Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race (Reni Eddo-Lodge) - Book Review
Reviewed by Luiza Farache Trajano, Magdalen College
On the 25th May 2020, George Floyd was murdered. A police officer knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while he repeatedly said, ‘I can’t breathe’. Floyd’s murder has been a catalyst to widespread protest across the globe. As the world turned to America in horror, many noted that systemic racism is also prevalent in the UK.
The healthcare setting is no exception to this racial bias. Black women are five times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women.1 Black men are paid 84p for every £1 received by white men and black women are paid 93p for every £1 received by white women.2 Black and minority ethnic doctors are more likely to be targets of bullying and harassment in the workplace.3 In the current Covid-19 pandemic, BAME patients and doctors are disproportionately more likely to die as a result of the viral infection.4
Faced with this inequality, I began to read Why I am no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. The book discusses topics such as black British history, race and class, white privilege, and intersectional feminism. I was surprised to find how much of the contents of this book was relatively new information to me, bringing my attention to how little these topics are discussed. I would urge all medical students to read this book. As the next generation of doctors, it is our responsibility to change these shocking statistics. Being aware of the issues surrounding race in Britain is the first step to establishing a more equal and just healthcare system. In my opinion, Eddo-Lodge’s book is a good place to start this education.
Eddo-Lodge’s words are particularly pertinent during this time: “If you are disgusted by what you see, and if you feel the fire coursing through your veins, then it's up to you. You don't have to be the leader of a global movement or a household name. It can be as small-scale as chipping away at the warped power relations in your workplace. It can be passing on knowledge and skills to those who wouldn't access them otherwise. It can be creative. It can be informal. It can be your job. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as you're doing something.”
Reni Eddo-Lodge is currently encouraging donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
MBRACE-UK report, 2019
NHS workforce statistics, 2018
BMA review, 2017
Public Health England, 2020