Women of colour still get shouted down when they talk about race in Britain – but we won’t be silenced
What happens when a woman of colour talks about race in this country? To answer the question, which presumably white people don’t want to ask because they’re too busy debating the more pressing one of whether racism actually exists, I direct you to a particularly sneering review of Afua Hirsch’s book, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging. A review by a white British man of a book by a mixed race British woman which, inconveniently for the reviewer, confirms in its sheer nastiness everything Hirsch is saying.
Apart from the fact that this is obviously an instance of a review being cynically co-opted as an opportunity to further divisiveness as opposed to an actual conversation (“I know! Let’s get a defensive white man on this!”), it shows how far we are from a #MeToo moment about race. From, at base level, just being heard. “White privilege,” Reni Eddo-Lodge writes in Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, “is a … suffocating blanket of power that envelops everything we know, like a snowy day.” And like snow, its overwhelming effect is silence: to muffle our everyday experience.