Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Why Unlearning Is As Important As Learning

But what does that mean?

By hannah rochell
15 july 2020

This month, our Goal 10 book club focuses on publications you can read to unlearn, as well as to learn. But what does that mean? 

The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted more clearly than ever the need for white people to acknowledge that our society has ingrained unconscious biases and prejudices that we might not even be aware of. These have myriad negative impacts on the Black community and beyond. The whitewashing of history, from the celebration of British colonialism to the founding of the United States of America, means that many of us have a skewed perspective of how the world we live in today was shaped. Did you know, for example, that until as recently as 2015 the British Government was using tax payers’ money to give billions of pounds to the families of slave owners in compensation for the abolition of slavery, but not a penny to the actual enslaved people? 

It’s not our fault we weren’t taught these things at school, but it’s our responsibility as adults to get up to speed now. So while we experience the biggest civil rights movement since the 1960s, get yourself educated on everything you’ve missed with these 7 great reads. It might just change the way you look at the world...

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race

by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Born out of a frustrated blog post that went viral in 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge’s best-selling book tackles everything from whitewashed feminism to forgotten British Black history. A must-read for anyone keen to unlearn white bias and understand white supremacy, particularly in the UK. Eddo-Lodge also has an accompanying podcast called About Race, featuring special guests including the politician Diane Abbott and actor Riz Ahmed.

Me And White Supremacy

by Layla F. Saad

This is more than just a book - think of it as a companion in your journey to understand how entrenched white supremacy is in modern society. Beginning life as an Instagram challenge, Saad’s book contains practical exercises to do yourself, teaching how to dismantle privilege and unconscious racial prejudice that many white people don’t even realise they hold.

When They Call You A Terrorist

by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

This memoir is a powerful insight into what it’s like to be a Black woman in modern America. Patrisse Khan-Cullors was raised by her single mother in a disadvantaged area of Los Angeles, and her experiences of racism and prejudice spurred her on to co-found the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sister Outsider

by Audre Lorde

First published in 1984, this collection of essays and speeches was written from the perspective of Audre Lorde’s own identity: as well as being a Black woman, she was a lesbian, poet, activist, cancer survivor, mother, and feminist writer. Her work gave - and now still gives - a voice to women outside the realms of what society deems as acceptable.

So You Want To Talk About Race

by Ijeoma Oluo

This book recently rocketed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, two years after publication. ‘I hope this book is a part of your journey towards dismantling white supremacy’, said author Ijeoma Oluo on Instagram. This accessible take on issues such as police brutality, intersectionality and microaggressions answers the questions many are too afraid to ask, and is undoubtedly the invaluable tool Oluo hoped it would be.

I Am Not Your Baby Mother

by Candice Brathwaite

After experiencing racial bias herself during the birth of her daughter, Candice Brathwaite became a passionate campaigner - Black women in the UK are 5 times more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy than their white peers. Realising that Black mothers and society as a whole are also woefully underrepresented by the British media, she started the blog Make Motherhood Diverse as an inclusive space. This recently published and thought-provoking book followed, and serves as a guide to life as a Black mother.  

White Fragility

by Robin DiAngelo

Why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism? Robin DiAngelo, who is a Professor of Whiteness Studies and has held workshops on the subject for decades, discusses the anger, fear, guilt and denial that white people feel when called out on something they have done that has - often completely unintentionally - caused racial offence, and how to make practical changes to that behaviour.

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