‘An important, timely personal essay’ OBSERVER BEST BOOKS OF 2020
‘Not taking any bullshit…sharp and stylish…brutal’ GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR
In this powerful and timely personal essay, best-selling author Otegha Uwagba reflects on racism, whiteness, and the mental labour required of Black people to navigate the two.
Presented as a record of Uwagba’s observations on this era-defining moment in history – that is, George Floyd’s brutal murder and the subsequent protests and scrutiny of institutional racism – Whites explores the colossal burden of whiteness, as told by someone who is in her own words, ‘a reluctant expert’.
What is it like to endure both racism and white efforts at anti-racism, sometimes from the very same people? How do Black people navigate the gap between what they know to be true, and the version of events that white society can bring itself to tolerate? What does true allyship actually look like – and is it even possible?
Addressing complex interracial dynamics and longstanding tensions with characteristically unflinching honesty, Uwagba deftly interrogates the status quo, and in doing so provides an intimate and deeply compelling portrayal of an unavoidable facet of the Black experience.
Praise for Whites: 'A searing text from a writer who takes no prisoners' THE GUARDIAN 'An eloquent, heartfelt mini-memoir. Otegha Uwagba examines the subtle ways in which fighting racism is hampered not only by those who are obviously racist, but more perniciously by those who believe themselves to be anti-racist.' Angela Saini, author of Inferior and Superior 'Clear-sighted, compelling and very, very necessary' Michael Donkor, author of Hold "Devoured this. Sharp, pointed, clear and brutal stuff." Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant Praise for Little Black Book: 'A must-read for anyone looking to be as prolific as Uwagba herself' Sunday Times 'Otegha Uwagba is one of London's new generation of female CEOs' Evening Standard 'Otegha Uwagba has the answer to all your creative career challenges...this book is a must-read guide for all creative women looking to navigate the world of work' Elle 'Avoids all the cliches of the "self-help" genre' Dazed There's no fluff in here, it's all solid gold - recommend 100%' Emma Gannon, author of book and podcast CTRL-ALT-DELETE 'All you lot should get your hands on this. Currently on my way to do a speech and shitting myself, but Chapter 4 on public speaking is allowing me to breathe' Charlie Cuff, gal-dem 'If, like me, you love talking and thinking about your career - and hope to constantly evolve it - this one is for you' Natasha Lunn, Red Magazine 'Buy this BRILLIANT book (especially if you're a woman in the creative industries, but basically buy it if you're anyone)' Elizabeth Day, author of How To Fail
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