Thoughts on: “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I don’t think much about race, why would I? Im a white man. I’m the norm. Have you ever played a video game with a character selection screen? I’m the default character.

The book was an emotional rollercoaster of self-reflection. It left my head spinning and I realized how little time I’ve spent contemplating the question of race.


📝 “How can I define white privilege? It’s so difficult to describe an absence. And white privilege is an absence of the consequences of racism.”…“Absence of structural discrimination. Absence of ‘less likely to succeed because of my race’.”

📝 Reflection: I get suspicious when Twitterstorms are used to prove a point in books. Twitter is usually not a good representation of society as a whole.

📝 Reflection: Dividing people into groups has a purpose, I guess, especially when you want to highlight problems like structural racism. But where does it end? Reni talks about white feminists vs. black feminists vs mixed feminist etc etc. If the goal is to unite, then why this obsession with division?

📝 Reflection: What about evolutionary psychology? “Us” vs. “Them”-dichotomies has existed for millions of years. And we tend to like people who are like us. Evolutionary it makes sense; Similar individuals are more likely to share copies of each other’s genes. It would be interesting see this perspective in a book like this one. But then maybe I should look for books written by professors rather than journalists.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

My main takeaways was to learning more about what Eddo-Lodge calls “white privilege”, and also getting a rather overdue reminder that structural racism is still going strong today.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I didn’t enjoy the book; maybe it was the angry tone, the stereotyping or what felt like generalizations (or maybe it’s my ‘whiteness’ that put me in a defensive mode). It left me with a lot to think about. I appreciate that. The book is at its best when it catches you off-guard and challenge your assumptions and beliefs!


3/5

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Thoughts on: “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

This book was really really hard for me to get into. I had a hard time to relating to the his story, and the politics and courtroom drama was a snooze for me. The only thing keeping me going with this book was that I felt is was important for me to familiarize with Nelson Mandela’s achievements in the lifelong struggle against apartheid. He was an extraordinarily man to say the least.

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📝 “Habit makes everything look bland; it is sleep-inducing. Jumping to a different perspective is a way of waking oneself up again.” This quote reminds me of Montaigne, who loved this perspective switching trick all the time in his writing.

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📝 “A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor that defines the nature of the struggle.” After using all the tools of non-violent resistance – only to be beaten down hard – the AMC had to turn to violence and fight fire with fire.

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📝 After a successful term as president, he declined not to run again, this was to set an example of power being turned over to the next generation.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Resilience, Forgiveness and Perseverance. These are the traits I associate with Mandela. “We should forget the past and concentrating on building a better future for all”. His focus on the future and forgiveness – rather than revenge – hastened the abolition of apartheid, I think.

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I’m not regretting pushing myself through this tome of a book, quite the opposite, I feel like another missing puzzle piece in my history education is found and put in place.

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What booked bored you, but you felt reading it was important enough to keep going? 🤔

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3/5

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Photo credit: @ildarabbit (Instagram)

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