Put Otegha Uwagba’s new essay Whites on your Christmas list

The latest must-read book comes from the writer and speaker who’s putting race and white allyship under the microscope.

Culture

There are few buzzier books right now than Whites – you’ll have seen it on your socials and newsstands – and it lands at a time when there’s never been a bigger push to promote anti-racist reading. You’ll probably already know Otegha Uwagba from her published guide to working called Little Black Book, or from her business community and newsletter Woman Who. Amongst all that she’s a go-to figure for speaking up on rights and race, which makes Whites one of those eagerly anticipated essays, and is destined to become a bestselling read.

Why now for Whites?

The book is subtitled: On Race and Other Falsehoods, and it’s Otegha’s reflection on racism, whiteness and the mental labour required of Black people to navigate the two.

She said on Instagram: ‘I had to wrestle with certain reservations I had about adding to the growing pile of literature responding to George Floyd’s murder, but there were also so many things I just really wanted to get off my chest that made me feel compelled to write this essay and publish it as soon as I possibly could.’

White - Otegha Uwagba

‘Provoking discomfort’

Otegha’s generating huge publicity for Whites – from interviews in The Guardian, Stylist and Intelligent Squared – and even greater word of mouth buzz, as more people promise to look at their own prejudices following the surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement across the world.

She continues: ‘My only hopes for this essay are that it is read as widely as possible, by people of all races, and that it provides a little comfort for Black readers/provokes real discomfort and sex-examination in white ones.”

Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods by Otegha Uwgaba is out now, published by Fourth Estate

Essays: 3 to read next

Whites is not the only book that’s providing insight through thought-provoking essays. Here are three of our current unputdownable reads.

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
  1. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

If you weren’t already a fan of Jia’s writing, you’ll be a die-hard stalker after reading her bestseller on pop culture. She brilliantly dissects some of today’s most pressing societal issues, particularly around the internet and modern-day anxieties.

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
  1. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

You’ll find yourself nodding along to Mikki Kendall’s debut essay collection. She’s so thoughtful on how mainstream feminism has excluded marginalised communities including Black women. And for every case she puts forward on what’s wrong, there’s advice on how we can do better.

Feminism Interrupted by Lola Olufemi
  1. Feminism Interrupted by Lola Olufemi

How has a movement for activism for equal rights become a flimsy weapon for brands and a throwaway slogan? The Black feminist writer and campaigner explores state violence against women, the fight for reproductive justice, transmisogyny and gendered Islamophobia, as well as solidarity between feminist struggles around the world.

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