Exclusive media partner: The New York Times


Receive regular updates about forthcoming events and other news from Intelligence Squared


You have been added to our mailing list and will now be among the first to hear about events.


Emma Dabiri and Alex Renton on Race, Reckoning and What Everyone Can Do Next

What everyone can do to build coalitions, move beyond the fault lines that divide us and create tangible change

Emma Dabiri, Irish-Nigerian academic and broadcaster, and Alex Renton, British-Canadian investigative journalist, have established themselves as important voices in the current debates taking place around race, class and identity. And on June 15 they come to Intelligence Squared to discuss how we can move forward on these seemingly intractable issues. 

The title of Dabiri’s bestselling new book, What White People Can Do Next, she will explain, is a provocation. Neither ‘blackness’ nor ‘whiteness’ (nor any other racial identifier) are a monolith, she will argue, nor are they a biological truth. Instead they are constructs that need breaking down in order to progress. Challenging many of the tropes of the ‘anti-racist’ movement, Dabiri will argue that moving towards racial justice does not mean chastising people for their ‘white privilege’ but acknowledging history and finding common ground. And rebuffing the concept of ‘allyship’, she will claim that it infantilises black people while centering white martyrdom. 

Renton, who exposed the abuse and neglect within the elite British education system in his 2018 book Stiff Upper Lip, has now turned his attention to his own family and in Blood Legacy he looks back over seven generations to explore their involvement in slave ownership in Britain, which he calls ‘a crime against humanity’.  A question that preoccupies him is how the descendants of the slave owners, himself among them, who still benefit politically and economically from their inheritance, can begin to make reparations to the descendants of the enslaved. 

Join us for this unmissable conversation and learn what everyone can do to build coalitions, move beyond the fault lines that divide us and create tangible change.


Praise for Emma Dabiri’s What White People Can Do Next:

I really loved What White People Can Do Next…There is so much I hadn’t thought about before – ‘whiteness’ as a confection, the empty performance of online rhetoric, the impossibility of transferring privilege – and so much that I had somewhere in the back of my mind but that I’d struggled to articulate.’ – Nick Hornby

Praise for Alex Renton’s Blood Legacy:

Renton is clear, if we cannot change our past we can certainly do something about the consequences that still flow from it – the racism, the inequality and injustice that still blights the lives of the descendants of those who were once enslaved. Blood Legacy is a full frontal challenge to those who enjoy a comfortable, liberal life – it’s time to stand up and be counted.’ – George Alagiah



Emma Dabiri

Academic, activist, broadcaster and author of What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition

Irish-Nigerian academic, activist, broadcaster and teaching fellow in the Africa department at SOAS and a Visual Sociology PhD researcher at Goldsmiths. Her 2019 debut Don’t Touch My Hair was an Irish Times bestseller and inspired a national conversation about race and hair, which has led to changing regulations in schools and in the British army. A regular broadcaster on the BBC, Emma presented 'Back in Time Brixton' (BBC2), 'Britain's Lost Masterpieces' (BBC4), as well as ‘Hair Power: Me and My Afro’ (Channel 4). Most recently, she hosted Radio 4's critically acclaimed documentary 'Journeys into Afro-futurism’ and was a panellist on BBC 1’s ‘Have I Got News For You’. Her new book What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition is a Sunday Times and Irish Times bestseller.

Alex Renton

Campaigning journalist and author of Blood Legacy: Reckoning With a Family’s Story of Slavery

Campaigning journalist specialising in poverty, development, the environment, food culture and food policy around the world. He has won awards for investigative journalism, war reporting and food writing. He has also worked for Oxfam, in East Asia, Haiti and reported on the Iraq war. He has been a columnist for the Times and a correspondent for Newsweek magazine. He is the author of Stiff Upper Lip, which uncovered sexual abuse within the British private school system, and Blood Legacy: Reckoning With a Family’s Story of Slavery.

Farah Jassat

Award-winning producer, journalist and Head of Podcasts and Innovation at Intelligence Squared

Award-winning producer, journalist and Head of Podcasts and Innovation at Intelligence Squared. She previously worked as a journalist and producer on the BBC’s leading current affairs show Newsnight and across multiple television and radio programmes including Radio 4's Woman’s Hour, Radio 3's Free Thinking and CBBC's Newsround. She is a Chairing Judge on the British Podcast Awards and an Associate of the Imperial War Museum. She has written for the Guardian, News Statesman and Huffington Post.


Speakers subject to change.