Thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for a sampler of this book.
I was about 20 pages in when I went and bought a full copy. This is much needed reading, for everyone.
The book starts with the author's titular blog post. The preface explains how this is an act of self-preservation - white people are not aware and do not carry the weight of injustice, suffering and discrimination that Eddo-Lodge bears, and so come to these discussion from an unequal place. There cannot be open discussions of racism when white people are unaware of this history, and on the defensive that they do not know what pains have been suffered, and continue to be inflicted.
It only took a few pages into Chapter 1 for me to begin to feel overwhelmed and get a sense of this weight. The prominence of American Civil Rights (combined with Anglophilic devotion to a white idyll of Britannia) means the UK-based race riots, injustice, and activist movements have not got appropriate coverage.
I cannot comprehend what it would be like to live through segregation, colour bars, and race riots, to feel ostracised and demonised by my skin, and that's the whole point. This is beyond my comprehension because whiteness blinds us to the experiences of others. I can see why people of colour would not want to talk to me about this, because it's something so alien, so 'in the past', that I don't bring that same faith into it, that this is something that shapes our world. And this is only the Histories chapter I've been able to read so far! (This is not so distant, this is parents and grandparents.)
I found this sampler to be a very confronting look at just how cruel and racist Britain is, and it's something everyone needs to be aware of before entering into discussions on race relations. We can't know where we're going without knowing where we've come from. Because you don't know what happened doesn't mean it didn't.