words how I feel. She is an AWESOME writer and narrator. Looking forward to more from her.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Demetria
  • 2018-03-07

Race Relations in the UK

Would you listen to Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race again? Why?

Yes, I would listen to this book again! I'm actually buying the physical book because there was so many great points in it. I've recommended this book to several colleagues who have an interest in diversity and inclusion.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It is interesting hearing the history of race unfold in the UK around the same time as the US went through the Civil Rights Movement. There were many similarities, for better or worse.

Have you listened to any of Reni Eddo-Lodge’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to any of performance before.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several moments that moved me, that's why I'm buying the book. This is one book I'll read over and over again!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-10-10

Essential enlightening listening

Never have I come across a book that so succinctly lays out the context for racism in the UK.

will be giving this multiple listens. as this might as well be set as a taught text !

1 person found this helpful

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  • jbone
  • 2018-03-06

well read, but nothing new here.

boilerplate race conflict theory. backed up with conjecture and cherry picked history. Reni is a very good writer and narrator though. I think she took an honest attempt at an incredibly difficult and nebulous topic. worth a read our listen

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-15

Vision très instructive et rafraîchissante

A travers son expérience dans le contexte du Royaume-Uni, l'auteure offre dans ce livre une vision très instructive et rafraîchissante d'un problème plus répandu qu'on ne le croit et dont il est parfois difficile de se rendre compte de l'ampleur. Les voix de celles et ceux qui subissent le racisme dans toutes les étapes de leur vie, si elles sont souvent entendues, ne sont que trop rarement vraiment écoutées. Je conseille vivement la lecture de ce livre qui vous fera, à n'en pas douter, repenser de nombreux aspects de votre vie et vous encouragera peut-être à faire passer le mot.

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  • Pelletier
  • 2019-05-31

Excellent

Très informatif, intéressant et qui force à interroger son rôle et sa responsabilité en tant que personne blanche. Agréable à écouter : le livre est lu par l’autrice et on sent qu’elle est à l’aise avec son propre texte. Je recommande !

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  • Romanos Kristell
  • 2019-05-15

MUST BE READ

it's urgent for everyone to hear this. perfect. I have no words. thanks, will pass on the message.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-08-13

Great!

Factual, highly interesting and documented reflexion on racism and how it works, how it is translated into policies, politics etc. I enjoyed it. I felt empowered by the fact that a fellow WOC (woman of colour) had lived similar struggles to mine. A good read. Her voice is steady and calm. Her perspective is also interesting because she is British and not American, as we hear less often from the experiences of Black British people on racism. Everyone should read it, especially white people who refuse to see themselves as such - or are tense when the topic of race comes on the table.