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.
‘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
‘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
Speakers subject to change.