[I received a preview of this book through Netgalley. For this reason, I’m not going to rate this book, considering only the preface and first chapter were contained in the preview, and my review is going to be just about that as well. I’ll have to pick up the complete book at some point later.]
This said, I must admit I wouldn’t have requested it if I had noticed sooner it was a preview: I much prefer reading & reviewing full books. Oh, well.
I get the voluntarily provoking title, which is loaded in itself, but I guess that’s a good way of testing oneself and see if we want to read further. Examples given in the first chapter didn’t surprise me either, much unfortunately.
Obviously, being ‘white’, I can’t relate directly, however, for some of the examples, well, just replace ‘white’ and ‘black’ by ‘men’ and ‘women’, and you get pretty much a similar effect. (Yes, I know, ‘not all men…’, just like ‘not all whites…’, but as usual with that kind argument: it’s not the point.) I’m thinking here of the preface more specifically: “You can see their eyes shut down and harden. It’s like treacle is poured into their ears, blocking up their ear canals. It’s like they can no longer hear us.” Or “They’ve never had to think about what it means, in power terms, to be white, so any time they’re vaguely reminded of this fact, they interpret it as an affront. Their eyes glaze over in boredom or widen in indignation. Their mouths start twitching as they get defensive. Their throats open up as they try to interrupt, itching to talk over you but not really listen, because they need to let you know that you’ve got it wrong.” In other words, I can’t fully relate, but pushing myself to imagine what it must be like isn’t a big stretch; I got into similar conversations with patronising people who thought they were right because they had a penis instead of a vagina (hint: they weren't).
Now, where I believe I can’t judge without having read it all, is because, for the moment, I can’t exactly tell in which direction the book is going. Is the title misleading, and the author does actually want dialogue? Or is it exactly what it says on the tin, and veering into ‘reverse racism’? (Note that as far as I’m concerned, racism is universal and goes every way and from any colour to anywards any colour, and it sucks, and I wish the human species as a whole would finally grow up, but then I suppose I’d also like to get a sports car and a penthouse in the City for my birthday, and it just won’t happen.)
So, yep… To be read fully later.