What is it like to endure both explicit racism and a more subtle pernicious form from the very people who believe themselves to be anti-racist? 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 from white people actually look like – and is it even possible?
In November 2020 author and podcaster Otegha Uwagba came to Intelligence Squared to discuss these questions and more. Her new book, Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods, which addresses these questions, has been described by The Good Immigrant editor Nikesh Shukla as ‘sharp, pointed, clear and brutal stuff’. Containing reflections on racism, whiteness, and the mental labour required of Black people to navigate relationships with white people, Whites is a record of Uwagba’s observations on this era-defining moment in history. In the wake of George Floyd’s brutal murder, the subsequent protests and scrutiny of institutional racism, it has been impossible to ignore how race is embedded in every aspect of our lives. ‘A reluctant expert’, as she describes herself, Uwagba explored the impacts of whiteness; not only discussing its effect on Black people’s lives, but also how it can shield white people from truly facing their own privilege and prevent them from being effective allies in the fight against racism.
Uwagba, author of the Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women, was joined by Mariel Richards, CEO of gal-dem, to unpick the complex interracial dynamics embedded in our social, political and economic lives.
This event was in partnership with gal-dem, an award-winning media platform that spotlights the creative work of women of colour and non-binary people of colour.
Speakers subject to change.