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‘Some of my fellow MPs have made a career out of perpetuating racist tropes’ – Dawn Butler’s review of 'This is Why I Resist’

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu | Alamy

3 min read

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu’s brutally honest examination of white privilege might help some politicians see the error of their ways

Let me say upfront that I am tired of racism, tired of talking about it, tired of reading about it, and tired of surviving it. It isn’t easy, but it is my life, I suffer from it every time I open my Twitter account.

This is Why I Resist is Mos-Shogbamimu taking a deep dive into white privilege and white supremacy – language which we still either shy away from or often cringe at the very sound of it. I used to be so hesitant using it. 

This isn’t a book you are going to go to bed cuddling and waiting in anticipation for what comes next. You need to probably have a pen and paper handy to make a few notes.

There is a direct plea to politicians in the book to not to use their position and influence to deepen racial inequality

Mos-Shogbamimu talks about racism and breaks down the actual meaning of the word, and whether we should use it as often as we do. This part of the book made me think “oh OK, very valid point”, and that maybe we need to be more specific when using the term racism.

Some MPs have made their fame and fortune from being racist, or using racist tropes, and this is why I decided to review this book for The House magazine to see if – by reading this book – some might see or even appreciate the error of their ways. “The racial gatekeepers are progress blockers,” Mos-Shogbamimu breaks this down the meaning of this statement in brutal honesty. Parliamentarians may recognise themselves in her descriptions of said behaviour.

Just in case some may miss it, Mos-Shogbamimu goes on to name a few of them. She goes on to painfully describe the work politicians do on behalf of keeping white supremacy alive. I think this book is upfront and also gentle enough to get the message through.

There is a direct plea to politicians in the book to not to use their position and influence to deepen racial inequality. I agree so much with this statement because every time it happens my heart sinks a little further and I realise we have just taken steps backwords.

On reverse racism, you will have to read this book with an open mind. You will agree and disagree with some of Mos-Shogbamimu’s working and thinking – for instance, are antisemitism and racism the same? Or are they different expressions of hate?

Racism is a power construct that we know is fundamentally true. This is a book about language and meanings, it adds clarity to the many current discussions.

There are parts of this book that made me laugh out loud, although I am not sure that many will laugh when they read this book. Whether you laugh or cry you’ll gain an understanding of why we still resist.

Dawn Butler is Labour MP for Brent Central

'This is Why I Resist: Don’t Define My Black Identity' by Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is published by Headline

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