This week, Beki and Maria catch up on a book that Maria is currently reading called ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge. In this episode, we discuss racism in the UK, using some of Reni’s arguments for what she calls ‘the fear of a Black planet and Black Britain’. Reni discusses the discourse of a nation where some people are spending their time yearning for a nostalgic Britain… That never was. From Brexit to curry houses, from colonialism to Harry Potter, racism is alive and well in the UK, and we’re here to talk about it. Unfortunately.
01:50: Enoch Powell was a British politician and served as a Conservative Member of Parliament between 1950 – 1974, as well as acted as Minister of Health in the UK between 1960 – 1963. In this segment, we discuss how Reni writes about how Powell referred to the state of the UK losing their ‘whiteness’, foreseeing that the black man would have a ‘whip hand’ over whites in 15-20 years time.
02:23: Why use whip hand as a term? This racially charged language personifies the relationship that Britain historically has had with racism.
02:50: What is a fear of ‘Black Britain’? Find out why Powell and other leaders served the rhetoric of a ‘Black Britain’ through racist ideology.
03:35: Is it extraordinarily racist to deny the English? Are we denying them by accepting other people and races?
05:00: Beki: “It’s like this really messed up view of either I have to be on top, or I’m going to be on the bottom. It’s like, everyone just wants to be on the same playing field, and have it level.”
06:06: What does yearning for a nostalgic Britain that never was really mean? And how can you yearn for something that never was?
09:26: “Fear of a Black planet is a fear of loss.” Why would anyone have this fear? What drives it, and what does this concept of a ‘Black planet’ really mean in context?
11:55: Curry is the national dish of the UK, but it is unfortunately still common for some Brits to have racist attitudes towards the immigrants who came to the United Kingdom and built their homes and livelihoods. When a proper curry can’t beat racism, what can?
12:38: “There is an old saying about a straight man’s homophobia, being rooted in a fear that gay men will treat him as he treats women.” – So you sexualise women, you don’t respect them, and that is traditionally what some straight men have done, so what Reni is saying is that a heterosexual man’s fear is that a homosexual man will do the same to him, cross the boundaries of sexuality that historically men have done to women.
15:18: Beki: “Even men and women, and you brought up in previous conversations about #metoo and other toxic masculinity topics. If the only way that you can relate to women as a man, or even vice-versa, is to dominate or be dominated, where do you go from there?”
16:19: There is always us vs. them. There is always another.
16:50: Here we discuss the open call for auditions for the first Harry Potter movie where the author, Reni didn’t audition for the role of Hermione. Why? Because she is Black, and she assumed that all the Harry Potter characters were white. But Rowling never wrote that any of the characters were white, so why did people assume they were?
19:14: The sh*t storm that hit when a Black girl was cast as Hermione in the Broadway version of Harry Potter.
20:40: Hermione had curly hair and brown eyes, but that is the only descriptor of her that J.K. Rowling put in her books, but what did you imagine when you read the book or books?
22:11: Maria: “Books play to your imagination, but subconsciously or unconsciously, and I do by default make my characters white. I have never really thought about it, and I don’t know if that’s my world, my family, I imagine people who look like my parents… Food for thought.’”
23:06: Beki: “That’s also one of the many reasons to start expanding reading things that aren’t in your typical – you read things from Asian authors, and Latin X and black communities and playwrights. Because then your experience will be enriched and expanded by those experiences.”