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Let’s just all accept that these book reviews are going to be coming at you thick and fast because that is just the way that I am going to do this. I’m trying to keep on top of them which is slightly hard given that I stopped blogging but kept reading.
As I mentioned yesterday I kind of threw my intended reading list for the past couple of months out of the window and as such there are lot of books making an appearance where they weren’t supposed to be. But this does mean that I am getting ever closer to reaching my reading goal of 70 books this year. I’m creeping ever closer to half way. This marks book 19.
This book came onto my radar in a really roundabout way because it was the January book for Emma Watson’s book club. And then I instantly knew that I needed to read it, I honestly don’t know how it completely passed me by last year, but it did and I decided that I could not let it pass me by much longer
So I got it on an order and then waited rather impatiently for it to arrive. It then made the trip to Amsterdam with it and well, it was a nice and gentle read for my week away from London…
Within the first few pages it had already opened my eyes to so many things that I hadn’t even really thought about on a deeper level. For example black British history. I know Britain wasn’t innocent in the whole treatment of black people. There was a slave trade here. I’m not totally ignorant to that. Also I went to Liverpool for uni. I spent 3 years there. I knew that it was port for slaves. I liked going down to the docks because it was kind of calming being that close to the water. It never really fully clicked with me the impact that that very dock would have had on my very existence.
There was a lot of that feeling as I moved the first chapter alone. The further I moved through the book the more it seemed to be putting into words the things that I feel but just could never find the words to properly express it.
I felt that way the moment that she started talking about a study that was carried out against mixed raced children. If you’re new here, I am one of those. It’s a clusterfuck of conflicting feelings. And it also feels like you’re under some kind of microscope that you did not ask to be under. It means that there is part of you that feels somehow like you are straddling two worlds that you didn’t ask to straddle. I got this just from a talk about a study that was done about by a bunch of white people about the misgivings of being a mixed race child.
It taught me a lot about the history of black people that I honestly never even really thought about all that much. Like, why have I never thought about what the Commonwealth would have meant for the soldiers (and women) that fought in both world wars. Of course there would have been people from the Caribbean and India involved and of course they would have been displaced once the wars were over and everyone returned to home. It raises a really interesting question as to what the phrase ‘go back to where you come from?’ actually means. If Britain quite happily ruled so much of the world then what does that mean to the claims of being British? When you really think about the Commonwealth then it throws a whole new load of questions into the mix. I’ve honestly never thought about it and this book has made me want to search for this history to get a better understanding of it all.
This book also put it into really perspective just how much race and class are linked with one another. How gentrification is a largely a negative thing for the communities that end up getting funding because it slowly prices them out of their community. How yes white people can suffer from the impact of these things, but for the most part it affects people of colour.
I mentioned when I was talking about Laura Bates’ books that it didn’t ignore the fact that sexism is usually partnered with some other kind of ‘ism’ if you are also part of a minority group. This book tackles that idea as a POC. It gives you a more solid understanding of the intersectionality. It shows how there is still this warped idea about the two interact with each other and how there is still somehow the belief that the two cannot exist with one another.
There is so much about this book that really resonated with me and it really made me think about things in a new way in some ways. It also did a really good job of finally putting into words what I was thinking about the complicated thing that is being both a woman and being a person of colour, especially when you’re also mixed. Seriously, the sections that focused on mixed raced children really struck a nerve with me. Similarly to that episode of Black-ish where Rainbow struggles with it as a sense of identity.
I strongly recommend this book to everyone. It opens up a whole can of worms from discussion, but there is a thing about it that fascinates me. When Brexit happened a couple of shitty people said some kind of shitty things to me in the street finally feeling like they could openly talk about it for some reason and I happened to mention it at work and then someone else commented about how they didn’t think that kind of thing happened anymore. They’re white and my main reaction in my head was just to be like ‘of course you didn’t because you wouldn’t say it, but you are the exception not the rule’, which sounds a bit doom and gloom and is not what I responded with because I was not in the mood to get into that kind of a conversation on a Monday morning and this book goes a lot of the way to explaining that that feeling never went anywhere. It’s just a lot more subtle in the day to day then people who it doesn’t affect wants to believe. This book is eye opening in that respect. It has encouraged me to do a bit more research into black British history.
Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!
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