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Summary

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 relationships with white people.

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.

©2020 Otegha Uwagba (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"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)

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  • 15-11-20

A totally compelling read

On point, despite being uncomfortable in part due to it’s honesty. Otegha sums up the daily grind of inhabiting black skin quite concisely.