The next in our series of game changers is Reni Eddo-Lodge, a British writer and activist who, through addressing disinterest in dissecting privilege and the tendency to jump to anger and self-defense, despite the absence of anything to defend oneself from, has been able to start several conversations on the sort of gaslighting black people experience when relaying aggressions (micro as well as macro) to people who will never experience them.
Asked to speak at such prestigious locales as the Tate Modern’s bookstore for discourse on her award-winning book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (named for the 2014 blog post of the same title, which resulted in her book deal), Reni is exposing wide and varied audiences to the realities of structural racism in London, which reflects what Lodge called “Americancentric narratives” in a Sydney Morning Harold interview with contributor Kylie Northover.
Eddo-Lodge’s story is intricately tied to the power of consistency. She has said in many interviews that she did not have a heavily read blog when she wrote the now infamous essay, but after the heartbreak of looking to feminism for a community of people who held the same values and ideas, then quickly realizing that speaking her truth was related to divisiveness and bullying on her part (both in private spaces as well as in the context of the public sphere) she knew that this was not to be found amongst the UK’s white feminist and that something as inconsequential as acknowledgment that structural racism exists was not likely to come from people who refused to admit that they benefit from that structure, she had to get it out there.
In expanding the post to a book, she has offered actionable advice and information, especially to those in the bubble of “White feminism”, including paradigm shifting assignments like questioning whiteness in the same way you (a white feminist) would question the patriarchy. However, when it comes to being asked how to be a better ally, sometimes in tears, Eddo-Lodge shies away from handing down any proclamations, instead urging individuals to “learn from the person next to you”; encouraging communal engagement over what Eddo-Lodge has called hero worship.
Recognized by pop-culture born activists like Emma Watson, who selected Reni’s debut title as a book club selection, as well academic institutions like the British Royal Historical Society which, using Eddo-Lodge’s book as a springboard, composed a report on the inequities involved with how history is taught, Eddo-Lodge has a platform that could take her anywhere. We’re excited to find out where anywhere will be, and who else she’ll inspire on her way there.