I'm still trying to play catch up with my reading reports -- I'm gulping down books at the moment, and more are arriving from the library every day, so I can't afford to let the pace slacken.
I've been meaning to read Reni Eddo-Lodge's seminal work on racism, 2017's Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race, for a long time, until it finally occurred to me to borrow it from the library. Having libraries offline during lockdown temporarily paralysed my library muscles, I think; but now I'm back. But the way I use the library has completely changed. I used to go in every couple of weeks and browse the shelves for titles that caught my eye; now I'm almost exclusively a reserver. If I hear a radio interview, or see a Twitter reference, or an awards shortlist, I jump onto the library site and put it on my list. I currently have six books out on loan and eleven reserves -- can I possibly keep up??
But back to Reni Eddo-Lodge. This is a short but powerful polemic, fired with anger and frustration about the slow pace of change and the blissful oblivion of those who benefit from systemic racism, ie white people, ie people like me. I have really had my eyes opened in the last ten years or so, since I began working on Crow Country, really, and I wonder if I had known then what I know now whether I would even dare to embark on a project like that. For years I had the privilege of being able to move through the world, almost completely ignorant of the ways I benefitted from Aboriginal dispossession, slavery, and ongoing embedded racism.
I'm not going to give my white interpretation of the vital points that Eddo-Lodge makes (mostly from a Black UK perspective), but I will urge you to read this important work. It's punchy, furious, impatient, incisive, personal... and essential.